Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! The last couple of years I have really come to LOVE this holiday. I have to be honest, I really just love it because it’s another fun holiday to celebrate with the hubby and girls. Annnnd an excuse to make heart-shaped pink pancakes. I never really liked Valentine’s Day growing up because it was always a holiday where most of my friends received flowers or chocolates from their boyfriends, while I, boy-friendless, got a nice Valentine from my mom. p.s. Thanks mom for all the Valentines growing up!

So now, married with children, I have really grown to love it. I guess though I still think of the girls, like myself who may dread this holiday, or those who are widowed, single, or going through a break-up. I try to make an effort this month, to reach out to anyone that I know may be feeling lonely or need a “little extra love”. Isn’t it funny that a holiday celebrated can make people feel excluded or sad?!? I hope that Valentines Day can slowly become a holiday where everyone is included and that it can just be a way to show love or random acts of kindness to someone in your life that may need it the most this month.

My grandma recently shared with my that she attended “Senior Prom” this month, that her church put on for her. As she was describing all the details, I asked her if they took her photo so I could see her all dressed up. At that instant, her eyes filled with tears and with a smile she said, “yes, they took my photo, but I was missing your granddad terribly at that moment”. A holiday that can be filled with such love, sorrow, anger, or disappoint. More than anything I hope to encourage you to reach out to someone this month that may need some encouragement or just a simple act of love. “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one come to you without leaving happier” -Mother Teresa

Since today is Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to share a little “love themed” photo shoot I did for a few companies and their upcoming spring lines! The girls had a lot of fun taking these because balloons were involved and music. You can see Emery busting a move in a couple of these photos!

Clothing: Peyper Kids (spring release March 1st)

Bows: Free Babes (spring release February 27th)

Shoes: Zimmerman Shoes

Photos were taken by Liz Osban Photography.

I hope you all have a VERY happy Valentine’s Day!

Strawberry Heart Pastries

I think one of the best parts about the upcoming holiday is all the creative heart-shaped breakfasts. Pancakes, waffles, egg in heat-shaped toast–it’s all so fun! What’s even more fun is making it for two very excited little girls who love anything to do with hearts (and the color pink). This past weekend I made pink heart-shaped pancakes with sprinkles, and when I put the plate in front of Adelyn she literally let out a squeal. And I pretty much blew her mind when I finished with a dollop of whip cream on top. The holidays are so much fun with children, and each year just gets even better.

To beat our Monday blues, I decided to try out a new recipe with the girls to help carry on the excitement of the upcoming holiday. They had a ton of fun helping me make them, especially Emery who loved being the taste tester. (see below)

I’m not going to lie though, it took me about 5 cups of coffee to power through cleaning the mess of the kitchen when we finished breakfast. Somehow the mess of cooking seems to almost triple when including kids. However, I do love having two cute helpers in the kitchen and looked forward to many, many more years of baking with them.

I considered making heart-shaped pop-tarts this year, but then I came across this recipe to make pastries and thought it would be fun to try! I would definitely recommend these for your upcoming Valentine’s day breakfast or really any breakfast throughout the year because they were SO good!

Enjoy!

Strawberry Heart Pastries

Ingredients

1 sheet puff pastry
2 oz (1/4 cup) strawberry cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 Tbsp strawberry jam
2/3 cup very small diced strawberries
1 large egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together cream cheese & jam
  3. Cut pastry into heart shapes using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer hearts to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing 1 1/2-inches apart.
  4. Using a toothpick or pairing knife, lightly score a heart inside of each cut-out heart coming about 1/3-inch from the edge, without cutting entirely through bottom of the dough.
  5. Add 1 tsp of the cream cheese mixture to center of each heart then spread outward without covering the 1/3-inch edge.
  6. Add strawberries over cream cheese layer.
  7. Using your fingertip brush the 1/3-inch edge with egg/water mixture.
  8. Bake for 14 – 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack then dust with powdered sugar.

recipe adapted from Cooking Classy 

 

Our Snowy Getaway

Last weekend, we took the girls up to a cabin in the mountains that some my husband’s family owns. We had such a fun time as a family and can’t wait to go back. It helps that girls absolutely love the snow, especially Adelyn. She keeps asking when we can go back! It was a weekend that was good for the soul with little reception, good food, a few movies, putting together puzzles, and lots of playing in the snow.

{Adelyn’s boots, Emery’s boots – sold out similar here}

The last time we took our snowmobiles out together was before we had kids– almost 5 years ago! It was so fun to do something together and feel like kids again!

{emery’s snow suit – sold out, similar here}

Adelyn loved the snow so much and we had to beg her to come inside. Sledding, building miniature snowmen, climbing snow mounds, snow angels, a short ride on the snowmobile, and even a snow ball fight — she couldn’t get enough.

However, my Emmy Jane was really okay just parking it in the snow and eating it. I think that this marshmallow snowsuit is partly to blame because she could hardly move.

We checked a few things off our winter bucket list (you can see our bucket list here) and loved watching the girls play in the snow.  I’m not going to lie, I feel like I got my “snow fix” this weekend and I am ready for some fun in the sun. A beach somewhere is calling my name for our next family trip.

