How To Limit Kids’ Sugar During Halloween

Lifestyle, Thoughts

It’s getting spooky out there, folks. Ghosts and skeletons are hanging from neighbors’ trees, the seasonal decor aisle at Target is empty, and children are already donning costumes around town. The big trick-or-treat night is upon us, and if you’re like most parents, you’re likely dreading all the SUGAR that comes with Halloween night.

BoredPanda, one of the internet’s most light and fun-loving news sites covering viral content, recently reached out to me asking for tips to help parents keep their children’s snacks healthy this Halloween. As a mom of two young kids, I was delighted to share my experience on how we’ve navigated this sugary time of year.

Below is the article from BoredPanda, and you can read the full article here.

My kids favorite Spider Crackers

Tips To Limit Kids Sugar Intake During Halloween:

  1. Prepare healthy snacks with your kids – I’ve noticed my children are always more likely to eat healthy food if they help me prepare it. Kids love being little helpers in the kitchen! This way, they’re exposed to all the sensory experiences of their food prior to seeing it on their plate for the first time. They also feel really proud of what they’ve created, which encourages them to taste it. My kids especially love stirring and mashing! Guacamole is one of our favorite healthy snacks to make, because they have lots of fun mashing the avocado! We also love making healthier breads, pancakes and muffins by adding shredded zucchini to the batter.

2. Create festive healthy food – Kids are so visual! No wonder they love candy’s colorful packaging! If your healthy food looks fun, your children may think it will be fun to taste, too! Try getting creative in the kitchen with festive-looking healthy snacks, like spider crackers or fruity ghosts and pumpkins. For more ideas, I shared 6 healthy Halloween treat ideas on KTLA-TV here.

3. Sneak in veggies – In an effort to cancel out the potential increase of sugary treats during this time of year, I’m always trying to find ways to sneak in extra veggies into my kids food. Spinach and zucchini are two great vegetables that hardly have any taste when blended or cooked into food. I always add spinach to my kids’ smoothies, and I’ve recently started shredding zucchini into all breads, muffins and pancakes. Check out how I add zucchini into an easy Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix on Instagram here.

4. Make it fun and pressure-free – Hype up those fruits and veggies! Talk with your children about how healthy food is “growing food.” All young kids are so excited about growing! Eat healthy food with them! Your their best role model. And, let your kids play with their food! That’s right, I said it… Allow them to PLAY with their food! Let them make their bell pepper stick into a train or build a house out of watermelon cubes. The more they touch their food, the more likely they’ll eat it. The more your pressure them, the less likely they’ll eat it. Their little brains want to know that they’re in control of their bodies, so the more you force certain foods, the more power they’ll desire to reject it.

5. Don’t worry, it’s temporary! – Halloween is one time of year. Just because your child ate four Snickers and an unlimited amount of Skittles on one night does not mean that this is their new normal. If anything, it’s valuable for your child to participate in Halloween and learn how a sugar overdose affects their body. When the night is over, ask your child to describe how their body feels. They may complain of tummy aches, headaches, or being tired the next day. It’s a good opportunity to speak with them about how different foods affect our bodies. Instead of withholding candy from your child (which will likely make them resentful toward you), utilize the holiday as a teachable moment.

Green Goblin Smoothie Bowls blended with spinach and berries and topped with dried fruit and nuts for faces!

Do you have any tips to get kids to eat healthier? Share below in the comments!

For more easy recipes and fun ideas for the family, be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Help Your Child Learn to Swim!

Lifestyle

Summer is officially in full swing, which means it’s time for pool parties, beach visits, and water play! If you have a little one in your house, you’re probably concerned about whether your child is water safe… Good for you, mama and dada! It’s so important to get our children comfortable around water at a young age! After all, the CDC reports that drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4, and no parent wants to experience the nightmare of an accidental drowning.

At the beginning of this summer, I made a concerted effort to get my kids swimming on their own. We recently remodeled our backyard with a new pool, and it was very important to my husband and me that our children would be safe in and around the water. I’m so proud to say that at 3.5 years old and 19 months old, both kiddos are swimming! Currently, the oldest one can swim to the bottom of the shallow end and pick up diving toys. He also can take a breath on his own while swimming across the pool and he’s working on developing his freestyle stroke. The youngest one can swim about 14 feet across the pool. She hasn’t mastered taking a breath while swimming yet, but I think she might before summer ends! Both children know how to find the edge of the pool when in trouble, which is a relief to mama. But, my favorite part about their swimming is that they LOVE it! They love feeling their weightless body in the water and exploring new ways to play in the pool. It’s so rewarding for me as a mama to see my kids safely love and play in the water!

Playing in the pool with my youngest child

I’ve been so happy with my kids’ progress this summer that I’ve been sharing videos of them swimming on my Instagram and TikTok. Every time I post a video, I get so many DM’s from parents asking for tips on how to get their children to swim, too. As a former swim instructor, I wish I could take all the credit, but my kids aren’t always fond of following my swim guidance – haha! But, because there’s been so much interest from other parents, I wanted to share a post about what’s worked for our family to get our kids swimming! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to check out some of my favorite kid-friendly pool products, too!

Watch our 19-month-old swim!

6 Tips to Help Your Child Learn to Swim

  1. Exposure, Exposure, Exposure!

This is listed as the first tip because it’s the most important! The more your child is in the water, the more comfortable they will get with how their body feels in the water and more likely they are to easily learn to swim. Please don’t consider swim lessons the same as practice for another sport or activity. Unlike going to their once-a-week dance class or twice-a-week basketball practice, little kids need to be in the water almost daily to learn to swim. When I was a lifeguard and swim instructor (almost 15 years ago – yikes!), I’d teach morning swim lessons on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. There were some kids whose parents only brought them to the swim lessons and I never saw them at the pool any other time. Then, there were the parents who let their kids stay after swim lessons to play. Even better, there were a couple parents who brought their child every day to the pool to play. Guess who learned to swim that summer? The kids who came to the pool every day were little fish by time the summer was over! The ones who only showed up to the lessons knew the basics but ultimately weren’t very comfortable in the water. I know this can be a challenge for families who don’t have regular access to a pool. If you take lessons at a public pool, ask the instructor if it’s okay for your child to play on the steps for 10 minutes when the lessons are over. Even a baby pool or smaller inflatable pool at home is a great way to get your child exposed to water play. Let them play longer in the bathtub, too! Scroll to the bottom of this post to see some of my favorite baby pool products!

Playing in a baby pool to help with exposure to water

2. Take Swim Lessons

As a former swim instructor, I honestly never thought I’d need to sign my children up for swim lessons. I thought that water exposure and my own instruction would be good enough. Well, just like almost every parent-child relationship that’s come before us, my firstborn child was not interested in my instruction. As he was getting older and still not swimming on his own, I decided it was time to bring in assistance. We did an 8-day intensive private swim lesson that was 30 minutes a day for our oldest and 15 minutes a day for our youngest. The oldest was in a class with two other kids his age. My youngest did her class alone. I was thrilled with the results of our lessons! After 8 days, both kids were swimming to the wall on their own! Lessons with an instructor other than myself forced my children to learn the skills they needed to get comfortable in the water. The lessons helped my kids develop a respect and love for the water, because they were doing it on their own. They felt proud that they could swim without mommy! It also was fun my for my oldest to swim with other kids his age. While the 8-day private swim lessons are a phenomenal way to get your kid swimming, I believe that any swim instruction is beneficial. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see recommended swim lessons in Pasadena, Calif. and surrounding areas!

