Category Archives: Life

bellingFAM Holiday Gift Guide {2014}: For the girls

bellingFAM Gift Guide for Girls Banner

If there is anyone on my holiday gift buying list that’s easy to shop for, it’s my girls. I could shop for Janie and Meg for hours and have an endless wishlist for them… that they don’t even know exists. Here are some of my favorite picks for gifts for girls!

bellingFAM Gift Guide for Girls

Glowing LED Memo Alarm Clock,, $15
This cool alarm clock has been on my Gift Brainstorms Pinterest board for ages and I think I’ll finally pick them up for the girls for Christmas this year. I can only imagine what they will write on there…

Cozy Cotton Robe, Pottery Barn Teen, $31 (currently on sale!)
These are so cute and the price is certainly right for a Christmas gift. I love that bold bright pattern. You might want to note that these come in teen sizes, not kid sizes, so order appropriately.

Show Horse Play Stable, Land of Nod, $29
This has Meg written all over it… and I suspect that if you have a daughter under the age of 10, it probably has her name written on it, too.

Sip Sip Tumbler with Straw,, $11 (currently on sale!)
Tumblers with lids and straws are such a great option for kiddos who have grown out of a sippy cup, but who aren’t quite ready for a lid-free drink. Loving this heart print for the girls and these would make a cute gift idea for friends, too.

Feeling Festive Nail Wraps, Jamberry Nails, $15 (Sommer is a local representative!)
Jamberry Nails are new to us, but they’re so fun and much easier than nail polish. I’m excited to tuck some in their girls’ stockings this year.

Cupcaking Kit, Cupcake Royale, $43
This kit is from our favorite cupcake shop in Seattle and being able to make them at home is such a guilty pleasure… for the kids. (cough, cough.)

Heart Chalkboard, Cost Plus World Market, $10
I spotted these when I was shopping a few weeks ago and nearly bought them for every girl we know. They’re even cuter in person.

Slush & Shake Maker, Zoku, $20
My girls would absolutely love these for whipping up a treat on their own and experimenting in the kitchen a bit. Plus, they’re a great price point for a holiday gift! (Buy it locally at Launching Success!)

Friendship Bracelet Temporary Tattoos, Tattly, $5 for a set of two
I’m obsessed with this website and you will be too. They have the coolest temporary tattoos (for adults, too!) and there are a ton of designs to choose from.

Carve-a-Stamp Kit, Yellow Owl Workshop, $30
For the girls who love to craft, this stamp-making kit is awesome. I love a good gift that will also keep my girls busy for more than 18-seconds.

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Don’t miss our other holiday gift guides:
Gifts for boys
Gifts for moms
Gifts for dads

Stay tuned next week for a gift guide favorites giveaway!

bellingFAM Approved: Kidstir Cooking Kits (Giveaway)

Over the years, we’ve tried a lot of subscription services at our house. You already know how I feel about my beloved Stitch Fix. And, I’ve been a Birchbox subscriber on-and-off over the years (I jump back on the bandwagon when my beauty supply stash runs low!). There have been a few kid-subsciptions that we’ve fallen in love with too, including the ill-fated Wittlebee for kids’ clothing and kid activity boxes that have provided a lot of crafty fun.

Kidstir Cookbook

So, when I heard about Kidstir via a friend (hugs to you A.), it peeked my interest. Kidstir is a kids’ cooking kit subscription that delivers a box of hand-picked, kid-friendly recipes, ingredients, cooking tools and related activities to your doorstep on a monthly basis. With each month you subscribe, your kids will continue to build their own cookbook binder, which will be filled with recipes they’ve made themselves.

Kidstir Kit

Right off of the bat, I fell in love with Kidstir because it came so nicely packaged and when I opened the box, I felt a little bit of glee. It was cute and thoughtfully put together and it screamed out to be a great gift to send to cousins or friends who live far away. The wow factor was immediate… and it lasted.

Kidstir sent us the Bake Me Happy Kit to try and besides all of the cute goodies that came in the box and that yummy chocolate from Soom Foods, what I thought was so special about Kidstir was that it got all three of my kids in the kitchen, working together to create the recipes. Janie, who is 10, took charge (of course), reading the recipes out-loud to the littler kids and calling out instructions. Meg, age seven, took on the task of gathering the ingredients we needed from around the kitchen and pantry. And, 4-year-old Everett went to work with the mixing… and the test-tasting. While they went to work with Kidstir, I sat back, jumped in when needed and simply enjoyed letting them take the reigns… until it came to clean-up time, naturally! Funny how quickly they disappear when I start filling the sink with hot, soapy water.

