Lucas' 7th Birthday Party

I can't believe Lucas turned 7 on April 26th. Last year he wanted a Pokemon party but we ended up with a magic themed party instead. He's even more into Pokemon now so we did it up with a Pokemon themed party with my own modern spin on it. Remember his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th birthday parties?

I designed the invitations with a simple and modern take on Pikachu's face. I initially wanted to mail each invitation with a balloon that had a hand drawing of Pikachu's face but it didn't quite work out the way I wanted. Instead, each invitation came with a yellow balloon taped to the yellow backing of the invitation. The custom envelope liner had a photo of Lucas looking at a Pokemon book written in Japanese from our date to the Kinokuniya bookstore. The invitations were mailed in sunny yellow envelopes and sealed with wraparound address labels.

For the party favors, I made Poke Surprise Balls (tutorial here) using crepe paper streamers, a Sharpie and red acrylic paint. Each Poke Ball included a few Pokemon figurines, some Japanese candy, and a colorful whistle.

As usual, we order all the donut holes and make custom paper cones. :)

I made a super easy red velvet cake and cupcakes and just added the Pokemon figurines on top.

We hired a face painter who specializes in Pokemon drawings. Some kids had their full face painted and others, like Lucas, just had a character drawn on their face or arm.

Initially I was going to get Mexican food, but then I realized that Japanese food would be perfect for the theme! The sushi platters from Kyoto actually turned out to be less expensive. I just added Japanese rice crackers, fresh fruit, and some gyoza from Costco which I heated the morning of.

Okay, so the whistles. ;) I thought the whistles in the favors were so cute! I mean, for emergencies or to hook onto backpacks, right? But when all the whistles are going off at the same time and parents are kidding but not kidding about getting me back at their next party... Haha!!!

The cutest Pikachu that ever lived!

Every year, Nick and I tag team on making the pinata. This year I made a Poke Ball using the paper mache method and filled it with Japanese candies and Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks. Nick stayed up until 1 a.m. painting it.

Last year's pinata was a giant playing card that we made out of cardboard. It was unbreakable and hilarious because Nick had to stab it all over just to make it easier to break. This year was the opposite--it busted open just after a few strikes. We had to find ways to make it harder to open and sadly not everyone got a turn.

The look on Lucas' face when it was cake time is everything.

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East Bay Mother's Day Pop Up

Please join us on May 7, 2017 from 11-3 pm for an afternoon of shopping for/with moms, moms-to-be, grandmoms, new moms or pet moms. Enjoy delicious food, drinks, and goodies by these amazing designers/companies.

AYLA GROOM
Handcrafted jewelry, bags and stationery
etsy.com/shop/aylaisadora

CAN CAN CLEANSE
Organic juices, nut milks and cleanses
cancancleanse.com

CARRIE SAXL
Modern, organic jewelry made in CA
carriesaxl.com

GOOD EGGS
Organic grocery delivery and dinner kits
goodeggs.com

HYGGE
Modern denim kimono jackets made in CA
hyggedesign.xyz

JENNY PENNYWOOD
Hand printed textiles ethically made in CA
jennypennywood.com

MELANIE ABRANTES
Handcrafted objects of solid wood and cork
melanieabrantes.com

ZIRAFFE
Minimalist, chic and fun kids clothing
ziraffe.com

New addition:
Berkeley Cellar
Rainbow superfood powder
 

Snacks and sweet treats GOOD EGGS
Savory bites and bread CHASE AGEE of PAIN BAKERY
Korean bites and mocktail SELINA S. LEE of BANCHAN WORKSHOP
Mini ancient botanical favors MOONDELI (limited quantity available)

Favorites: Dinner Kits from Good Eggs

I'm so excited to partner with Good Eggs to bring you a preview of their new Weeknight Dinner Kit launching on April 16th. I've tried other meal kits before and there were always two things I didn't like about them--too much wasteful packaging and it took at least an hour to prep and cook. When I received the Good Eggs Weeknight Dinner Kit, I was so happy to see that the box was small, the ingredients were minimally packaged, and any packaging material that was required was compostable.

The kit came with 3 dinners and each one literally took only 10-15 minutes of prep time. Each recipe is clearly marked A, B and C with corresponding labels on the ingredients. It was easy to distinguish and separate for storing in the fridge.