Our son Landon, age 3, at semi-private swim practice

3. Allow for Free Play

It’s just as important to give your child the opportunity for free play in the water as it is to give them swim lessons! This way, your child associates the pool with fun rather than only strict instruction. If getting in the pool is fun, they’re more likely to swim! This is especially great for the kids that are scared of water or nervous about lessons with a new teacher. To incorporate more free play, I recommend getting to your swim lessons 15 minutes early and sitting on the steps with your kids with a water safe toy of their choice — maybe a plastic car, boat, or doll from home, for example. You can also bring water toys or diving toys, but if they’ve never played with a diving stick before, it may add to the uncomfortable nature of the pool. Bringing something they’re familiar with makes it safe. Allow your child to go at their pace to get in the pool and get used to the water. After swim lessons, ask the instructor if you can stick around for a few minutes to play more. If the facility has a baby pool, that’s a fun place to let your child free play, too. As I mentioned before, the more exposure they have to water – no matter where it is – the better. Encourage other children from swim lessons to join in. If you have easy access to a pool, schedule pool play dates so your kids learn how much fun it is to swim with friends! Even playing with kids in mini plastic or blow-up pools at home is helpful. I included a few options for baby pools at the bottom of this page, along with some toys that are great for free play.

Our daughter enjoying unstructured free play in the water

4. Play With Them

Let your kids see how much fun swimming can be by playing with them in the water! Not only do little kids love the opportunity to play with their parents, but they’re also the best mimickers at this young age. I promise that if your child sees you enjoying the water, they’ll have more interest in playing in the water, too! Imagine being forced to do swim lessons in a big scary pool with a stranger while your parents sit off to the side and watch. That’s not always a fun situation for a little one, especially if their personality is more on the sensitive side. But, if you got in the water to play with your kids in between lessons, I’m certain they’d start feeling more comfortable with a little bit of time. When I get in the water with my kids, I try to show them what fun things they can learn by blowing bubbles, floating on my back, swimming to the bottom of the pool, doing handstands and front flips, etc. They love watching mommy be playful! Be sure to make it pressure-free playtime. Ask if they want to try to blow bubbles with you, and if they say no, respect it. Eventually, they come around and want to play, too!

My husband playing in the pool with our toddlers

5. Bring Positive, Patient Energy

Your children match your attitude towards the water. If you act fearful of the pool, so will they. If you love the water, your children will, too. Be really conscious of your reactions when they’re around the water. Don’t panic or overreact when they get splashed or accidentally go under water. That will immediately teach them that the pool is not a safe place. If they accidentally go under water, calmly pick them up, look at them in the eyes, and say something caring but relaxed like, “Whoa! You went under! Was that fun?” It also helps to give them a positive pep talk before swimming so they enter the situation confidently. For example, when we’re driving to swim lessons, I like to positively narrate to my children what they can expect from the day. I’ll usually say something like this: “We’re on our way to swim lessons. It’s going to be fun so fun! Coach Tim (or enter the name of your swim instructor here) is so nice and wants to help you be a great swimmer. There will be other kids there to play with, too! It’s a big pool, but you’ll only swim in a small area. Mommy is so excited to watch you swim with everyone. We’ll all be watching you and close by, so you’ll be very safe. You should be so proud of yourself for trying something new today!” Setting up positive expectations for your child helps reduce the fear around learning to swim! Lastly, please be patient with your little one. I know it can get frustrating to see your child sitting on the edge of the pool while the other kids happily play in the water, but allowing your child to go at their own pace will help them develop trust with the water and you. As long as you keep exposing your child to the fun of the pool, I promise they’ll eventually learn to swim!

Don’t be concerned if your child is like mine — desperately holding on to the side instead of playing with the other kids. This is the same child that is swimming freestyle in the video I shared earlier in my post! This picture and that video were taken one week apart! All kids come around with time!

6. Don’t Introduce Floaties

Okay, this is a tough one. I know those baby and toddler floaties can be so tempting to put on your children to ensure they’re safe in the water. But, if you really want your kid to start swimming at a young age, don’t even bother. The floaties are a signal to children that they’re not safe in the water without them. Floaties quickly become a crutch and a very tough item to transition away from. Because I used to be a lifeguard and swim instructor, I swore to myself that I wouldn’t introduce floaties to my kids. While I was working at the pool everyday, I saw firsthand how the kids who became attached to their floaties took longer to swim on their own. Flash forward to a decade later when we were at a pool party with our 2 year old and 7 month old, and to be honest, my husband and I were TIRED of holding and entertaining our children in the water. As exhausted new parents, we craved a moment to chill by the pool and talk to adults while our kids played safely in the water. We saw this swim vest on another child and liked it because it didn’t have big tubes around the arms like other traditional swim floaties. I thought it could be a good floaty that would still encourage our children to learn to use their arms in the water. We got one for our oldest child, and while it did give mom and dad a few breaks by the pool, he got addicted to the swim vest. He knew he was safe in it because mom and dad acted more relaxed when he was wearing it. Before we knew it, he wouldn’t take off the swim vest even if we offered to hold him in the water. He finally broke the swim vest habit once we put him in the 8-day intensive private swim lessons, but looking back, I really wish I would have kept him out of it from the beginning. With that said, if you are a parent that just never wants to get in the water or can’t keep a close eye on your child, buy the floaties. It’s better to be safe above everything else. But, if you want your child to be a confident swimmer at a young age, don’t do floaties. Our youngest, who is 20 months old, has never worn floaties and she can swim about 14 feet across the pool by herself. She can swim out, turn around, and swim back to the edge. It’s amazing to me!

Those are my six tips to help encourage your child to learn to swim! I’d love to hear your tips on how you taught your child learned to swim, too! Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on my Instagram and TikTok!

My happy swimmers!

Best Products for Early Swimmers:

Mini Pools for Home:

If you don’t have a pool in your backyard and rarely have access to a big pool, it’s great to keep up exposure in a mini pool at home! Even if you do have a big pool in your backyard, our kids still love playing with their toys in a baby pool!

Mellow Yellow Kiddie Pool – A more aesthetically pleasing pool that adults may like to wade in, too.

Tropical Palm Splash Pool – Another more “adult” looking pool that you wouldn’t mind having in your backyard for a party.

Venezia Luxe Inflatable Pool – A luxury mini pool for your bougie baby.

Play Day Round Kiddie Pool – A cheapy but a goodie

Inflatable Ocean Scene Sun Shade Kids Swimming Pool – The canopy makes this a perfect first pool for your tiniest swimmers.

Swim Toys and Tools:

Chuchik Diving Toys: All the diving toys you need in a convenient mesh carrying bag.

Junior Kick Board – Our son fell in love with kick boards after a swim lesson and its been fun for him to practice his kicks.

Splash Swim Goggles – These goggles won’t get tangled in your child’s hair!