Kidstir Cooking Kits

We’re thrilled to partner with Kidstir for the holidays to bring you a fun holiday giveaway that will get you in the holiday spirit. One bellingFAM reader will win a Kidstir Winter Wonderland Kit and the personalizable Cookbook Binder to keep all of your Kidstir recipes and activities organized.

To enter to win the KIDSTIR WINTER WONDERLAND KIT & COOKBOOK BINDER, please click below to visit the giveaway on Rafflecopter:

// This giveaway has ended. Please click below, to see the winner! //

Giveaway Button

 (If you’ve never used Rafflecopter before, I promise that it’s easy and the BEST and safest way to enter a giveaway on a blog, as well as for me to run a giveaways on bellingFAM. No registration necessary. All of your information provided is kept private. Must be 18 or older to enter and win. All entries will be verified. U.S. residents only, please.)

Giveaway provided by Kidstir.
Products were provided for review.
No additional compensation was received.
All opinions are my own.

10 Tips for seeing Disney on Ice in Seattle

We had a great time going to the newest Disney on Ice production, Let’s Celebrate, last week at Everett’s XFinity Arena. This was Everett’s first time going (Josh’s too, come to think of it!) and he was amazed — every little piece of the show made his eyes grow wider. It’s pretty impressive in the eyes of a 4-year-old, when you think about it!

Here are a few tips that we’ve gathered from attending Disney on Ice shows for the past few years. While these tips apply specifically to the Seattle-area show at the XFinity Arena, most of them can also be applied to wherever you’re seeing Disney on Ice.

Disney on Ice Tips

1. Get tickets along a row with a rail
When you’re ordering tickets, try to get a row that is in between two sections so that you have a railing in front of your kids, not a person, sitting in a seat, who will likely have little feet kicking them all evening. We were in row eight, which was awesome. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house, since they shrink down the arena to fit the show, but the closer you can get to the ice, the better, of course.

2. Don’t get there too early
Waiting with kids can be torture. Waiting with your kids before they’re about to see their favorite Disney characters takes things to a whole new depth. We were in our seats 20-minutes before the show started and it was about 10-minutes too long. For the kids and for us.

3. Grab street parking
There is plenty of free street parking around the arena… take advantage of it! We usually troll the side streets on the north side of the arena and have always found a spot less than two-blocks away.

4. Feed your kids first
This is obvious, right? There is food available at the arena — think typical stadium-style food… and prices — but filling your kids up with food before you go would be a good idea, especially since the moment the show comes on, there is no way they’re sitting still to eat!

5. Be prepared for the stuff
And, by “stuff,” we mean everything Disney under the sun. Shirts and stuffed animals and snow cones in commemorative cups and photo opps and ohmygoddness so much stuff. Make a plan before you go — either make it clear to your kiddos that you aren’t doing “stuff” or let them know they have a dollar limit or that they can pick one thing or whatever works for your family. Just be prepared. Because it’s in your face for the entire show (even when you’re in your seats) and it’s everywhere. Also, bring cash. Some vendors don’t take credit cards and it’s much quicker, too.

6. Pee before you sit down
Another obvious, yet not-so-obvious tip. The bathroom lines for the short intermission are LONG and each mom usually has at least two kids. That’s a lot of peeing. If you have Dad with you, send the kids to the bathroom with him. The lines are 100x shorter.

7. Find the beer
They have beer. Find your closest beer location before you get to your seats and make sure you have a parent-to-parent hand signal in place for when you need a refill.

8. Get to your seats on time
When we were there, a family of 15 (I kid you not), was trying to find their seats, directly in front of us, for the first five minutes of the show. My kids nearly rioted, as did the kids all around us. Don’t be a jerk, get to your seats when they give the warning announcement.

9. Don’t worry about your kids bugging people
If there was ever a time to let your kids jump up and down, scream, dance and talk in an outside voice, this is it. They encourage kids to get up and move to enjoy the show and you can feel free to let them. Everyone is doing it and nobody cares. It’s the best.

10. Sneak out a side door
When the show is over, getting out of that arena is killer. Instead of heading back to the front doors, where you entered, find a set of super-tall stairs that lead outside and hike out that way. They’ll likely put you further from where you parked, but it’s worth it go avoid the bottleneck in the arena hallways… with kids in tow.