I decided to make the Mint Pesto Pasta with Spring Peas and Green Garlic first. Initially I thought it wasn't enough food but turns out I had some pesto leftover so I could make a lunch the next day. Score! Lucas and Theo LOVED it! They never had mint and arugula pesto before and they kept asking for more. Score again! The meal came with a giant salad and a yummy red vinaigrette.

Love this on the box!

    I also got a Buh-Bye Box to encourage being fully present at the dinner table.

    Thanks Good Eggs for the amazing Finishing Salt from Omnivore.

    And thank you again for the Fresh 2016 Harvest Olio Nuovo from Other Brother. It was perfect for drizzling at the end of the

    I highly recommend this dinner kit for busy families. It's absurdly fresh, easy, and delicious.

    Here are more details of the Good Eggs Weeknight Dinner Kit:

    • Customers who sign up for the dinner kit receive 3 meals, which can be ordered and delivered at the same time as their weekly groceries (subscription not required).
    • Kit options change weekly
    • Cost is $69.99
    • Promotional pricing in April and May: $49.99 (use code DINNERKIT20 for $20 off your first kit)
    • 1 meal = 3 servings
    • Each weekly menu comes with a Good Eggs seasonal green salad mix and dressing that can be paired with any meal. (pairings suggested on recipes)
    • This spring, there will be 2 omnivore meals and 1 vegetarian
    • Coming later this year: vegetarian, paleo and other options

    + Ceramic bowls by Colleen Hennessy
    + Napkins by Sweetgum Textles
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    Favorites: School Lunches With Fluf Lunch Bags

    For many parents, including myself, school lunches can be a little daunting--what to pack each day, deciding between a warm lunch or cold, not wanting to spend too much money if it's going to come back uneaten, etc. Today, I've partnered with modern kids online shop Ziraffe who sent over some of the cutest lunch and snack packs from Fluf. They are washable, have a water-resistant BPA-free lining, durable, super cute, and made of organic cotton. I've paired them with our favorite lunch box to show you some lunch ideas that work for both Lucas and Theo.

    Theo's nut-free preschool lunch in the Cactus Zipper Lunch Bag (left):

    • pomegranate seeds
    • cucumber slices
    • apple slices
    • brown rice cake
    • mandarin orange slices
    • kiwi
    • yogurt covered pretzel (dessert)
      note: I usually include a protein such as string cheese or a sun butter sandwich but his class was having rice and beans that day so I omitted it.

    Lucas' first grade lunch in the Grey Zipper Lunch Bag (right):

    • blackberries
    • kiwi
    • olives
    • string cheese
    • peanut butter and jelly sandwich
    • sliced apples
    • organic dark chocolate coconut chips (WF bulk bin!)

    A few other school lunch tips:

    • Either make the lunch with your kid or ask them what they'd like in their lunch
    • Give them a choice (i.e. do you want pears or apples? a sandwich or a quesadilla?)
    • Pack the night before--for apple slices, cut them in the morning and have one of the kids rub lemon on them to prevent from turning brown
    • For kids who hate bread crust, I do one of two things: I either leave it on because sometimes my kids are so hungry they eat the whole thing, or I cut off the crust and put it in the actual sandwich (they can't see it or taste it, but they're eating it!)

    I bought most of these from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. The cost for each lunch comes out to under $4 and all of it minus the olives and pretzel is organic.

    I supplemented their lunch with some snacks. These Fluf snack packs are so convenient for school or just everyday use. I love the velcro closure for little hands and how roomy they are. I put cut-up carrots and gluten-free pretzels in the Fluf Mama Love Snack Pack for Theo. Lucas has raw almonds and cut-up carrots in his Hi Snack Pack.

    The lunch bags hold a lot (probably even artwork and jacket!).

    I love that there's a sturdy interior pocket for a water bottle or an ice pack.

    + This post is in partnership with Ziraffe. All words and opinions are my own.

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    Gift Giving with UncommonGoods

    The beginning of the year always seems to start off slowly and then before I know it, there's little league, swimming, summer camps, and birthday parties galore. I'll admit it--I'm a last minute gift giver and I'm always scrambling. Today, I've partnered with UncommonGoods to show you my gift picks for Nick's birthday, my girls trip, and my favorite gifts for Home Decor here above).