Kids Speedo Goggles – Trusted brand Speedo makes great kids goggles.

Swim Lessons Recommendations in Pasadena, Calif. and Surrounding Areas:

  • Rose Bowl Aquatics Center: The Rose Bowl Aquatic Center has long been recognized for its great swim lessons with experienced instructors. They have options for group, private, and semi-private lessons. If your child is under 3 years old, one parent has to be with the child in the water during lessons. The Rose Bowl Aquatic Center’s pool is outdoors, so I know it’s been a popular option for families in the summer or for people who don’t love indoor pools. I personally love that the Aquatics Center is right next to Brookside Park and Kidspace Children’s Museum. You can make a fun family day out of swim lessons by visiting Kidspace or hitting up the playground before or after the Aquatic Center. Learn more at https://www.rosebowlaquatics.org/.
  • Waterworks Aquatics Pasadena: Waterworks is dedicated to teaching children and adults the lifelong skills they need to feel comfortable and confident in the water. The pool is indoors and heated year-round, so its always comfortable for lessons. Waterworks has private lessons, semi-private lessons, and parent-and-me lessons. For kids 5 and older, Waterworks offers stroke clinics for kids to develop their technique. Learn more at https://www.waterworksswim.com/locations/pasadena
  • YMCA of the Foothills: You don’t have to be a member of the YMCA to take advantage of their phenomenal swim programs. The YMCA of the Foothills has three campuses, and two of them have indoor pools available for swim lessons: CCY (Crescenta-Canada) and VHY (Verdugo Hills). The YMCA offers parent-child lessons, group preschool lessons, youth lessons (ages 6-12), adult lessons, and private lessons. The group preschool lessons are especially attractive for parents who aren’t interested in getting in the water with their child. Learn more at https://www.ymcafoothills.org/aquatics.

What products have you loved for your little swimmer? Do you have any great recommendations on where to take swim lessons in the Pasadena or LA area? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on my Instagram and TikTok!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Kid-Friendly West Hollywood: The Best Dining, Hotels and Activities for Families in WeHo!

Lifestyle, Travel

I had so much fun speaking with Tracy Paaso and Felicia Terwilliger, hosts of the “We Know WeHo” podcast, about all things family related in West Hollywood! One of my biggest hopes in using this platform is to be a helpful resource to parents with young children. As a mommy with two little ones, I know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to make the transition from being young, fun and childless to a responsible new parent. I was one of the first of my friends to have kids and had no idea what to expect from parenthood, in addition to having no clue where to take my children in L.A.! Now, after a few years of experience, I’m here to help you find the best for families in Los Angeles – and, in this case, West Hollywood! Read on to learn more about my history with West Hollywood, and I’ll also recap all the kid-friendly restaurants, shops, hotels and activities that I mentioned in my interview on the “We Know WeHo” podcast! Read more about this podcast episode on Wehoville.com!

My West Hollywood Story

I absolutely love West Hollywood. During my 13+ years in Los Angeles (over 10 years living here and 3 years visiting), I have spent lots of time in West Hollywood. When I was single, it was a hotspot for nightlife, dining, and parties. My girlfriends and I used to love going to Skybar at Mondrian Hotel, The Belmont, Rock & Reilly’s, Pink Taco and the now closed Hyde Lounge, Pearl’s Rooftop, Bagatelle, and The Hudson. Once I started dating my now husband, we loved date nights at Laurel Hardware, Eveleigh, Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Ysabel, and STK Steakhouse (which has now relocated to STK Westwood). Even after kids, date nights and group dinners with friends are always memorable in WeHo, especially at Catch, Cecconi’s, Gracias Madre, Toca Madera, and E.P. & L.P.

Before Kids! My 30th Birthday in West Hollywood at Toca Madera

West Hollywood is a fun destination for live entertainment. The music scene is legendary on the iconic Sunset Strip, and my husband I have spent lots of time there before and after kids watching live music and even playing live music — my husband used to play bass guitar in a local band! I’ve watched my husband play at The Viper Room and The Roxy, and we’ve seen some phenomenal shows at The Troubadour and Whisky A Go-Go. Our favorite date nights involve a comedy show, and there’s always top talent at Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store!

West Hollywood is a fabulous destination for working professionals, too, with its multiple co-working spaces and walking accessibility to so many great restaurants and shops! In 2017, I started my own PR business and bought-in at a co-working space called The Wing, which is the perfect place for working moms. The Wing is dedicated to inclusivity and lifting up women in the workforce, and the West Hollywood location was a great place for me to network with other working mommies and attend inspirational events hosted by top women in their respective industries. I once attended a screening and Q&A with Maggie Gyllenhaal that discussed her show “The Deuce” and focused on women in film and media’s portrayal of women. It was really cool! The Wing also has beautiful pump rooms for breastfeeding moms, and I’ve often seen strollers and children wandering around the space while moms work. I gave up my membership during the pandemic to create my own work-from-home space, but prior to the pandemic, The Wing offered “The Little Wing” which was a playroom and babysitting service. I’m not sure if they still have that now, but it was such an outstanding perk for moms – and kids!

Kid-Friendly West Hollywood

When most people think of West Hollywood, they imagine the very adult version of the city with its sexy dining, nightlife and music scenes, but I’m here to tell you that West Hollywood can be a very fun destination for kids, too! Below are the best restaurants, hotels, parks and activities that I mentioned in my “We Know WeHo” podcast interview with Tracy Paaso and Felicia Terwilliger. For all the juicy details on each business, you’ll have to take a listen to the podcast! Since Felicia is currently pregnant, we also discussed some of the best places for moms for prenatal and postpartum self-care! Check out the best WeHo businesses for families listed below, and take a listen to the podcast here! The podcast is also on Apple, Spotify and Google podcasts. My interview starts around the 35-minute mark.  

Enjoying the patio at Hugo’s while we wait for our food

Restaurants:

  • Hugo’s – Expansive menu for adults and great menu for kids! They provide crayons for coloring while you wait for your food! My kids like the macaroni and cheese and sitting on the patio!
  • Mel’s Drive-In – Fun classic diner! Kids food comes in car boxes!
  • Bottega Louie – Kids love the pastries!
  • Justin Quesos – Not necessarily designed for kids, but Tex-Mex is my favorite and kids live the queso and quesadillas! Go early for a more family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Shake Shack – Kids love the fries and frozen custard! Mommy and daddy love the burgers!
  • Carney’s – Iconic LA restaurant in a train car – so fun for kids!
  • Urth Caffe – We enjoy sitting on the patio. Or, you could get the food to go and make the 10 minute walk to Hollywood Park for a picnic!

Shops:

  • Eggy – Not technically in WeHo city limits, but serves many WeHo families with fashionable kids clothes and accessories.
  • Sunset Kids – High-end kids hop – great for gifts and novelty items!

Hotels:

  • Le Parc Suite Hotel – Recently renovated with colorful, artistic decor. All guest rooms are expansive suites with kitchenettes, fireplaces and sleeper sofas, so it is easy for families to make the hotel feel like home. Rooftop pool and rooftop tennis court are nice places for fun and recreation! While most WeHo hotels aren’t necessarily geared toward younger children, Le Parc Suite Hotel and it’s sister properties, Chamberlain and Montrose, are great for kids with their large suites, rooftop pools, access to house bikes and walkability to some of the best restaurants and shops in the U.S.!
  • Ziggy – Not exactly kid-friendly, but an awesome newly renovated property on the Sunset Strip to have a couples staycation without the kids! 