{children’s} inspiring reads

For Christmas I got the girls a few new books and thought it would be fun to do another inspiring reads post to share a few that we are loving lately. (You can see my other ‘inspiring reads’ blog post here.) I hope you are able to find some new favorites to add to your bookshelves! A few that I would HIGHLY recommend are: Today by Julie Morstad – the illustrations are stunning and it is such a fun book to read, Amelia Earhart – one of Adelyn’s favorites because she is currently obsessed with airplanes and the message is wonderful, and last, Pancakes: an interactive cookbook – we have already used this book a couple times to make pancakes– not only is the book fun, but the pancakes taste great!

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 /12

13 / 14 /15 /16/ 17 / 18

You can also find all of the ‘inspiring reads’ that I am pinning over here as well!

What are some of your current favorite children’s books?

 

 

Winter Bucket List

We are a week into the winter season, however the temps where we live have been below 30 for the last month, so it has been feeling like winter here for a while. I am so excited to share that I was a guest blogger over at Fin & Vince. Make sure to head over there to read more about a winter bucket list I created for our family.

stork dress

 I still am in disbelief of how quickly fall has come and gone. Fall is definitely my favorite season, but we are excited for the upcoming winter months and all the different traditions and fun we will create as a family. So as we say “goodbye” to fall, here are just a few fall captures of the girls and our winter bucket list.

linen top//charcoal skirt

I honestly could have added so many more things to our list, but I figure by the time we check everything off; it will be just in time to create a spring/summer checklist.

I also created a little winter inspiration board for you over on my Pinterest if you would like to see ideas that I will be pinning in the coming months.

Happy sledding, snowman-making, and hot-cocoa-drinking days ahead to you!

Christmasy Photos & Friday Favs

Last weekend, at the last minute, I texted my friend Liz from Liz Osban Photography and asked her to meet me and the girls at a Christmas tree nursery for a few photos. I found this nursery a couple miles from our home and it truly is a little gem. I can’t wait to go back this summer when it is filled with flowers.

My sister also arrived for Christmas the day these were taken, so I pleaded for her to come take a nice photo with the girls and I. My sister is my best friend and I hate that she lives so far away, so a photo of us was in order! Love you Natalie!

Here are a few Friday Favorites as well!

I have been getting excited about hosting our annual New Year’s party next weekend and I found these fun after dinner fortunes. We always do Chinese food, so these will be a fun addition to the party. Also, if you haven’t stopped by Target’s $1 spot for other fun New Year’s goodies, you need to! I found the cutest tiaras for the girls!

There were a few fun things that I recently purchased with all the amazing before Christmas sales. I have been drooling over the rose gold flatware from Anthropologie but couldn’t justify $98 for one set, so I found these similar ones at Target that are just $19.99 and I got them on sale too!

I am beanie obsessed and Gigi Pip recently sent me one from their new line! I have been wearing it non-stop and wanted to share them with you! I’ve been eyeing this Bon Bon Pink one too! It’s just the perfect shade!

Another favorite find has been this Open Market Throw. We are making some changes in the new year to our master bedroom and this piece has me excited to start adding some different pieces in our room!

Last, I starting pining some fun ideas for New Year’s over on my Pinterest! Follow me over there if you are needing some fun inspiration!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

xoxo

New Years Resolutions: Switching to Natural Products

With New Year’s right around the corner, I have been thinking more about what my resolutions are going to be for the coming year. I am over losing weight goal because the last time I checked, my goal was 10 pounds and I still have 15 to go…So instead of trying to make unrealistic goals for 2017, I decided to make some changes that will have more a long-term affect on my family and myself.

Some of these changes include making healthier decisions when it comes to food in our house, trying to only eat out once a week, and being more conscious about the products that we use as a family. This includes items like toothpaste, lotions, shampoo/body wash, and deodorant – which is the reason I’m writing this blog post today, to share why I’ve decided to make the switch.

Over time, I have slowly started to make changes to the products we use. When I had Adelyn, I did lots of research on baby products and those that were natural or organic had some really scary ingredients and warnings. I know the products may cost more than those without natural ingredients but I feel good about spending more on product that I know will have a positive lifetime affect on my girls.

It was easy to decide to only buy natural ingredient products for my girls, so why was it so hard to make the switch for myself? To be honest I have tried some natural shampoos and conditioners and they didn’t always work the same on my hair as those that weren’t natural. So when it came to deodorant, I didn’t want to make the switch and end up smelling like body odor for the whole day because it didn’t work. However, I recently was sent Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Natural Deodorant to try and I want to share with you my absolutely, completely honest opinion of why I am SO glad I made the switch.

Here are some reasons I was excited try TOM’s deodorant:

  • It contains no aluminum, petrochemicals, parabens or artificial fragrances or preservatives.
  • They have a rating of “1” on the Skin Deep Database
  • Tom’s deodorant offers 24 hour protection using natural odor-trapping zinc.
  • They give back 10% of their profits to helping people and the plane and the packaging is fully recyclable.
  • It’s also cruelty free.