    1 / Blah Blah Throw 2 / Minimialist Teak Wall Shelf 3 / Out the Door Wall Mounted Key Holder 4 / Handwoven Guatemalan Zig Zag Wool Rug 5 / Come In, Go Away Doormat

    First off, not only does UncommonGoods have something for everyone, they are always working toward making their company more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and a rewarding place to work. UncommonGoods focuses on handmade, recycled and organic products, give their employees benefits and living wages, and is a founding member of B Corporation, an organization created to help customers understand the social and environmental impact of their purchases. I'm in total support of companies like this.

    One gift I need to get this year is for Nick who will be turning 40 this year! There are so many unique Gifts for Men at Uncommon Goods , it was really hard to choose. If you know Nick though, you know he loves beer, the outdoors, camping and music.

    1 / West Coast Style IPA Brewing Kit 2 / Personalized Mixtape Doormat 3 / Adventure Blanket 4 / Portable Camp Grill and Charger

    Every year my girlfriends and I go on a big trip and we do a take on Oprah's favorite things. I need to get 10 gifts each under $10. UncommonGoods has a sweet Bridesmaid Section -- I love that I can buy one thing and split them up for my girlfriends.

    1 / Wine Soap, Set of 4 2 / Sweet Treat Hand Cream Set 3 / Chakra Bath Salts Set 4 / 7 Chakras Handmade Soap Set

    This post was sponsored by UncommonGoods, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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    Favorites: New Tea Collection / Australia

    The latest Tea Collection line celebrates the adventurous spirit of Australia. Remember Lucas and Theo rocking the collections inspired by Japan, Italy and India? I've always wanted to travel to Australia--it was one of the top picks for our honeymoon. I love all the inspiration from the animals, the surf, the sun and the incredible natural beauty of Australia.

    To kick off the Australia inspired collection, I took Lucas on a day date to San Francisco--I've heard Sydney is very similar--where we started the day at Tartine Manufactory, then headed to Ocean Beach and Land's End, and ending our date with an amazing lunch at Outerlands.

    Lucas and Theo really love all the graphic t-shirts, and cozy playwear pants and shorts. The items shown in this post include the Pacific Surf Graphic Tee (you can see Lucas modeling it on the site!), Ishigaki Swim Trunks, Shima Rash Guard, and the Side Stripe Shorts. I just placed another order of the new arrivals and can't wait for them to put them on so I can snap some pics.

    + This post is in partnership with Tea Collection and contains affiliate links. All words and opinions are my own.

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    Favorites: Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet

    The holidays are always one of my favorite times of the year, but also the most hectic. Between holiday parties, potlucks, school Winter Faires, shopping for gifts, volunteering, not to mention the advent calendar I make every year that I didn't make this year (oops), we all need a little downtime. For us, that means Lucas and Theo get to watch a movie and I get some quiet time to prepare for the holidays.

    Today I've partnered with Amazon to introduce the latest Fire Kids Edition Tablet (aka my best friend and secret weapon). We currently have an older version, but this new Fire Kids Edition Tablet is amazing—it includes the latest Fire Tablet with a durable, kid-friendly case available in pink, blue or green, and a two-year worry-free guarantee. If anything happens to the Fire Kids Edition Tablet, just send it back and Amazon will replace it for free—no questions asked. And you KNOW my boys will be dropping this all over the place. It also includes a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited at no additional cost. I use Amazon FreeTime's innovative controls to manage their screen time—sometimes that means setting a goal for Lucas of reading for 30 minutes before accessing his favorite movie.

    I love that the Fire Kids Edition Tablet is ready to use right out of the box, making it an awesome gift or tool to keep the kids occupied during holiday traveling. And as much as I didn't think my kids would have screen time (you know, that stuff you think and say before you actually have kids), it's been a life saver for us. I feel good knowing we can manage their screen time using the parental controls and the kids know their limits. Win Win! We will be heading to Santa Rosa to Nana and Granddad's house for the holidays and the Fire Kids Edition Tablet will be perfect for the car ride. Happy holidays!

    + This post was sponsored by Amazon, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
    + Find me on Instagram (@good_on_paper), Twitter (@good_on_paper),
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    Favorites: New Tea Collection / HOLIDAY

    The new holiday collection from Tea is up and it's super cute! My boys are mostly always dressed in casual wear--ready to run, jump and play! Remember their outfits inspired by Japan, Italy and India? When Tea sent me some pieces from their new holiday collection, I loved them but to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure if they would wear them. I mean, when was the last time Lucas wore a sweater vest? Um, never. But to my surprise, the boys were super excited to don their new outfits for their Nana’s big 70th birthday party that afternoon. Who knew? I was so excited! The boys spent the morning in the holiday collection playing with their Magnatiles, Legos, Keva Tiles, Pokemon characters, army guys and ninjas. The Windowpane Traveler Trousers are tailored looking but super soft and wearable--definitely a new favorite.