Classes:

  • BOUNCE LA –  An outdoor soft play gym and obstacle course led by fun coaches! Classes are not currently held at any WeHo parks, but they cater to a lot of West Hollywood families at their Coldwater Canyon location. The amazing coaches also host kids birthday parties in local families’ backyards and offer programs for schools!
  • PLAY Music & Art – A great selection of classes for your little artist or musician. This is another business that’s located on the edge of WeHo but serves many WeHo families. They also offer online classes, so you can utilize their classes anywhere!
  • West Hollywood Library Smarty Pants Class – Wonderful music and storytime class that helps prepare little ones for preschool and kindergarten.

Parks:

  • West Hollywood Park – Undergoing a massive renovation that includes a brand-new playground and aquatics center. This will be a fabulous place to take kids once its complete later this year!
  • Kings Road – Quiet, shaded park with a small play structure. Best suited for toddlers.
  • Plummer Park – Nice, small park for a picnic or to play tennis.
Playtime at Kings Road Park

Estheticians for Prenatal and Postpartum Self-Care:

  • SkinLab – Owner Joshua Ross saved my skin from pregnancy’s hormonal acne! He used to be based in WeHo when I was pregnant, but he’s now is located in West LA and South Bay.
  • Dermalogica – This flagship location recently opened in WeHo and has been a great place for postpartum skincare.

Family-Friendly Day Trips From WeHo:

  • Kidspace Museum – An amazing place for children to play and explore in Pasadena!
  • Exposition Park – The California Science Center is a great place for kids to explore and learn!
  • Griffith Park’s Travel Town – If your children love trains, they’ll get a huge kick out of this museum with several old locomotives to explore! There’s also a mini train ride!

Not Mentioned in the Podcast:

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Just outside WeHo city limits, LACMA’s Boone Children’s Gallery hosts drop-in painting classes where their friendly staff provides tips on brush techniques. They even provide high chairs for our littlest artists! They also offer teen classes and camps that you can sign up for on the website. Kids under 17 can join their youth membership called NexGenLA where they can visit the museum anytime for free with a guest for free admission. Even babies can join!
  • The Grove – One of LA’s most beautiful outdoor shopping destinations, The Grove caters to many West Hollywood families (and all families across the LA!). It’s such a fun place for little ones with its trolley and fountains. My favorite restaurants at The Grove with kids are Blue Ribbon Sushi, Umami Burger and The Cheesecake Factory. Everyone loves a special treat from Sprinkles Cupcakes! The Grove has one of my most favorite children’s stores, Janie & Jack, along with a Nordstrom and Gap that offer clothing for kids of all ages.
  • Yardbird Restaurant – Located on the edge of WeHo at The Beverly Center, this is a tasty restaurant with a great kids menu! They serve elevated American classics like fried chicken, shrimp & grits, St. Louis style ribs and grilled blackened salmon. I love their brunch here!

What did I miss? Tell me your favorite family-friendly West Hollywood spots in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

Our Favorite Children’s Spring Outfits from Janie and Jack

fashion, Holidays, Lifestyle

I have so many fond memories of springtime and the Easter season growing up in Texas and Tennessee. My mother always did an outstanding job creating holiday traditions for our family, and this time of year was especially fun! My mother encouraged us to help decorate, as she made an elaborate Easter dining table display, filled our fireplace’s mantel with porcelain bunnies, eggs and other fine collectables, and hung Easter eggs from our front yard tree branches. We made Easter bonnets, painted Easter eggs, and joined in on community festivities, like egg hunts, egg rolling races, egg-and-spoon races, Easter Bunny visits and more.

One tradition that I particularly loved was the importance of picking out our Easter clothes. If my mother didn’t hand-make our clothes (she once sewed the most darling pink smocked dress for me), we went to the department stores to select what would be the finest clothes in our closet to wear on Easter Sunday and throughout the remaining warmer months until we outgrew them. I remember how special it was to pick out a fancy dress with my mother, and I couldn’t wait to debut my new “big girl” dress on Easter Sunday. We’d celebrate the holiday with family, attend church and dine with a large Easter brunch afterward. Of course, there were Easter baskets, treats and egg hunts to make the day especially fun for young kids.

My babies in their Janie and Jack spring outfits | Photo credit: @hye.img

What I love about this “Easter clothes tradition” is that it taught me the importance of dressing up and how to wear and care for special, formal clothing. Growing up, we believed that how you dress shows respect for others around you, in addition to being a reflection of how you feel about yourself. We did not grow up rich – we were very much a middle class family – but my parents knew the value in looking nice, dressing for the occasion, and caring for the way we presented ourselves. My parents ALWAYS look nice: My mother has been known for wearing heels on her grocery store runs, and my father almost always dons a suit and tie to church. Back when I was growing up, our Easter clothes may have only cost a few dollars at JCPenny, but we treated them like gold cloaks. This approach to appearance and clothing may be an unpopular opinion these days, but I firmly believe this attitude has been an important factor in any of my business and life success. It’s always been important to our family to show up appropriately for the occasion and feel our best in our clothes, so I love passing down this Easter clothes tradition to my children.

This year, when it came to picking out our Easter clothes, I took my 3- and 1-year-old children to Janie and Jack, because their classic styles and high-quality materials remind me of the beautiful clothes I wore on Easter Sunday growing up. This was the first time I’ve taken both children to a store to actually try on clothes in a dressing room, and we had tons of fun! I let both kids pick out three outfits each to try on in the dressing room, and they loved standing on the stool in front of the mirror to see how beautiful the clothes made them look and feel. The best part of the day was when my 3-year-old son tried on his spring-colored seersucker button-down shirt, looked in the mirror, gave a big smile and said, “I look handsome.” Be still my heart!

We left Janie and Jack with two outfits for each child, but I really wish I could have purchased the whole store! Below are our favorite pieces, which could be perfect for Easter Sunday, spring school recitals, spring weddings, a nice dinner on Spring Break vacation, or a dressy brunch!

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Girls:

I’m obsessed with Janie and Jack‘s color palette of pale pink, mint, and baby blue for little girls spring clothes! The bubble sleeves and smocked dresses are to die for! The shoes have so much beautiful detailing! Complete your little lady’s outfit with a quilted purse, beautiful sun hat, or pink floral barrettes! Every little girl should also have a classic white cardigan in her closet for those chilly spring mornings. Links to all the products are below!

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Little Girls

Top Row, Left to Right:

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Boys:

Classics never die, and that’s why I absolutely love Janie and Jack‘s styles for little boys. I was giddy picking out the blue oxford shorts, seersucker shirt and boat shoes for my little man. Plus, so many of these styles coordinate with the little girls’ outfits for a picture-perfect sibling ensemble! The sweater is so sweet if you live in a place where the winter chill can linger into spring, and your little guy will love accessorizing with these wayfarer style sunglasses! Links to all the products are below.