To find the next performance in the Seattle area, or the area local to you, visit the Disney on Ice website. Psst! Tickets for Disney on Ice Frozen go on sale in January for the November 2015 shows… might want to mark your calendar!

photo and tickets courtesy of feld entertainment.
no additional compensation received.
all opinions are my own.

Katie Loves This: Edition 5

Another Monday, friends! Did you have a good weekend? I spent it shopping in Seattle with eight buses packed full of 400 women. I can now officially serve mimosas in a moving bus without spilling. I think I’ll put that on my resume. Although, I did fall into the lap of one of the ladies, so, maybe I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

Here are some favorites from the past week… What are you loving?

Katie Loves This- Edition 5

I almost, almost bought these DV by Dolce Vita sneakers at Nordstrom this weekend, but I needed an 8-1/2 and they were going to have to order them for me, so I passed. But, I love them. A lot. Santa, are you listening?

These feather gift tags caught my eye on Pinterest and, as it turns out, they are a free printable from Love vs. Design. Confession: I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to gift wrapping ideas.

Do you shop at Trader Joe’s? I’m obsessed with their Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps and will happily eat an entire box in one sitting. (There isn’t THAT much in there, really.) I love them with a little goat cheese on top. Seriously. The entire bag. Yum.

I love this DIY Thanksgiving Table Runner. I spotted it on Pinterest and finally hunted down the original post on Spoonful of Imagination. Maybe we’ll get our own table runner started this year with the kiddos. Because that’s exactly what I need in the midst of cooking Thanksgiving dinner… kids with paint on their hands.

Katie Loves This: Edition 1. October 2014.
Katie Loves This: Edition 2. October 2014.
Katie Loves This: Edition 3. November 2014.
Katie Loves This: Edition 4. November 2014.

have something for me to love? send me an email! i’d love to hear about it! xxoo.

bellingFAM Approved: Strider Bikes (Giveaway)

Strider Giveaway

We don’t spend much money on toys at our house. Books? For sure. Craft supplies? Yes. Things that get our kids outside as much as possible? Definitely.

I know you recognize this brand and I’m here to tell you how much we love our Strider Bike. LOVE. All caps.

Not only does it get the bellingFAM Approved stamp of approval from Everett, who just upgraded to one of Strider’s XL Seatposts to give his growing legs a little more room to stride, but it’s a favorite for Josh and me, too. We love it when he rides and we can tell that he’ll be ready to jump over to a peddle-bike with confidence, thanks to his time on his Strider Bike.

Strider Bike Review

 (Paul Frank helmet available from Bell Helmets)

Ev got his Strider for Christmas, just after he turned two and now, at nearly five, he’s still riding it and I suspect he will be for another year… or until his legs get too long, whichever comes first! When he was just a little guy, he totted around on his Strider often, up-and-down the sidewalk in front of our house mostly, getting used to how it feels to balance a bike underneath himself. Now, he’s more confident, cruising along much quicker and mastering how to steer and stride at the same time, a skill that often seems to be lost when kids are focusing on trying to peddle a traditional bike.

Strider Bike bellingFAM

We’re excited to team up with Strider Bikes for a giveaway that’s perfect for kicking off your holiday shopping. Just be sure to let Santa know that you’ve got him covered this year!

Want to check out a Strider Bike in Bellingham? Authorized dealers include Earl’s Bike Shop, Lenny’s Bike Shop (Ferndale), Mt. Baker Moto-Sports, Second Shot Sports (Lynden) and Wee Ones Reruns.

To enter to win a STRIDER 12″ SPORT BIKE, please click the Rafflecopter link below:

Giveaway Button

(If you’ve never used Rafflecopter before, I promise that it’s easy and the BEST and safest way to enter a giveaway on a blog, as well as for me to run a giveaways on bellingFAM. No registration necessary. All of your information provided is kept private. U.S. residents only, please.)

Giveaway provided by Strider Bikes
Products were provided for review.
No other compensation was provided for this post.
All opinions are our own.

Katie Loves This: Edition 4

Hello, there. Happy it’s-really-cold-out Monday! The weekend whizzed by, didn’t it? We were busy and recovering from colds and headed into a week that will make me BEG for Friday. Let’s get it started out with some favorites from the past week… What are you loving right now?

Katie Loves This

I’m still mad at coco+kelley for making me like things from Chico’s. It’s so confusing. Because, this blouse. And, this vest. And, ohmygodstopit.