    We headed off to Santa Rosa to celebrate Nana’s birthday. It was a cold and wet weekend but we took advantage of the break in the rain to play outside. Off went the Haru Sweater Vest the minute Lucas decided to play baseball—underneath it though was the Yomiuri Baseball Henley, perfect for batting and throwing strikes. Theo was cold and kept his Fudo Zip Cardigan over his Heritage Striped Purity Tee as he scootered around the driveway dodging Lucas’ hits.

    I love the versatility of these pieces. They’re fancy but SO wearable and comfortable and if you know Lucas and Theo, they are ACTIVE.

    Get 25% off now until 10/30 for the Friends and Family event. Use code BONSAI at checkout.

    + This post is in partnership with Tea Collection and contains affiliate links. All words and opinions are my own.

    + Get 25% off now until 10/30 for the Friends and Family event. Use code BONSAI at checkout.

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    Instagram Giveaway!

    I'm so excited to announce an Instagram GIVEAWAY today for three of my current favorites: (1) a signed copy of the new book Alternative Baker by blogger/photographer/pastry chef/author Alanna Taylor-Tobin of The Bojon Gourmet (check out the amazing pie I made!), (2) a beautiful and sustainably designed culinary tote from Aplat (I use these all the time for transporting food for potlucks and picnics), and (3) a brown midi bonded leather playmat from Gathre (so awesome for picnics at the park or movie nights in our backyard).

    Head over to my Instagram feed to find the original post and simply follow me, comment and tag 2 friends. That's it! I'll announce the winner chosen by random number generator on Monday, October 17th.

    This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congrats to @makingitwithmeleyna!

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    Favorites: New Tea Collection / JAPAN

    I love the latest Tea Collection line inspired by travels to Japan. Remember Lucas and Theo rocking last season's collection inspired by Italy and the season before that inspired by India? As a Tea Ambassador, I was asked where I would take my family if I could travel anywhere and guess where I chose? JAPAN. Yep! I was super excited when the latest collection was inspired by Japan--I love Japanese food and would probably choose it over any other kind of food to eat for the rest of my life.

    Check out the entire Tea Collection and get 20% off EVERYTHING with FREE SHIPPING during the Labor Day Sale with code HELLOFALL.

    What better way to kick of the Japanese inspired collection with the Mount Fuji Graphic Tee and a game of Pokemon.

    I took Lucas on a day date to San Francisco's Japantown. I hadn't been there in years and I thought it would be a fun place to explore with Lucas and get a giant bowl of udon. Our first stop was the Kinokuniya Bookstore. With hundreds of books about art and culture, gifts, and everything Pokemon related, Lucas was in heaven. Needless to say, there was a lot of, "Mama, can I get this? How about that?" We were both a little overwhelmed so I gave Lucas a budget that he had to stick to. He spent it on a Pokemon encyclopedia, a box of Pocky sticks and a water gun. Go figure!

    There were so many little shops in the mall and so much stuff to touch! 

    Secretly glad this video game shop with the giant Pikachu was closed.

    Pocky sticks are a MUST.

    A giant bowl of noodles are my comfort food. For lunch, we went to Udon Mugizo, one of the best spots in the city for hand pulled udon. This dimly lit small restaurant inside the Japantown mall was the perfect spot to take a break and recharge.

    Believe it or not, Lucas pretty much finished his entire bowl of noodles, tofu sheet, and fish cakes. Being a true Asian, I took the broth home. The next night I heated up the broth and added udon and some greens. Easy dinner done!

    Lucas wears the Udon Graphic Tee.

    I took Theo out in his Rice Graphic Tee to get some delicious savory porridge (pink and brown rice, red quinoa, amaranth, sesame oil and gomasio), avocado toast and hot chocolate at Bartavelle in Berkeley.

    Lucas wears the Kasai Zip Hoodie.

    + Check out the entire Tea Collection and get 20% off EVERYTHING with FREE SHIPPING during the Labor Day Sale with code HELLOFALL. Ends Tuesday, 9/6/2016.

    + This post is in partnership with Tea Collection and contains affiliate links. All words and opinions are my own.

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