Advent Calendar Inspiration

December is here, and if you're a busy mom (like us) there's a good chance it snuck up on you! And considering there is currently no snow here in Minnesota, it feels pretty crazy that we are already in the full-swing of the holiday season! It's just not right :(

Even though there is no snow on the ground this year, our kids are old enough to know that the first day of December means the appearance of an Advent calendar, and it's a tradition they look forward to every year. One of the best things about this activity is that it helps our family set intentions for what is important to us, and helps us carve out time for the things we really want to do when we are being pulled in one thousand different directions. Whether your family wants to focus on family togetherness, volunteering, getting outdoors, creating new traditions, or a mix of all these things, an Advent calendar is the perfect way to make sure the holiday season actually ends up meaning what you want it to mean. When you see our list of activities, you will see that we currently have a house full of animal lovers! We have several days dedicated to helping furry friends this year:) Asking our kids to contribute their own ideas gives us a great mix of traditions we do every single year and some fun new adventures that are meaningful to us as a family. 

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A few of our activities this year!

What are your family traditions? Share with us!


Here is the list we came up with this year! We hope it give you some inspiration in creating your own custom calendar to help you enjoy every last minute of this holiday season. 

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One of our favorite new activities this year is a day of random acts of kindness, which was inspired by this video we recently saw by Kristina Kuzmic (who is amazing BTW!) What an amazing way to spend time with your older kiddos. Check it out!

We can't wait to hear the activities and traditions that your family loves to do every December. We would LOVE if you would share your best ideas with us so we can all be inspired!! Now, can we please all do a snow dance to get this white Christmas thing happening? :)


Lisa & Laurie - @kidsWATER




Paper Bag Turkey Legs

These little turkey legs are a must-do this year for Thanksgiving!

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Simple and adorable! Made with a notecard and a paper bag, these little turkey legs are by far the favorite thing at our kids Thanksgiving table every single year. When kids open them up, they will find tiny trinkets, toys, snacks, sweet notes of thankfulness, and anything else you can imagine to put inside. Let kids tear into these whenever you need to buy yourself some extra minutes of peace and quiet! 

Directions below:

Gather plain white note cards, brown paper lunch bags, scissors, tape, and a marker. Do you get the feeling that we maybe hid the "adult scissors" from the kids a little too well? :)

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Fold the note card in half, and write a name or initial on the bottom open edge if you want to personalize it. Or leave it blank! That's even easier.

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Make vertical cuts along the folded edge that go about halfway down the note card.

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Take your paper bag and crumple it up. It's easy to overthink this part. I know because I always spend the most time on this step! Hahaha! It makes no difference if you spend 2 seconds or 5 minutes trying to get the right shape. It's still going to look like a crumpled up bag:) Just get in there and smoosh it up!

Grab a handful of little treasures, snacks, or notes and put them inside inside your turkey leg. Dollar store anyone?

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Squeeze and twist the open end of the paper bag to create the shape of a turkey leg, then tape the note card around the end.

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Separate and fluff up the loops on the end to create a cute little turkey bootie! (Yes, they are called turkey booties, we looked it up.) :) Congrats! You're all set! 

Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

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Our Favorite Hot Lunch Ideas

As the weather turns colder, we are making a list of our favorite hot lunches to send with your kids to school! Whether they are packed in a good ol' fashioned thermos, or you up your game with a lunchbox featuring a built-in hot food compartment (check out our favorite one here,) a hot meal is one way you can send a little comfort from home on a chilly fall day!

Here are our favorites!

1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal isn't just for breakfast! It's such a filling food that sticks with kids all day long! Check out this super filling and delicious peanut butter banana oatmeal recipe from Five Heart Home. It's quick and simple, two of our favorite things:)

2. Mac and Cheese

What kid doesn't love mac and cheese? One our our favorite versions from Weelicious uses butternut squash to elevate it to a whole new level of healthy and yummy! Your kid will be the envy of the lunch table when they score this all-time favorite kids meal in their lunchbox!