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Little Boys

Top Row, Left to Right:

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

What does your family do to celebrate spring and Easter? I’d love to hear about your family’s traditions in the comments below! Connect with me on Instagram and TikTok for more on modern motherhood, fashion, recipes and lifestyle!

Our spring family portrait | Photo credit: @hye.img

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Kids!

Holidays, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby

Hey Busy Moms! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I want to share two absolutely FABULOUS online marketplaces that are making it so easy to celebrate LOVE with your family – Maisonette and Goldbelly!

If you don’t yet know about Maisonette, you need to log on their website to check out all their adorable clothes, accessories, toys and gear for kids and families. There’s even some fun things for mom, too, plus home decor! The company was founded by two moms in 2017 with the goal of helping modern families navigate the adventure of raising the next generation. The have the most high quality kids products, partnering with the best brands to curate a shopping destination that all moms love! Maisonette is my go-to site when looking for unique specialty gifts for baby, kids and mama!

The next online marketplace that you must know about is Goldbelly! This online marketplace is where you go to find the best regional and artisanal foods crafted by top local food purveyors throughout the United States, like celebrity chefs, restaurants, bakeries, delis, etc. Have you ever wanted to try one of Duff Goldman’s famous cakes but don’t live near one of his cake studios in Baltimore or LA? Well, now you can with Goldbelly, which ships to all 50 states! Goldbelly is great if you need impressive food for a special occasion or want to gift someone an extraordinary treat. For example, through Goldbelly you can recreate Wolfgang Puck’s legendary smoked salmon pizza at home, or gift your friend, boss, mom, client (anyone!) the famous macarons from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, Calif. There are so many outstanding culinary experiences for purchase in one place!

I turn to both of these sites when I’m looking for something special for holidays and Valentine’s is no different! Below are some great products from Maisonette and Goldbelly to help you celebrate with your kids this Valentine’s Day!

  1. Mommy-and-Me Matching Pajamas and Sweaters

I’m a sucker for matching with my mini, so I love that Maisonette is offering a variety of mommy-and-me styles for Valentine’s Day!

Fun products and treats to celebrate Valentine's Day with your littlest loves!
Maison Me Valentine’s Pajamas for Women and Pajamas for Baby and Toddler

Wake up in comfy yet chic mommy-and-me matching pajamas by Maison Me featuring a mini heart print and shades of pink for Valentine’s Day. These special holiday pajamas, featured in the Ditsy Heart print, come in adult women’s sizes, as well as footies for babies sized 0-24 months and kids sized 2 years to 12 years. Their lightweight 100% cotton rib is super comfortable for sleep or play and cute enough to lounge in all day!

When it’s time to change out of your PJs, the Love Sweater by GiGi Knitwear is the perfect top for Valentine’s Day and chilly February days! Rendered in a sift and breathable light weight knit, the Love Sweater is perfect for layering and playtime. GiGi Knitwear’s one-of-a-kind sweaters are handmade by a family-owned factory in Bulgaria with super soft fine merino wool to keep you and your mini extra cozy. Find the women’s sweater here and the little girls’ sweater here.

Love Sweater Mini

2. Valentine’s Day Mini Fashion Accessories

Maisonette features some of the chicest kids’ accessories from independent brands, including adorable Valentine’s Day themed jewelry, sunglasses and purses, for your little one to wear throughout the whole month of love!

Children will feel sophisticated and special with the Risa’s Pieces Noa Valentine’s Day Monogram Bracelet Set, which you can personalize with your child’s name. It comes as a fashionable stacking set of three red, white, and pink bracelets.

Perfect for sunny SoCal, GlamBaby Priscilla Heart Shaped Sunglasses are made of durable acetate and offer 100% UVA/UVB protection. They come in the option of red or white for your littlest fashionista.

Complete your sweetheart’s outfit with a Ce Ce Co. Velvet Purse with Heart Patches! The upscale Ce Ce Co. also has this Tweed Purse with Furry Heart for your sophisticated bebe. Is it me or is there nothing cuter than a little girl adorned in mini versions of grown-up accessories!

3. Valentine’s Plant Based Playdough

Get creative with your little one on the Day of Love with The Dough Project’s ultimate box of Valentine’s Day goodies! The Dough Project Much Love Bundle comes complete with three jars of fresh, plant-based playdough, a box of “Make Your Own Playdough” mix and a mini rolling pin for unlimited play! The dough comes in red and pink Valentine’s colors for the celebration! The DIY playdough mix is an especially fun sensory project for kids. It’s a dry mix that you simply blend with water and oil to make your own dough – sort of like making pancakes or cookies! The Dough Project is a product parents can feel good about while being made from all natural, food-grade ingredients and colored from plants.

The Dough Project Much Love Bundle

4. Valentine’s Day Tea Set for Dolls by Sophia’s by Teamson

Make imaginary play fun for Valentine’s Day with the Sophia’s by Teamson Kids Valentine’s Day themed tea set. This Warm Your Heart Hot Cocoa & Sweets Set features all the desserts your little one’s doll could want with cake pops, sugar cookies and chocolate covered strawberries! Mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream, plates and spoons complete this detailed set. Kids will have lots of fun celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special pretend tea party! The doll is sold separately, but you can use this tea set for any 18’ doll or with your stuffed animals!

Warm Your Heart Hot Cocoa & Sweets Set

5.    Heart Lunch Box by Dabbawalla Bags and Surprise Lunch Notes by Cheree Berry Paper

Be her Valentine all year long with this adorable pink and white heart lunch bag from Dabbawalla Bags. These quality bags are not only great for tots and teens, but moms and teachers would love to receive these sweet bags as a gift for Valentine’s Day, too! There’s also an option to personalize the lunch tote with an embroidered name! The insulating, eco-friendly material is machine washable and flexible enough to hold a wide range of lunch containers. All Dabbawalla Bags are crafted with TPE, a sustainable foam that is degradable, recyclable, and friendly to the environment. The production of these bags supports fair labor practices and is certified free of toxic chemicals.  

Surprise your little sweetie with a thoughtful love note in their lunch box with this set of 40 notes from Cheree Berry Paper that are playful, yet polished. Cheree Berry Paper is a custom graphic design and stationery company known for creating interactive and conceptual designs full of unexpected details and clever copywriting.  Your little one will love the surprise note that lets them know you’re thinking of them while at school on Valentine’s Day.

Cheree Berry Paper Surprise Lunch Box Notes

6.    Goldbelly Valentine’s Treats from Chefs Cat Cora and Duff Goldman

Goldbelly is known for offering the most unique and delicious food products from the nation’s top chefs, small businesses, and food purveyors, and the company is offering dozens of options of specialty Valentine’s treats to share with your kiddos, friends and family this year!

Drop one of popular Iron Chef Cat Cora’s bite-sized Heart Shaped Rainbow Cookies in your kiddos lunch box for a Valentine’s Day surprise at school or pass out to friends at a Valentine’s Day party! These classic Italian rainbow cookies will brighten anyone’s Valentine’s Day made with three layers of marzipan, apricot jam and a thin coating of chocolate topped with chocolate sprinkles. They come in a set of 18, so they’re perfect for sharing with your children and their friends!

