DIY Pumpkin Spice Play Dough Recipe

It’s almost fall, so that means it’s time for autumn themed play. This week, we made pumpkin spice play dough.

Not only does it smell amazing, it’s a ton of fun to play with… for kids and adults!

One BIG thing about this recipe is that it makes a lot of play dough. I was actually really surprised with how much there was after I made it. Honestly, I would suggest cutting this recipe in half. Unless you want to gift some to others!

The best part of this DIY play dough is that it’s only four ingredients and you don’t even need to cook it like other recipes.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • Dash of pumpkin spice

It’s crazy that you can make good smelling play dough with only four ingredients… really only three main ones if you don’t want it to smell like pumpkin spice.

Mila helped make everything! We measured out all of the ingredients and she helped pour everything in. At first we started stirring it with a fork, then it got too thick and we had to start mixing it with our hands.

For the pumpkin spice, we poured a lot more than a dash. We poured it in until we could smell it!

She ended up playing with it for a long time. I think play dough really calms her. It’s also fun to watch her do pretend play with play dough. Another way you can challenge your toddler or preschooler to play with play dough is to have them make different shapes. It’s fun to watch them try to figure out how to make the shape with their hands.

To store this play dough, just keep it in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Mines in a ziplock baggie with all the air pushed out.

Before Mila plays with it, I just have it on the counter to warm up a little bit.

I’ve been trying to take more videos, but I’m forgetting to take pictures… oops. Thankfully I can share them on here.

It’s fun to watch the memories live instead of just pictures. I’ll try to do both!

I can’t wait to see all the times Mila plays with the play dough throughout the season. If we think of more fun ways to play, I’ll share them here with you.


Have you ever made play dough before? What’s your favorite type to make?

I definitely want to try different scented ones!

5 Tips to Help Your Preschooler Eat Their Lunch at School.

Preschoolers can be picky eaters… especially when they’re not home. Believe me, Mila can be one of them! During these first few weeks, I’ve found these 5 tips to help a preschooler eat their lunch at school.

1. Pick out a lunchbox they love.

Before preschool started, Mila never had to pack a lunch to go anywhere… besides when we went to picnics. I wanted her to be excited about lunchtime and knew that getting a lunchbox she loved would help.

We made it a special day to go pick her lunchbox. I didn’t really limit her to what she could or could not choose, but I’m so happy with the one she got too!

She picked a kids portioned Bentgo Box. It’s her favorite colors: pink and purple. It’s perfect!

Before she even went to her first day, she was eating out of her lunchbox. This helped her know how to open and close the box, get used to the portion sizes, and the opportunity to ask me questions about it. Any time I can take the uncertainty of something away from her, the better!

Here’s a few lunchboxes that I thought were amazing options too:

2. Include their favorite foods.

One of my biggest fears with Mila eating lunch at school is that she just won’t eat anything.

While packing her lunch, I let her help me pick out everything. Just by being able to have a choice in her favorite foods, she gets excited for lunch the next day. I make sure to add dessert in addition to healthy options.

When I know my favorite food is going to be served, I get way more excited to eat. There’s no difference for kids either.

Some of Mila’s favorite foods are:

  • Strawberries
  • Pistachios
  • Salad
  • Jello
  • Any type of cookie or brownie (LOL)

3. Make food fun.

PB&J Crown.

No matter how many favorite foods you add in your child’s lunchbox, their food can seem more enticing when you make it fun!

If your child is a sandwich eater, cutting them in different shapes can encourage your child to eat. I’ve been trying to cut shapes out with a knife, but it’s a lot easier if you use a cookie or sandwich cutter. There’s a ton of different options on Amazon you can easily find.

Other items that you might like to get to make their food fun are cartoon toothpicks and reusable bags.

Cartoon toothpicks are adorable. There are some eye toothpicks, so it looks like your food is looking at you. There’s also different types of animals and objects that your child will have fun identifying and seeing every day.