3. Tomato Soup

Tomato soup and grilled cheese are a super simple comfort food that is quick and simple! Making your own tomato soup is easy and so much healthier than the canned versions. Make a big batch and freeze individual portions for a quick warm-up when you need it! Pinch of Yum has one of our favorite versions ever. Click on the picture below to get the recipe!

4. Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joe sandwiches don't have to be greasy and packed with added sugar. Try this Ellie Krieger recipe, which is packed with lean ground beef, vegetables, and beans. This recipe is one of our favorites and is a hit with both kids and adults! Unless your kids like a little kick, we suggest leaving out the jalapeno for a super kid-friendly version :) Send the filling in a thermos to keep it warm and let your child build their own sandwich with a whole wheat bun and pickles. So yummy!


5. Meatballs

If a kid can eat something with a toothpick, it's almost guaranteed you will see a clean plate! These turkey meatballs are a fun lunch idea that is packed with protein and will keep your kids going all day long.  Or, make an awesome spaghetti and meatballs that stays warm all day long in a thermos. Pack a second one for yourself - it's a good one!

6. Chicken and Rice Soup

This chicken and rice soup from Two Peas and Their Pod is great for lunch or a quick weeknight dinner. To make it easy, use rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken from another meal. And make sure you make a huge batch of this soup, it freezes beautifully! 

7. Crock Pot Turkey Chili

Make this Skinnytaste crock pot turkey chili for an easy weeknight dinner and you've got lunch covered the next day! We are huge fans of Skinnytaste and have found tons of kid-friendly recipes over the years on this site. Serve with tortilla chips to scoop up all the good stuff, or with cornbread for a super filling lunch! 

What other hot meals do your kids love in their lunchbox? Share your ideas with us in the comments! We would love to add to our list:)



Kids Lunch Menu

It's the second week of school. Remember all those amazing ideas you had for Pinterest worthy lunches for your sweeties? too:) Insert eye roll here.

Ideas that are worthy of our efforts are ones that work with real life. And this kids menu planner might just be the solution you've been looking for! It gives you control over the choices offered to your kids but gives them the final say in what goes into their lunchbox. You can plan a menu based on things you already have, things you want to have, or use your menu to create your weekly grocery list! And if your kids are older, transition to using it as a tool to help kids pack their own lunches! (FYI, if your kids pack their own lunches, I will trade you kids.)

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Here is the menu we used for our first week of school. I asked my kids to choose their meals the night before and was able to pack them after the kids went to bed so they were ready to grab in the morning rush. No morning lunchbox effort makes this mama a happy lady. If you are in need of some inspiration, here is a quick list of some ideas for each category. Obviously, each family has their own likes and dislikes but here are some favorites in our house!

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Download your own blank menu, inspiration sheet, and order sheet below. Write in a few options for each category and let your kids choose their own lunch! Try it this week and let us know how it goes:) Did it make your mornings easier?



Watermelon Slushies

It's the end of January, and it is insanely depressing to think that we are only about half way through this thing we call winter. Sure, mother nature throws in a random 50 degree day here and there to mess with us, and even though we know better we fall for it every time. It's 50 degree in January!?! Spring is close, I can smell it! Where did I put those flip flops? But just like always, we are brought back to reality with more snow, more ice, and temperatures that have you sometimes questioning your sanity for living here. Sigh......

There are times when it's overwhelming, and your every waking dream consists of warmer weather. Today was one of those days at our house. We had a warm week and I swear I saw a blade of grass......and then bam! Got me again! Shoveling the driveway every 2 hours is now today's workout. 

Warming up by the fire after my second shoveling workout this morning, I decided we were going to have a "vacation" day! Done. And what goes hand in hand with vacation? A tropical drink. I started digging around and found a watermelon, some oranges, and a lime. Watermelon and citrus are friends, right? 