If you’ve spent any time watching Food Network over the past decade, then you know Duff Goldman and his legendary cakes. This Red Velvet Heart Cake is a delicious four-layer red velvet cake with vanilla cream cheese filling, frosted with pink-tinted buttercream frosting and decorated with red fondant hearts – the perfect way to show your love with your little ones! The cake serves 8-10 people – great for a party! It also arrives in a decorative box, so it could make for a fun gift!

Duff Goldman’s Red Velvet Heart Cake

I hope you’ll take some time to check out Maisonette and Goldbelly for your Valentine’s Day celebration needs, in addition to other holidays! I plan to shop their sites in a couple months for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter!

I’d love to hear how you’re planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kiddos! Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

7 Ways to Workout When You Have Babies and Toddlers

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
A typical setup of me trying to workout surrounded by toys

Hey mama, I hear you… Finding time to workout when you have a baby and/or toddler in the house is HARD! I think it can be especially challenging for new mamas who are so exhausted from newborn middle-of-the-night wakings or simply trying to adjust to their new normal of never being alone! Believe me, I’ve been there!

One morning when I was home with my 3-month-old firstborn (who was colicky and a horrible sleeper), I got fed up with my life feeling controlled by a tiny human. I missed my workouts and I missed feeling like myself. So, I decided right then and there that my new motto moving forward would be, “Something is better than nothing.” What started as a few minutes of movement during his first nap every day turned into me really getting into the swing of finding time to commit to my workouts with kids in the house. Here’s my tips on how to do it!

1. Allow them to join you

This isn’t always easy, but I promise that the more you do it, the easier it gets! Your children may not like it at first, but soon it becomes a routine and they come to expect (and respect!) mama’s workout time. At our home gym, our son likes to pretend to workout with us, and our daughter likes to play with her toys around us. Yes, we have to stop and start our workout a few times to attend to their needs, but it’s much better than not working out at all. And, we get the opportunity to model for our children what taking care of our body and minds looks like and help instill healthy habits for them early! If you want tips on how to build a good home gym, I linked all our Amazon home gym products here.

2. Provide kids rewards for being patient during your workouts

I know it can be a challenge for babies and toddlers to entertain themselves long enough for you to get a good workout in. Before I workout, I’ll tell my children what fun we’re going to have after the workout so that they behave and have something to look forward to. I try not to make it revolve around food because then that’s a weird habit to start with so early (We’re going to workout so we can have cookies later?? NO!!). The rewards are usually that we get to go to the playground, library or even Target! Or, we’ll play a game that they love or watch a movie together as a family.

3. Try shorter but more frequent workouts

If your kids simply can’t give you a solid 30 minutes to get a workout in, try breaking up your workouts into two 15-20-minute workouts throughout the day. For example, I’ll do a 20 minute walk in the morning and then a quick 15 minute HIIT in the afternoon.

4. Workout during their nap

This can be tough in the early infant stages when you’re so exhausted from night feedings and the adjustment to life with a newborn! Even though you’re tired, I recommend working out during the baby’s very first nap of the day. It’s usually their most routine and longest nap of the day (so you could potentially workout AND nap!), so it will give you a guaranteed workout time every day. I know all you want to do is nap when they nap, but if you move a little bit first thing in the morning during that first nap around 9am, I promise it will make you feel better and give you more energy for the rest of your day! Even if it’s only a quick 20-minute workout!

5. Take turns with your partner

My husband is great about this! On the weekends, one of us stays with the kids while the other gets to have their own solo workout time. It’s typically when we do our most intense workouts of the week, because we’re able to focus without child distractions. We take turns. Afterward, we usually do something active as a family, and it’s a really rewarding day!

6. Add more movement throughout your day

If you’re really struggling to find time to workout while caring for your children, try to find all the small opportunities to move more. Take the stairs, play “tag” with your kids, have a dance party with your kids, park far away so you have to walk further to get to the store or work, stand when you’d normally sit… anything!

7. Stay up late or get up early

I’m only mentioning this because I know so many have had success with working out before their kids wake up or going to the gym after kids’ bedtimes. This isn’t for me now, but I hope it will be in the future. I used to always workout at 6am but that changed when I had kids, because I have early rising babies. My husband has a very demanding job, so I remain the kiddos #1 caretaker while he gets ready and leaves for work super early. I go to bed at 8:30 so the idea of squeezing in a sweaty workout at 8 p.m. sounds dreadful – LOL!

I hope these tips are helpful! You can do it mama! If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your health and wellness as a parent, check out my post on small changes that make a big difference here.

Let me know what you do for your workouts in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO Maggie

Non-Candy Halloween Treats

Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby

Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats are a yummy (and healthy!) treat for the whole family!

First of all, I know many of you may have read the headline for this blog post and rolled your eyes… Look, I’m a kid who grew up in the late ’80s and ’90s (Gushers! Mountain Dew! Pop Tarts! Sugar on top of SUGAR!), and I promise you that I’m NOT ready to give up the tradition of genuine TREATS for Halloween! What is Halloween without candy, anyway?! But, as I review the holiday activities we have planned this month… WHOA… it’s major compared to when I was a kid! We don’t just have a class Halloween party and the classic trick-or-treating… We also have the pumpkin patch visit, the multi-family immersive Nights of the Jack experience, our local YMCA trunk-or-treat… and I’ve already said no to a few other local Halloween festivities that include kids getting treats! I realized that if we don’t take the time to be mindful of moderation, the candy exposure can get really out of hand!

So, here I am… being that annoying healthy mom that I used to roll my eyes at before I had kids. I assumed “her” kids drank kale smoothies for breakfast and their favorite treat was the olive bar at Whole Foods… Well, I’m here to tell you that my kids DO NOT drink kale smoothies for breakfast and my oldest wouldn’t touch an olive with a 9-foot pole. But, I do know that my kids can appreciate “treats” in forms other than candy, like nutrient-packed muffins, festive shaped foods and seasonal flavors!

I put together this list of non-candy Halloween treats for parents desiring to limit the candy craziness this year. Whether you want to create healthier habits for your family, dread the kids’ candy sugar high, or responsible for sending a non-candy treat to school for the class Halloween party, these non-candy Halloween treat ideas are great for parents who need an easy, individually wrapped goody this fall season! From pumpkin rice crispy treats to pumpkin dog treats, there’s something for the whole family to snack on and feel good about!

6 Non-Candy Halloween Treats for the Whole Family:

  1. Blake’s Seed Based Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispy Treats  

I have lots of memories around my mom making homemade rice crispy treats and purchasing the prepackaged cereal treats to put in my lunchbox as a kid. These are EVEN BETTER! Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats come in many yummy flavors like strawberry, birthday cake, chocolate chips, and now PUMPKIN SPICE! Blake’s is the very first vegan rice crispy treat on the market, so it’s the perfect allergy-friendly trick-or-treat candy. They’re 90 calories, only have 7 grams of sugar, nut-free and gluten-free! If you live in Southern California like me, you can find Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy treats available in local Sprouts stores, or you can shop the snacks online at Amazon or on the company’s website.

Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats are a perfect treat for Halloween!

2. Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats   

We already eat Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips in our house as a better-for-you alternative to regular fried potato chips, so I was really excited that the brand came out with Halloween chips in spooktacular shapes! Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats have the crispy crunch and flavor you want in a snack, but without all the artificial flavors and artificial preservatives that you don’t. The seasonal chips are packaged in individual-sized bags that are perfect for trick-or-treaters, classroom parties, or lunchbox treats. They are available in major retail stores across the nation, as well as online and Amazon, sold in individual bags or packs of 24.

My kids’ treat bags filled with Sensible Portions Veggie Chips Ghosts and Bats!

3. Bobo’s Pumpkin Spice Oat Bites  

I often get frustrated with store-bought muffins and snack bars, because the ingredients show that they may as well be cupcakes and candy bars! Not Bobo’s! The Bobo’s brand offers delicious, simple, handmade 100% whole grain oat bites and snacks and released a brand-new pumpkin spice flavor just in time for the holidays! The slow-burning oats give kids clean energy that won’t leave them with a crash, while satisfying their sweet tooth. Each bite is non-GMO, gluten-free and plant-based, and there’s a variety of flavors in addition to pumpkin spice, like apple pie, chocolate chip, coconut, lemon poppyseed and peanut butter & jelly! You can easily find them at your local Kroger flagship, Whole Foods Market, or Target and online at Amazon

4. Bare Baked Crunchy Apple Chips  

Nothing says fall like apple harvest season, which is the perfect reason to pass out Bare Baked Crunchy Apple Chips to trick-or-treaters!  Bare Baked Snacks are real apples baked into deliciously crunchy chips and never fried. The apple chips are non-GMO verified and have no added oils or preservatives. They’re sold at select retailers, or you can purchase in multi-packs online at Target and Amazon

5. Dole Mandarin Orange Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups  

Get a little crafty by turning Dole’s Mandarin Orange Fruit Cups into cute Jack-O-Lanterns! All you need is a black sharpie to draw a Jack-O-Lantern face on the cups! Bonus if you decide to add the green pipe cleaner for a stem! These are the perfect festive snack for a class party! Dole Fruit Bowls Mandarin Oranges in 100% Juice are made from the best sun-ripened fresh fruit that nature has to offer, and they’re non-GMO and naturally gluten free. Dole Fruit Bowls are available at all major grocery stores or you can get multipacks on Amazon.

6. Greenies Dental Treats, Pumpkin Spice Flavor  

If you want to share holiday treats with your furry family members or pass out treats to dogs trick-or-treating with kids, Greenies Dental Treats for dogs has launched a puppy-approved pumpkin spice flavor!  The unique texture of Greenies Dog Chews cleans down to the gumline to fight plaque and tartar and freshen breath. The treats are sold at Target, Amazon and Chewy.

Would you share these festive treats with your family? I’d love to hear what other better-for-you store-bought treats you pass out at Halloween! Please share with me in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

6 Healthy Halloween Snacks

Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
6 healthy Halloween snacks that are easy and fun to make with your kids!

Got a picky eater? I’ve found the best way to get my kids to eat healthy is to get them involved in the kitchen with me! And, what better way to celebrate the spooky season than with fun Halloween inspired healthy treats! From green goblin smoothie bowls to spider crackers to boo-tiful mini cupcakes, these 6 snacks are so easy and fun to make! Plus, they’re too yummy not to eat! Your family will love spending time in the kitchen together this fall recreating these spook-tacular snacks!

I was so excited to feature these healthy Halloween snacks on KTLA Morning News with anchor Jessica Holmes, who’s a mom and food lover like me! Check out our video, below, for all the tricks to make these treats!

Watch me share Healthy Halloween Snack Ideas for Kids with KTLA Morning News Anchor Jessica Holmes!
Green Goblin Smoothie Bowls

Halloween Snack Idea #1: Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl

Adding spinach into smoothies is one of the easiest ways to get kids to eat their greens! And, you can’t taste the spinach – promise! For this Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl, make a green smoothie, pour into a small bowl, and have your kids toppings like granola or coconut for hair, dried fruit like raisins, dates or cranberries for the eyes, and pumpkin seeds or marshmallows for the smile. Kids have lots of fun decorating their green goblin face! 

Here is my favorite easy Green Smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup water (or almond milk or oat milk)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Peanut Butter Spider Crackers

Halloween Snack Idea #2: Spider Crackers

Have your kids help assemble these spooky spider crackers made with round crackers (I like Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers), pretzel sticks, peanut butter (or another nut or sunflower seed butter) or cream cheese, and small dried fruit, like raisins or blueberries. 

Ingredients:

  • Round crackers
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Peanut butter (or your preferred nut/sunflower seed butter) or spreadable cream cheese
  • Small dried fruit like raisins, blueberries, cranberries, or Wilton Edible Candy Eyeballs

Instructions:

  1. Spread nut butter or cream cheese on two crackers thick enough to hold pretzels
  2. Break 4 pretzels in half
  3. Place the 8 half pretzels sticks around one cracker to resemble spider legs
  4. Top the cracker with the second cracker to secure the legs and make a sandwich
  5. Dip 2 dried fruit pieces in the nut butter or cream cheese and stick them to the top of the spider cracker sandwich to resemble eyes
  6. Enjoy!
Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

Halloween Snack Idea #3: Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

These fruity treats are so easy to make and fun to eat! Peel clementines and cut celery into small sticks. Have kids add the celery sticks to clementines as stems to make pumpkins! Peel bananas and cut in half. Have your children add mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth to create ghosts!

Spooky Grilled Cheese

Halloween Snack Idea #4: Spooky Grilled Cheese

Turn everyone’s favorite lunch into a frightful treat with Halloween shaped cookie cutters and dark rye bread! You can use wheat or white bread, but the dark rye bread is much more spooky! Plus, my toddler surprisingly loves it! Because of its color, he calls it “chocolate bread,” even though it tastes nothing like chocolate! Your kiddo will have lots of fun using cookie cutters to make ghosts, bats and pumpkins in their bread, but I recommend leaving the stovetop cooking to parents!

Ingredients: (makes 1 grilled cheese)

  • 2 slices dark rye bread
  • 1-2 slices of pre-sliced cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you like your sandwich!)
  • Butter

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter over medium high heat in pan on stovetop.
  2. Take one slice of bread and use Halloween cookie cutter to cut shape into middle of bread. Butter one side of the bread cut-out bread.
  3. Take the other slice of bread and butter one side.
  4. Place both slices of bread in pan with the buttered side up.
  5. After cooking for a couple minutes and letting the bread get to your toasty preference, flip both sides of bread to cook the other side. Immediately place cheese on the slice of bread without the cut-out.
  6. Continue cooking until cheese is melty.
  7. Place cut-out side bread on top of cheese and press down so the cheese sticks the slices together.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Creepy Eyes Cereal Bar

Halloween Snack Idea #5: Creepy Eyes Cereal Bars

Add funny eyes to pre-made cereal bars (or my favorite 3-ingredient cheerio bars seen here!) by rolling cream cheese into tiny little balls and adding a mini chocolate chips for eyes. If you’re low on time, it’s fun to add these eyes to anything pre-made, like muffins or frozen waffles!