We love reusable bags here! I’ve bought ones with different sayings and images on it that Mila enjoys using.

Another option to make food fun is to have a themed lunchbox… princesses, dinosaurs, space. The options are seriously endless. There are so many cute ideas that you can find on Pinterest or just on the internet in general. I cannot wait to show you some of the ideas I have for Halloween week!

If you’re interested in looking some of items I talked about, I linked them here.

4. Leave them notes or messages.

One way I like to stay close to Mila is to write her a little note for lunch time.

Obviously, she’s only three and cannot read yet. Instead of writing words, I draw her hearts. We’ve always talked about how hearts mean love, so she immediately recognizes that. I know it makes her smile to see some love from mom and it lets her know that I’m thinking about her as well!

Even though I just use a post it notes for Mila, there are a ton of options for ones that are prewritten. They have cute designs and motivational sayings on them! I have a feeling I’ll buy them when she gets a little older for busy mornings or nights.

I love this idea for kids who might be having a hard time transitioning into school as well. A little note from home can really turn a child’s day around.

5. Check to see what works.

Sometimes, you can try all the advice above… and your child still doesn’t eat their lunch. It can be frustrating and worrying.

Believe me, I know!

Here’s a little story… since preschool started, Mila has only had one day where she hasn’t ate her lunch. It was packed with her favorite things, but there was one item she wasn’t so sure about. It made her not want to eat the entire lunch! Honestly, it worried me, but it was a good reminder to listen and really take in what your child says.

The next day, I literally had her tell me what she wanted and then added food I knew she loved too.

Just as everything with parenting, we have to learn what works best for our kid. Check in with them and let your child lead the way. They know their body and how they are at school. Especially when they have guidance from great parents like you.


I hope some of these tips help your child eat at lunch time!

As parents, it’s hard not to be proud of your child’s courage to go to school and to blossom into their person they’re becoming. Lunches are one way parents can show that pride and help them succeed in their day.

In the comments, let me know if you have any other suggestions on how to help other parents with their child’s lunches.

5 Disney Movies to Talk About Mental Health with Kids.

Mental health matters and talking about it at an early age is a great way to let kids know what’s going on in their head is important. Disney movies are a great way to talk about mental health with kids.

Just like every toddler household, Mila and I watch a lot of Disney. When we’re driving or talking at dinner, we talk about the message behind each movie.

No matter if it’s about grief, anxiety, or perseverance, Disney movies talk about it all.

Watching movies is also a fun way to practice self care. We usually watch a movie before bed to unwind. With any self care nights, there’s Disney movies playing too.

Disney movies and mental health just work.

Here are five of Mila’s favorite Disney movies with mental health messages I love.

1. Luca

Luca came out this past summer and Mila watched it repeatedly for days. The biggest message in this movie is “Silenzio Bruno.” She’s wearing that in the picture in the beginning of the post.

Luca seems to have a lot of anxiety in the movie. His friend, Alberto, helps him push through this anxiety by saying “Silenzio Bruno.”

The way I’ve explained it is it means for the little voice in your head to be quiet. You shouldn’t doubt yourself or think you’re not going to succeed. Silence those negative voices and conquer your goals.

Mila and I say this to each other now. We’ve talked about big emotions and feeling worried. Whenever Mila is scared I tell her this and she usually tries whatever.

The movie also talks about friendship, being yourself, and loss. It’s a great movie for those big topics, but it’s also really good too.

2. Frozen

I’m pretty sure Frozen is Mila’s favorite movie of all time. It’s one she can always watch and never get bored of.

Since we’ve watched it so many times, there’s a few themes that I talk about with Mila.

First, we talk about how people manage grief… of course in an age appropriate way. Elsa and Anna’s parents die early in the movie. Elsa has already shut herself off from the world (conceal, don’t feel) and Anna wanted to outwards process her grief.

We’ve talked about healthy actions to do when we feel sad and mention both of her favorite characters.