I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to hair and with a cut and color on the horizon (much-needed, let me tell you!), I have this picture on my mind. What do you think? Too much? Not so short, for sure, but blunt and uber-bright… (Picture originally from & so it goes…)

Speaking of Pinterest, if you’re on there, you’ve probably been re-pinning all of these yummy, pretty recipe pins from Damn Delicious. I finally took the time to check it out from my computer, rather than my phone, and it’s sooo good. Dinner ideas galore!

In things that have surprised me this week news, I’m obsessed with Katherine Heigl’s Instagram account.  I know that everyone says she’s a total bitch, but I think she looks like a lot of fun. And, like a great mama.

Katie Loves This: Edition 1. October 2014.
Katie Loves This: Edition 2. October 2014.
Katie Loves This: Edition 3. November 2014.

have something for me to love? send me an email! i’d love to hear about it! xxoo.

Katie Loves This: Edition 3

I’m trying hard to think about anything outside of all of the caffeine I need pumped into my body this morning. Because, Halloween + weekend slumber parties + daylight savings time. Even my tired is tired. Here are some of my favorites that popped up last week… Enjoy!

Katie Loves This


Can we get an “amen” for the fact that one of our favorite (local!) kids’ clothing brands, kate&jAMES just came out with their first thing for the mamas? Loving their Ello Love Women’s Pullover Raglan, which is currently taking pre-orders. Get one.

I’ve had this recipe for Mini Poppy Seed Ham Sandwiches on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls pinned on my Dinner Pinterest board for ages and we finally made them last week. They are GOOD. The kids weren’t into the mustard sauce, but you could easily just put it on half for the adults. A note: I did bake it for about 40-minutes, not 20-minutes, like the recipe indicates.

This article on EverydayFamily, Real Moms Dish on the Power of Mom Friends, was a favorite last week. Some of the moms featured (and the author!) are gals that I’ve written with around and about on different sites and I loved reading more about the mom friends in their lives.

For a laugh, you must add What Would Yeezus Wear to your Instagram account. You can’t get much better that this.

Katie Loves This: Edition 1. October 2014.
Katie Loves This: Edition 2. October 2014.

have something for me to love? send me an email! i’d love to hear about it! xxoo.

bellingFAM Approved: KaHootie Co. Notepads (Giveaway)

// This giveaway has ended. Please visit Rafflecopter to see the winner. //

Here’s the truth…

Getting organized is easy. Some might even say it’s fun. (Me.)

Staying organized is the hard part.

I don’t know about you, but I always have the best intentions to stay organized, especially at the beginning of each school year, each week, each DAY. And, I feel so much better when things are in order and life just runs much smoother, for everyone, when I get my to-dos and our family schedule and all of the other mom-things out of my head and onto a calendar or into a list. I know it’s weird, but it makes me feel calm.

Even though I spend my work-life online, I am completely old-fashioned when it comes to my calendar. I still use a paper calendar and love writing things down.

KaHootie Co. Notepads

When Kristen, creator of KaHootie Co., a line of organizing tools for moms, got in touch, I was thrilled. Their products are exactly what I use in my everyday life to keep organized and I couldn’t wait to put them to use. Plus, I loved what Kristen had to say about why she designed these products, “One of the biggest challenges for moms and dads is organization, as they constantly juggle the demands of caring for their kids, themselves, and their home. If parents were more organized, they would have less stress, greater productivity, and enjoy more free time to spend with their family.”

Yes. Just, yes.

Here are some of my favorites from KaHootie Co.

KaHootie Co. Daily Calendar

Daily Schedule Notepad, $13

I literally use this pad every day. I try to make my list in the evening, just after I get the kiddos tucked into bed and wrap up emails. Feeling organized before tomorrow even hits makes me happy. I’ve used other daily notepads before, but I especially love this one from KaHootie Co. because it’s an all-in-one — calendar with blank times to write in appointments, quick to-dos for the most-pressing items on your list, a daily meal planner, and even a spot to check off how much water you’re drinking.

KaHootie Co. Monthly Calendar

Monthly Calendar Notepad, $13

This is the KaHootie Co. notepad that I use to keep our family on the same page. I fill out a new sheet at the beginning of each month and hang it on the front of the fridge for everyone to see. It’s filled with big things, like upcoming birthday parties and appointments, as well as little things, like reminders about which day the girls have library at school.