I cut up half of a small personal watermelon which I eyeballed to be around 3 cups. Threw it in my Vitamix (thanks mom, best Christmas gift EVER!), added an equal amount of ice, squeezed the juice from half an orange and the juice from an entire lime over the top and gave it a whirl! 


These really did turn out great! My 3 year old agrees, and got her watermelon quota today. Even though we can only dream of warmer weather right now, you can bet we'll be breaking these out again when summer actually arrives. Only one million days to go......:)


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kidsWATER Kids - Fall Leaf Creatures

If my three year old sees a beautiful fall leaf, she must have it.  

But it must stay outside.

Okay, you can bring it in the car but it's not coming into the house.

Fine, you can bring it into the house but it has to stay at the table.

You can't bring it into the playroom. No. Okay, you can bring it into the playroom, but don't make a mess.

Can you guess the ending to this story? And can you guess how many beautiful fall leaves we have found this year?  That's a lot of vacuuming ( but I sure appreciate the motivation to clean the house, so thanks for that:)

Needless to say, this fall craft was right up our ally. Fast, easy, and blowing through a whole 1% of our plethora of leaf bouquets. 

We opted for the chicks (because chicks rule), but take a look at some of these amazing creations kokokoKIDS (some other people who are much more creative than me) have put together. If you have the right shape of leaves, you can really make some amazing creatures.

kidsWATER thinks that crafts and other creative activities are essential to a kid's overall well-being, and that exercising our brains is just as important as exercising our bodies.

You want the best for your kids, our mission is to Make It Simple.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with all our posts!

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Even though we are "officially" a company, we are a small company made up of two real people. And we would like to say hi! We are Lisa and Laurie. Just two moms who live in MN, just two moms who are sometimes overwhelmed with life and are trying to raise our kids right, just two moms who have little kids turning into not-so-little kids, just two moms whose lives are getting busier and busier as our kids grow, and just two moms who are taking a huge leap of faith as we put our hearts into a brand new product that we think is desperately needed. 

Our company is named Make It Simple for a reason. These three little words are our guiding principle, our mission, and the statement that we refer to every time we make a decision.

Our kids deserve the best. Our mission is to Make It Simple.

This statement encompasses so many ideas, and we can't wait to share them all with you. Believe me, our brains are rapid firing with ideas faster than my kid can say she doesn't like what I'm making for dinner. There are so many ways to help our kids lead healthier, more active, and happier lives. But, because we are a teeny tiny itty bitty two-mom company, we have to resort to starting out with one amazing product as our introduction to the world! And that product is kidsWATER.

Creative name, eh? 

kidsWATER is exactly what you think it is, hence the genius of the name! We took pure filtered water, added all-natural fruit essence, stuck it in a drink box (not a pouch - you're welcome!), and it all adds up to a healthy and convenient drink option for your littles. But, the best part tastes so good. Really. No, I'm serious. For real, it's amazing.  No sugars, no sweeteners, no preservatives, no dyes, nothing! Just water and all-natural fruit flavoring. Genius, right? AND your kids will be drinking water? Yes!


Although we will be talking about our products and outreach into the community, this blog is also a way for us to share ideas that we think contribute positively to our kids' lives and help them become the best they can be.  That could be a recipe that reduces sugar in their favorite dessert, a fun activity that gets their little hearts pumping but doesn't feel like exercise, a crazy craft that stimulates their creativity, and lots of other things we haven't thought of yet! 

If there is a subject you would like to see us cover, please give us a shout! Really, you'll have to shout if you want me to hear you over this heated game of "I can scream louder and higher pitched than you can."  I have lots of ideas floating around in my mind....somewhere.....but would love to know what you want to hear about! And while you're at it, we'd love for you to follow us on Instagram and Facebook too!

Please join us on this journey to give our kids their best life! We are all in this together. 

Just Two Moms (aka Lisa and Laurie)