The second thing we talk about is her favorite song, “Let It Go.”

Anytime Mila is having big emotions at home, we sing “Let It Go.” Mostly because dancing and singing always makes her feel better, but I also love the words to it.

I don’t want Mila to ever feel held back by her emotions. If she can let them go and not let them hold her back, she can conquer the world.

3. Moana

Admittedly, I think Moana moves me more than it does Mila, but she loves the island life.

I love the part where Te Kā turns back to Te Fiti. It makes me cry every single time. For me, it shows how anger, grief, and disappointment can change a person. It gives them a tough exterior, but they’re always a person underneath it all.

Mila might not grasp all of that now, but we talk a lot about Moana and her Dad’s relationship.

Moana wants to leave the island and voyage, but her dad wants her to stay safe on the island. By the end of the movie, he lets her go, but it was a struggle.

With this, I tell Mila she can be anything she wants to be. I will never try to pressure her or hold her back.

Of course she tries to be funny and bring me her whole snack drawer to eat after these talks…

4. Onward

If you ever have a conversation about Mila and ask about Jensen, she will let you know that he’s her brother and that he died. It can come off as a little creepy, but I’ve always talked about Jensen and grief with her.

When we watched Onward, she understood that their dad died and he couldn’t ever fully come back. Even when his legs came back, he could never stay or be the person that the boys needed.

It, again, shows how Ian and Barley both handle their grief. There’s no right way to grieve, but it seems they both have grieved in healthy ways.

As she gets older, I’m also going to point out that grief is a journey. Ian and Barley literally take a road trip to help process their grief, but that’s what we do when we’re really grieving too. There’s bumps in the roads and roads you take that you shouldn’t. It’s all a part of grieving.

I hope Mila will continue loving this movie and learn more lessons the older she gets.

5. Inside Out

If you’re looking to talk about emotions, Inside Out is a perfect way to introduce kids to emotions personified.

We love Joy and Sadness. Their journey through the movie let’s us know it’s okay to feel however we need. You can’t always be happy or sad, there’s a good mix in it all.

The other journey in the movie is Riley’s. Riley and her parents have moved and it’s hard on her. Her story is perfect for talking to kids about big life changed and the emotions felt afterwards. Again, it shows that it’s okay to miss something and have those feelings attached. It’s also okay to let yourself make room for new memories and emotions as well.

Like I stated before, I just love how this movie gives each emotion a personality. It helps kids visualize their emotions and how they could handle them too.


This is just a short list of Disney movies that talk about mental health. There are so many more that we love and can have great talks about too.

Others include:

  • Tangled
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Soul
  • Frozen 2
  • Raya

I hope that you enjoy this list and can talk about these things with your child too. It’s an easy way to bring those talks up and dig deeper in what your little is thinking about.

What movies would you have added to this list? Or what are some ways you talk about mental health with your child?

DIY Handprint Photo Display.

Grandparent’s Day is this weekend! To celebrate, I, with the help of my favorite littles, helped create a DIY Handprint Photo Display.

One of my favorite ways to include Jensen with our family is to use his hand and foot prints. I learned how to transfer these a few years ago and I’m so thankful.

He’s always a part of our family.

My parents love pictures; my dad constantly takes them. Any gift that includes showcasing the grandkids is one they’re going to love.

This Handprint Photo Display is easy to do at home too! You’ll only need a few things…

First, attach a sawtooth hanger or whatever hanging device you like to the back. I normally do this first so I don’t hurt anything on the front when I hammer the hanger in.

The next and probably the most fun part of this DIY gift is the handprints.

You can find an ink pad at your local craft store. I think I found the one I’ve been using at Joann Fabrics. I’ve had it for a few years and it’s still full of ink!

There’s really no trick in getting the handprints nicely on there.

Since Mila is three, she can do it better than when she was younger. Isla, my niece, did not like the ink on her hands. I still think her handprint turned out adorable!