I have been using Tom’s of Maine deodorant for about a month now and there are a few things that I absolutely love about it.

  • It does not leave any stains on my shirts or gross white residue like most deodorants.
  • It 100% lasts all day
  • Finally, I love the lavender scent deodorants. I tried all of them and this one by far is my favorite. It smells amazing!

I am so glad that I made the switch to natural deodorants and I hope this post persuades you to do the same! One tip I do have if you try it, give a good month of testing it out. Sometimes your body needs time to adjust!

To learn more about Tom’s of Maine deodorant formulations and scents you can find all of that information here.

What are some changes you are considering in the New Year?

This post was developed in partnership with Tom’s of Maine. All opinions are my own.

Stocking Stuffers

This year for Christmas, I had so much fun buying stocking stuffers for the girls. (I think more than their actual gifts!) Adelyn is at the age where she likes to play with so many more things and Emery is at the age (finally) where she’s not putting everything little thing in her mouth. So here are just a few fun things I found this year to fill the girl’s stockings.

1957 Corvette toy car || tooth fairy mouse || grow dinos || The Swing || cat purse || kaleidoscope || hi-bounce pinky ball || animal nesting dolls || wind-up scooter || animal tattoos || stuffed sloth || stuffed puppy || etch a sketch || wind-up school bus || chunks paint sticks || old maid || slinky || owl lip gloss || star wand || magic jellyfish || rubber duckies || bubble wands

You can find the stockings shown above here! And if you follow me on Instagram, I posted a photo of our advent calendar so you can find it over here! Happy Shopping!

DIY Festive Wrapping

Tis’ the season to be wrapping! I am shocked to even share that I have even wrapped a gift before the 24th of December because I usually am a last minute shopper/wrapper. After scrolling Pinterest, I collected a few of my favorite ideas, bought the supplies, and added a little “festive flair” to each gift. It actually was so fun to be a crafty and add extra love to each present this year. I thought I would share a few of my favorite wrapped gifts, so that you may find a little inspiration for this gift-giving season.

gift wrap/twine

 square photo print/twine/kraft paper

tags/label maker/kraft paper/twine

To make the wreath I used this wire and twisted two pieces in a circle. I then took this floral tape and wrapped pieces of a live garland around the wire.

kraft paper/twine/black tag – similar tags here/scissors/card

kraft paper/twine/ wooden tags (I drilled a hole to make it into a tag)/photo print

gift wrap/green twine/bells/tags

white tag/wooden tag/black tag (similar here)/label maker

scissors/kraft paper/twine/washi tapecard

gift wrap

I had so much fun incorporating these Artifact Uprising square prints into my gift wrapping. (Especially for grandparents who will love getting photos of the girls). We also used Artifact Uprising for our Christmas cards this year and I couldn’t have been happier with the way they turned out. I actually ordered two different Christmas cards because I couldn’t just decide on one! I plan on sticking a square print of the girls in with each card as a special keepsake for our friends and family. If you follow me over on my Instagram, I am giving away $50 shop credit to Artifact Uprising to use on your Christmas cards, photo gifts, or even just for a couples sets of square photo prints! There is still time to order your Artifact Uprising Christmas cards by selecting FedEx economy shipping!

2016 gift guide

Happy weekend! I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving! Yesterday, I spent most of the day online shopping and I am so excited to say that I actually got all of my Christmas shopping done and I didn’t even have to leave the house! As I was shopping, I rounded up a few of my favorite gifts I found and bonus!–everything is currently on sale. I decided to share my finds because most are on sale through the weekend and maybe even more for Cyber Monday. If I find any better deals, I will update them here. Happy Shopping!

Land of Nod: 20% off + free shipping (no code needed)

unspecified

cooking set/play food/campfire/tree house/llama ride-on/activity gym/

vintage woodie wagon/high chair/moses basket

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Pottery Barn Kids: 20% off + free shipping (code: OHWHATFUN)

puppy towel/craft table/silver race car/metallic abc blocks/tea set/elephant wooden puzzle/train track/doll house/farmhouse kitchen

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Nordstroms: Extra 20% select items

Mini Boden hooded knit jacket/hunter boots (women’s)/Guess coat/breakfast served all day teetassel scarf/North Face shell jacket/Cole Haan boot/Clarisonic/hunter boots (children’s)

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Rifle Paper Co: up to 30% off

swimmers print/weekly calendar/iPhone case/leaf print/mermaid wrapping paperrecipe card box/2017 calendar/travel journal/ostrich notepad

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J Crew: 40% off with code HOLIDAY

cable v-neck sweater/breakfast pjs/sequin dress/flannel pjs/womens moccasins/girls undies/mens hoodie/camp socks/plaid vest

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picmonkey-collage-3

Anthropologie: 30% off everything with code: LETSGO

east berry dress/tumblers/scarf/candle/pom pom keychain/play pram/unicorn/coat/peplum sweater

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Another deal I found was on Sorel boots – all 25% off + free shipping. I stocked up on boots for the whole fam!

What awesome deals have you found this weekend?!