KaHootie Co. Chore Chart

Kids Chore Chart Notepad, $13

Lastly, grabbing the fan favorite award from my kids, is the Kids Chore Chart Notepad. Not only are these great for helping your kids feel accomplished for helping around the house, but they’re also fantastic to use for keeping track of daily reading and homework, especially for your school-aged kiddos. In the past, we’ve used chore charts like these to help us through the more challenging seasons of parenthood, keeping track of tear-free drop-offs at school or mornings that they wake up dry. Complete lifesaver for parents and the perfect visual tool for kids of all ages.

You can pick up your own KaHootie Co. products on their website, as well as online at Bed, Bath and Beyond and buybuy Baby. Before you buy, know that each notepad is super-thick.

The team at KaHootie Co. is giving away a set of their notepads for one lucky, soon-to-be very organized bellingFAM reader and we’re happy to be their host for the giveaway!

To enter to win a SET OF KAHOOTIE CO. NOTEPADS, please click the Rafflecopter link below:

// This giveaway has ended. Please visit Rafflecopter to see the winner. //

Giveaway Button

(If you’ve never used Rafflecopter before, I promise that it’s easy and the BEST and safest way to enter a giveaway on a blog, as well as for me to run a giveaways on bellingFAM. No registration necessary. All of your information provided is kept private. U.S. residents only, please.)

Giveaway provided by KaHootie Co.
Products were provided for review.
No other compensation was provided for this post.
All opinions are our own.

Katie Loves This: Edition 2

The first edition of Katie Loves This was a hit! Thanks for emailing me some of your favorites, too. Look forward to featuring them! Here’s what I’m loving this week…

Katie Loves This


The last time I made chili for dinner, it was lame. It was a basic recipe and it took a LOT of extras to make it taste like anything. Loving these chili recipes for fall from around blog-land. Hoping to find a new favorite.

This new Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix from Not Without Salt. Enough said. Buy some for everyone you know. And then more for yourself.

Remember that family who did the Christmas jammies rap? They had a new song drop for Halloween, Kin and Moose: Gin and Juice Halloween Parody from the Holderness Family. Hilarious, as always.

The planner that I’ve been using since I was in college (that was a LONG TIME AGO) didn’t come back this year. This is the new version and I’m trying to get on board, but really, this paper calendar loving girl is in mourning.

Katie Loves This: Edition 1. October 2014.

have something for me to love? send me an email! i’d love to hear about it! xxoo.

Hello, weekend!

Hello, weekend!

There have been a lot of things and people weighing heavily on my mind and on my heart this week. Just life, you know. It’s a crazy ride sometimes, isn’t it? And, in the midst of it all, talking about things like shoes and clothes and such seems insignificant. Sigh…

Okay, deep breaths. Let’s get on to the weekend, shall we?

We’re attending a fun fundraiser tonight (at the new Buffalo Hot Wings restaurant that opens in Bellingham next week!) and have pumpkin carving plans on Saturday… Sounds like it will be a stormy weekend in Bellingham, which is just what the doctor ordered!

What are you doing this weekend?

Here’s what’s been happening on bellingFAM the past few weeks:

  • I shared a few books I’ve been reading on my fall reading list. Trying to get through Tell the Wolves I’m Home right now, but feeling super bogged down. Have you read it?
  • The coat closet makeover on The House on Fremont Street is finally done… and we’re still loving it… minus the stink of my kids’ shoes!
  • Speaking of The House on Fremont Street, we chatted about inexpensive floor lamps. And why they’re so ugly.
  • Do you watch Scandal? I shared my thoughts on the season premiere, which was pretty much crazy town… and has continued to be just as crazy. Can’t say this season is my favorite… yet.
  • Our family grew my two family members earlier this month. Meow, meow.
  • This giveaway and these dresses from City Kid Style were a huge hit.
  • Over the summer, I traded in my gas guzzler for a week with the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Here’s why I’d go hybrid, in a heartbeat.
  • I finally got around to posting about my third box from Stitch Fix, which was my favorite so far. Stay tuned for a review of my fifth delivery next week!
  • This post on Fall 2014 TV shows was a huge, unexpected hit, which made me so excited. I didn’t realize I had so many closet TV watchers… and I love it.
  • A quick update on our washi tape Instagram photo wall.
  • We launched a new series this week, What Katie Loves, which will be posted every Monday.
  • Last, but not least, my breakup with tall rain boots and some of my favorite short rain boots.

And, here’s what I’ve been working on when I wasn’t here:

Thank you for spending time on bellingFAM. xxoo.