Just gentle press their hands on the pad then whatever else you’re using. Make sure to wipe their hands off after.

For Jensen’s, I do my special process. If you’d like to see some of my work, check out my Etsy page: Grey Woods Design.

Then, write their names over top their handprints. I just used a thin Sharpie, but you could use paint or even a circuit for this step.

After, heat up your hot glue gun and attach the clothes pins.

Add pictures of your parents’ favorite kids and you’ll have a perfect DIY Handprint Photo Display!

Although I didn’t take a ton of pictures of this DIY, I hope you liked the video! It was so much fun to do.


Do you celebrate Grandparent’s Day? If so what do you give to your grandparents?

10 Thoughts On Getting Ready in the Morning for Preschool.

MILA STARTED PRESCHOOL!

This morning Mila hit a huge milestone: preschool. It’s something we’ve both been excited for all summer. For the last week, she’s asked when she could finally go.

Today was that day!

If you like some of her preschool gear, check out her Success Backpack for links and information.

One part of the preschool process that I’ve been worried about are the mornings. It’s a lot to get two people ready… on top of two dogs too. So, I set my alarm extra early and this is sort of how it went… at least in my head.

Here are the ten thoughts I had over the course of getting ready for preschool this morning.

1. This is way too early.

5:45 came way too early this morning.

Thank goodness I laid everything out last night and know what I’m wearing today. Tonight, we’re going to sleep way earlier.

2. Be quiet and get ready quick!

Sneak into the bathroom. I can’t wake her up before I’m ready. This will go so much quicker and smoother this way.

3. I have plenty of time.

It’s only 6:05. I’m doing way better than I thought. Still, I should fight the urge to scroll. I’ll make some tea instead.

4. Time to wake her up.

I’m all ready. Everything’s ready to go out the door, there’s only one last thing that needs done… Mila!

A gentle rub on the back isn’t cutting it.

“Try to wake up and I’ll make you food. Remember, you’re going to preschool today.”

As I walk out, I hear her flip over to sleep again.

5. Get the dogs set up.

A dog and a puppy… what was I thinking?!

6. ‘I’m tired Mom.’ Me too, kiddo

She’s still asleep.. uh-oh.

I wake her up and get her on her feet. This helps a little bit, but she still looks like a zombie.

“I’m tried,” gets repeated over and over again. Believe me kid, I get it. Tonight, we’ll go to sleep much earlier. For now, it’s time to get ready.

7. Be a multitasking queen.

Breakfast. Hair brushed. Clothes. Teeth brushed. Bags in hand. Out the door.

Just your average multitasking queen.

8. Cheeeeeeeesey Cat!

Cue all the pictures.

We need one with her sign on the steps. I need to get the Instax film. I want to remember this moment and day for forever.

Here’s a few by the preschool sign just for good measure too.

9. This is it.

It’s time.

Walking her into school is such a rush of emotions. Is she ready? Will she be okay? What if she misses me?

10. It’s okay… she’s going to do just fine.

As soon as she walks into the classroom, she runs to play.

It’s okay, mama. This is what you’ve prepared her for for the last three years. It’s all apart of growing up.


Honestly, I’m so proud of Mila and her going to preschool. It’s such an accomplishment and milestone that deserves to be celebrated. I just hope she knows that she’s special and loved.

Are these thoughts similar to the ones you have when getting your kids ready? Let me know in the comments.

Self Care: Four Ingredient Pumpkin Face Mask.

September is Self-Care Month! Mila and I spent our first Sunday in September with a DIY Pumpkin Face Mask.

We love having spa nights and days at our house. It’s even more fun when we can make our own masks too. Since it’s almost fall and spooky season, I knew we had to incorporate pumpkins.

Pumpkin is SO good for your skin. It is full of vitamins, such as A, C, and E. There’s also antioxidants and beta-carotene packed in there as well. Obviously, I looked all that information up. All of that means that pumpkin helps reverse UV damage (perfect for after summer), improve skin texture, and increase collagen.