Halloween Snack Idea #6: Green Halloween “Cupcakes”

My toddler loves these green “superpower” muffins, made with spinach, bananas, rolled oats and sweetened with honey! I love the ghastly green vibes of these for Halloween! Top with Nutella spread for “icing” and have your kids add Halloween sprinkles to make healthy-ish cupcakes! 

Which healthy Halloween snack do you want to try with your kiddos? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

2021 Mother’s Day Gift Guide For Every Type of Mom

Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
Great Mother’s Day gift idea: Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister

Mother’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, May 9, and if you’re struggling with what to get Mom this year, this gift guide is for you!

I get it, moms can be hard to shop for!

Since women make up 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing, your mom likely does a lot of shopping for herself already! Those three Amazon packages at your door? I promise that not all of them are “things for the baby!”

Plus, some moms can be so picky! Like, she loved rose gold jewelry two years ago but now only wears yellow gold… What?!?!

So, how do you choose a gift for mom that says I love you and appreciate you without resulting to the boring old vase of flowers and Hallmark card?

*Please note: Flowers and cards are still ALWAYS a welcomed thoughtful gesture!!

Below, I have put together a Mother’s Day gift guide comprised of five truly unique, one-of-a-kind gift ideas for every type of mom. Happy shopping!

My Top 5 Mother’s Day Gifts in 2021:

1. FOR THE JEWEL LOVING MOM:

Ring Concierge’s Personalized Pieces

Perfect Mother’s Day gift idea: this Ring Concierge Personalized Multi Name Necklace

If you have a mama who loves jewelry, the new personalized pieces from Ring Concierge make for a perfect Mother’s Day gift because you can add your children’s names or initials. There’s nothing sweeter than wearing a reminder of your babies everywhere you go! The line offers a variety of styles, metals and fonts to customize and fit your mom’s personality… and your budget!

An especially thoughtful gift that gives back are the jewelry pieces from Ring Concierge’s engravable heart collection. Fifteen percent of gross profits are donated to Pretty Brown Girl, a non-profit promoting confidence and leadership development for girls of color. I love a gift that also makes a difference!

I’ve gotten to a point in my jewelry collecting days where I don’t necessarily want another piece of trendy costume jewelry, and that’s why I love Ring Concierge. The brand offers bespoke “elevated classics.” It’s high-end jewelry that you can personalize and buy online… How cool is that?! Fashionable celebs like Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor and former Bachelorette Joelle Fletcher are fans of Ring Concierge, so you know you’re giving mom something that will make her feel like a “cool mom” when she wears it!

Starting prices for the personalized pieces range anywhere from $90 to over $2,000. I’ve shared a few of my favorite styles below, or you can browse the collection yourself at http://www.ringconcierge.com.

2. FOR THE CHEF MOM:

Messermeister’s Adventure Chef Knife

For the mom who loves to cook or be on-the-go, I love the new folding Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister. We’ve been home long enough this past year during the pandemic, so take the kitchen on the road and cook from anywhere with this full-sized knife! It’s the same high-quality of a chef’s knife you’d use in your kitchen, but compact and portable. I know our family will love using this at the beach to prepare lunch and for future camping trips! You can even have the knife engraved with mom’s name to make it extra special and personalized!

What makes this gift even more special, in my opinion, is that Messermeister is a local mom-owned company. The brand has been around for 40 years and is based out of Ojai. The family business is led by Debra Dressler and her two daughters, Kirsten and Chelcea. Shop all of Messermeister’s knives at http://www.messermeister.com.

3. FOR THE STYLISH AND ECO-CONSCIOUS MOM:

Aurora Sage’s Silk Scarves

If you have a stylish mom, she’ll love these one-of-a-kind silk scarves from Aurora Sage, an LA-based sustainable women’s fashion brand. The scarves come in three sizes and can be worn a variety of ways, like on your head, around your neck or shoulders, or even as a top! Aurora Sage specializes in organic silk pieces, and all are hand-dyed using natural ingredients such as rose pedals, avocados and turmeric… how cool is that?! And, you’ll be supporting a local mama, as everything is manufactured in LA and dyed in-house by founder and fellow mom Stephanie Carollo. Stephanie created the company just after she had her second son and wanted to create a line that made women feel beautiful while also being safe for their bodies and the environment.

I personally love all of Aurora Sage’s clothing, and it’s fun mixing and matching the different colored pieces. Right now, I’m really into all the yellow pieces, as they feel so cheery for spring and so on-trend with Pantone’s color of the year, Illuminating Yellow. And, the silk blazers look so chic over the slip dresses! Shop all of Aurora Sage’s items at http://www.aurorasage.com.

4. FOR THE BEAUTY OBSESSED MOM:

Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box by Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder

If your mom can’t get enough beauty products, Curateur has launched a Special Edition Beauty Box just in time for Mother’s Day! The Beauty Box is curated by celebrity moms Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder and features some of the leading and most innovative beauty products on the market. Additionally, sales from the Beauty Box benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund (BCRF), a cause that’s near and dear to Rachel’s heart and mine, as both my mother, grandmother and mother in-law battled with breast cancer. Curateur will give 20% of the purchase price to the BCRF and their life-saving work. Another gift you can feel good about!

Rachel Zoe with Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

The box is valued at over $230, but is sold for only $49.99!! It’s a real steal including some amazing products like:

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex: This supercharged treatment helps repair the visible impact of lack of sleep, UV, pollution, even blue light. It’s proven to reveal a bright, hydrated, visibly revived look with comprehensive benefits for the eye area.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Styling Leave-In: This UV-protective gel-creme conditions, detangles, and fights frizz creating beautiful surfer girl waves!

Origins Plantscription™️ Multi-Powered Youth Serum: Their most comprehensive serum for face, neck, and eyes that helps provide a youthful transformation with every use.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base: One of Bobbi Brown’s bestsellers—a primer plus moisturizer for smooth makeup application (it’s the best of both worlds)!

So many fabulous products at fantastic price in Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

You can purchase the box by becoming a Curateur member for $99 at http://www.curateur.com. As a member, you’ll receive a seasonal lifestyle box featuring the most coveted beauty, fashion and home brands on the market. Imagine how excited mom will be receiving her Curateur box with each new season!

5. FOR THE DOG MOM:

Paw.com’s PupProtector Blanket

All moms deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day, including Dog Moms for everything they do for our furry family members! As a dog mom myself, I can’t recommend this Paw.com PupProtector Blanket enough! The blanket is designed to seamlessly blend into any home, and it looks super chic at the end of our bed and on our living room couch. Made from plush faux fur on one side and ultra-soft microsuede on the other, the blanket protects areas from pet hair, dirt, spills, pet accidents, and scratching damage. Our toddler even likes snuggling with it! The blanket comes in so many color options and matches with many of Paw.com’s dog beds. Plus, its so easy to clean – waterproof and machine washable! The blanket comes in a couple different size options and can be purchased on www.paw.com.

Naps are cozy (and chic) on our Paw.com PupProtector Blanket
We have the Polar White color available here: Paw.com PupProtector Blanket

I’m hopeful you’ll spoil mom with one of these very thoughtful gifts for Mother’s Day! Tell me which gift idea is your favorite in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.