All things that make your skin happy!

The only four ingredients you need for this mask are…

  • 1/4 Cup of Pumpkin Puree (I used canned)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 7-10 Drops of Face Serum

To make the mask, just mix all of the ingredients together until it’s consistent. It didn’t take long to do at all.

Then, apply and leave the mask on for fifteen minutes.

Removal is easy. Just wash your face with water and pat your face dry. I actually used a washcloth to take it off of Mila’s face.

Before putting it on our faces, I left it on the counter to get to room temperature. I personally don’t like when masks are super cold on my face. We took a shower and did a hair mask and it felt nice on our skin.

I applied Mila’s mask with my finger and mine with a spoon. It worked way better with a spoon.

Mila loved seeing her face covered with the mask. She thought it looked silly, but didn’t touch her face for the whole fifteen minutes.

After taking the masks off, I could instantly tell a difference. Both of our faces felt so much softer. I can imagine doing pumpkin masks consistently would really help.

Maybe with all the pumpkin recipes and crafts planned, I’ll have extra laying around!

I’m actually so excited that September is Self Care Month. With Mila starting preschool and our routine changing once again, it’ll be nice to take the time this month to get back to us.

What type of DIY masks do you like making? If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments.

Also, let me know what self care ideas you’re planning for this month!

Beach Pudding Cups.

It’s no secret, Mila and I love the beach. With her Mermaid Activity Box last week, I had her make a snack that matched: Beach Pudding Cups.

Honestly, I love that Mila loves the beach. She’s been to so many different beaches during her three years and each time she’s been obsessed. When we’re not there, she’s always asking to go back.

Anytime I can bring beach life to Ohio, I do my best to do so. I think this is why this snack was a hit with Mila.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this beachy snack:

  • Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • Graham Crackers
  • Gummy Fish or Sea Animals

First, make the instant pudding as directed in the box. I think all you need is milk with the pudding powder. It’s (the instant pudding) really simple if you’ve never made it.

Then, make graham cracker crumbs. I just blended in my blender!

Now it’s time to put it all together.

Get a clear bowl or cup and do a pudding layer first. I just eyeballed all the layers and didn’t do a specific amount.

Next, add a layer of graham crackers.

Repeat these steps until you get to the top. You want your final layer to be the graham crackers.

To finish it off, add fish and sea animal gummies. I also added a mermaid tail on top too. Next time I make this, I’ll mix blue food coloring to cool whip to make water too.

I think these Beach Pudding Cups are so cute for at home or even at the beach. Since I used our small Tupperware containers, it’d be perfect to put the top on and serve for a beach picnic.

Mila’s favorite part were the gummy creatures on top! She ate them all before she got to the ‘beach.’

This would also be a perfect after school snack since it’s so easy to make and out together. It made me feel like such a creative mom to do this with her.

She wanted to help layer the ingredients and did good too. So kids can essentially make their own after school snack!


What’s your favorite way to bring the beach home? Snacks, activities, or looking at old vacation pictures? Let me know in the comments.

Here’s a few of ours:

Garden Bloody Mary Recipe.

Sundays are perfect days for a little boozy brunch. This weekend I’m making a Garden Bloody Mary by using tomatoes from backyard!

It might sound a little daunting, but making your own tomato juice only takes on more step.

All you need for this drink is:

  • Tomatoes (1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes)
  • Olive Oil
  • 8 Basil Leaves
  • Lemon Juice (half a lemon)
  • 1/4 Cup of Water
  • 2 Ounces of Vodka
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of Hot Sauce

Drink Mix

First, halve tomatoes. Then, put in a baking dish and drizzle with police oil and salt. After, place on the top rack of the oven and broil on high for 10 minutes.

Let the tomatoes cook before the next step.

Next, add cooled tomatoes to a food processor as well as the rest of the ingredients. Blend to a runny consistency. If it’s too thick, add more water… or vodka.

While it’s blending, prepare your cup. I love adding seasoning to the rim of any Bloody Mary. For this particular Garden Bloody Mary, I used lemon to coat the top ring. Then I poured salt, pepper, celery salt, cumin, granulated garlic, smoke paprika, and powdered garlic in a small bowl.

Once it was all mixed, I rolled the lid of the cup in the mixture. Any places that I missed, I added more lemon juice.

Then, add ice to the cup.

After it’s blended, you can either strain or put the mixture over ice in the cup.

Garnish

To top it all off, I had to garnish will veggies from the garden and the CUTEST little pennant from The DIY Party Co.

I just grabbed another cherry tomato, hot pepper, and an olive (from my refrigerator) and skewed them on a toothpick. You can use any ingredients you love to garnish, this is just my favorite, besides bacon!

Then, I got another toothpick and tape to assemble the pennant. I stuck this toothpick in the tomato to keep it upright.


This recipe was so much fun to make and I know it’d be a hit at any brunch party.

The BEST part about it is, I know where almost all the main ingredients come from. It brings me so much pride to be able to make my food after growing it. There’s a few more recipes from our garden that I can’t wait to share with all of you.

Let me know if you try this recipe OR your favorite Garden Bloody Mary garnish. If you don’t drink, I’d love to hear your favorite brunch food.

Banana Split Bites Recipe

It’s National Banana Split Day! Mila and I put a spin on this summer treat and made it bite sized. This recipe is perfect for toddlers or adults who want the taste of a banana split, but don’t want to commit to a regular sized one. I promise, these Banana Split Bites pack all the things you love about a banana split in one bite!

Before I go on… did you know banana splits originated from Ohio? Ernest R. Hazard invented the banana split in Wilmington, Ohio in efforts to attract college students to his restaurant. I think he was on to something!

Anyways, here’s what you need for this tasty treat:

  • Bananas
  • Whipped Cream
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Toothpicks
  • Any other ice cream toppings!

To start off, just cut your banana in little circles. I ended up freezing mine before assembling too because I love the taste of frozen bananas. Then, spoon ice cream on the banana. Add ice cream toppings and secure everything with a toothpick.

It really is that easy!

Mila and I used whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, and maraschino cherries. It would be fun to do classic toppings on different bites too!

This treat would have been awesome for our Ice Cream Bonanza. We did an ice cream topping charcuterie board. It would be so cute to do a Banana Split Bites bar where people can assemble what they wanted themselves. I think that’s a perfect fourth birthday idea for Mila…

We hope that you like our little bite-sized desserts! Let us know how you like it if you make them. Let me know in the comments your favorite banana split toppings.

Guess What I Got For My Birthday?

I’m officially twenty-eight years old! It seems like the years are getting shorter, but way more fuller.

To make my life even crazier and busier than it currently is, I surprised myself with a little gift. Our family has grown… again. This time by four more furry feet.

Yes…we got a puppy!

It was sort of spur of the moment, but the idea of a new dog has been in my head for the last few weeks. I feel like Max has been super lonely with school starting. He loves other dogs too and it’s just been something I’ve considered.

Plus, Mila and I love puppies and dogs too! The more craziness in our house, the better.

So yesterday, I found the perfect little guy for our family. I can’t wait to see how big he grows and how he fits right in with us.

Everyone… meet Toby!

He’s a Bernese Mountain Dog who is twelve weeks old. His paws are massive and he has the prettiest grey eyes. For a puppy, he’s calm and just loves on us.

Mila knows his name is Toby, but calls him ‘tube-y.’ It’s cute and he still runs to her.

Even though puppies are SO much work, he’s the perfect birthday present. I’m so happy with him and just smile when I look his way.

Max is obsessed with him and was like a mother hen helping him out on his first night at home.

Fingers crossed for more sleep tonight though!

Do you have any puppy tips or tricks? I’d love to hear more in the comments!