Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Fall!!!! Football, hot soup, cool breeze, windows open, leaves dancing, it’s seriously one of the most magical seasons. I can’t help but feel lost in it’s beauty and at the same time feel like its slipping away all too quickly. We’ve been thoroughly the days we get with cooler weather, it’s so beautiful and we’re enjoying all the fall things. We just can’t help ourselves! Which leads me to sharing a few of our current favorites for this beautiful Friday!

My kids absolutely love pajamas! I’m constantly looking for fun, cozy pairs that wear well to last the whole year. They always get excited when a new holiday comes up because we usually can find some cute festive ones to fit the season. This year we got Burt’s Bees Baby shooting star jams for fall. They have cute and simple prints in their soft organic cotton sets. I love them because they’re affordable and the kids love them because they’re so comfy. I especially love that they also make family jammie sets so we can all look like festive dorks at Christmas.

My morning coffee has been traded in for Tazo Chai Tea Latte in Pumpkin Spice flavor. It’s so delicious and cozy, especially on cooler mornings. The spice is warm and gives all the fall feelings.

Remember last November when I shared how I roasted all our leftover pumpkins to make homemade pumpkin puree? I had nearly 20 bags of pureed pumpkin in my freezer and shared some with friends. Last weekend, I made a batch of our favorite pumpkin bars and used one of my Cinderella pumpkin purees. I also added nutmeg to my recipe (which is now added) and this was probably the most amazing batch that’s ever come out of my oven. Mike and I couldn’t get over the flavor of the pumpkin! Sure, roasting all those pumpkins took more time, but the flavor is so worth it!

Since Kensi has started school she needs all her items labeled. The first week of school I didn’t even think about this and used washi tape until my NameBubbles labels arrived in the mail. These labels are not only adorable and have a variety of prints + shapes to choose from, but they’re also dishwasher safe and the clothing labels are machine washable. How awesome is that!? Go check them out!

Hoping you all have a great weekend are able to enjoy some fall fun on this Friday!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Simple + Quick Meals // Sesame Noodle Bowl

I’m constantly looking for quick and simple meals to throw together when the day has been crazy and I look at the clock and suddenly it’s already five o’clock and I have no dinner plan. When I fail to meal plan our week, this happens easily and frequently. I frantically breeze through the fridge to find a protein and a veggie and try with all my might to somehow throw this together into something amazing that Kensi will enjoy, Finn will eat and Olivia can eat. I love introducing new flavors to them and sometimes it can be a complete win and other times it’s an utter fail and my kids are eating oatmeal. However, this week my frantic throwing of food together worked well and it was a hit all around the table and took less than 20 minutes!

Sesame Noodle Bowl
1 box Whole Wheat Spaghetti
2 cups Broccoli
2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
Salt + Pepper
1 cup Soy Sauce
6 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
4 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 inch pieces Fresh Ginger, grated
2 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions. With 3 minutes left on cooking time, add raw broccoli to pasta and water to cook. Drain pasta and broccoli together and set aside. 

While pasta water is heating to a boil, season chicken strips with salt + pepper and cook in a large skillet with oil, until cooked through. (The thin chicken strips will cook quickly).

While pasta and chicken is cooking, mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, garlic and ginger in a large mixing bowl and set aside. 

Once everything is cooked through, add pasta, broccoli, chicken and cilantro to the sauce in large mixing bowl and toss everything together. Top with sesame seeds and serve. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Best Oil Recipes for Kids

Oils are a huge part of our everyday routine over here from diffusing them instead of candles to rolling them on our feet to help battle the icks and everything in between. They are a total game changer and we are so thankful we chose to dive into them whole heartedly these past couple years.
Every night during our bedtime routine each of my kids happily stick their their feet out to me so I can roll our oils on. We use them for immune support, sleep routine, sniffles, upset tummies, temperatures, and boo-boos. Our kids literally don’t know what medicine is because we rarely have it in the house. I’m constantly sharing our love for oils with family and friends and how they’ve changed how we treat our symptoms from day to day. If someone is ever hesitant about trying oils, I always ask them what do they have to lose? Nothing, but to possibly gain a different perspective.

Consistency is vital. I’ve been one to only use it here and there and didn't see much of an impact. However, once I started using them daily we saw a huge change in our children’s behavior and immune support. Below are our favorite recipes we always have mixed up to help support the health of our family and home!
Immune Support 
5 drops Thieves
Fractionated Coconut Oil

Add to a roller ball and roll on bottoms of feet morning and night. 
We do this daily, especially since Kensi has started school. We’re two weeks in and she hasn’t gotten sick yet. I love this recipes because Thieves has so many magical properties that help keep our immune systems strong! 

10 drops Lavender
6 drops Peace & Calming
6 drops Cedarwood

Spritz Bottle: Add oil drops to a 2oz spritz bottle and add a pinch of epsom salt and fill the rest with distilled water. Spritz on pillow, snugglies and sheets before bed.
Roller Ball: Add oil drops to a roller ball and fill rest with fractionated coconut oil. Roll on spine and big toe before bed.

Witching Hour Diffuser Blend
3 drops Stress Away
3 drops Lavender

Add to diffuser with distilled water. Perfect for the witching hour when the kids lose their minds and dinner needs to be prepped!

Happy Teeth
5 drops Orange
4 drops Copaiba

Add oils into a roller ball and fill with fractionated coconut oil. Roll on baby’s spine and massage onto jaw line with finger. 
Copaiba is also gentle enough to use without a carrier oil. Add a drop to teething toy or necklace for added relief. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Favorite Dips for Football Season

We have thoroughly enjoyed the last couple Saturdays of college football! We waited to put our Husker flag up while the hurricanes made their way around us, but we are so ready to show our love for our home state! There’s something cozy and nostalgic that happens in our house when we hear the sportscasters picking their team and game for the weekend, delicious food is baking up in the kitchen and cold brews are chillin’ in the fridge. Saturdays have become my favorite day with Mike and the kids and as the seasons change we are always thrilled to be able to settle into a fresh and familiar routine we missed over the year.

If you followed along with the blog last year I shared some football food favorites including chicken bacon wraps, Nebraska Runzas, and our favorite white queso dip. We love making up a mix of old favorites and trying new recipes each game season. One dish that never gets left out is some form of dip. We’re total snackers over here and our kids love being able to dip pretty much anything. Not only is it always tasty, but it’s just fun to eat! Below are some of our favorite go-to dips for lots of different occasions, but they all work for game day. The newest recipe we’re adding to our dip roster is Garlicky French Onion Dip. Everyone always has some form of this on their table and usually made with the dry onion soup mix, but I’m telling you this one kicks it right between the posts! With a recommendation from my mom I swapped out the mayonnaise for cottage cheese to lighten it up and pureed the sautéed onions for a smooth texture. If you love french onion dip then you must try this one!

Garlicky French Onion Dip
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Sweet Onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
4 cloves Roasted Garlic**
1-1/2 cups Cottage Cheese 4%, pureed in blender or food processor
3/4 cup Sour Cream 
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Ground White Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onions and 1/4 tsp of salt. Cook and stir until the onions are caramelized to a nice golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove onions from the heat, let cool. Once cooled, transfer onions to a blender or food processor and puree.  
Mix together the pureed cottage cheese, sour cream, garlic powder, white pepper, and remaining salt. Stir in the pureed onions. Cover and refrigerate the dip for at least 2 hours before serving with potato chips.

**I love roasted garlic and will either wrap an entire bulb in foil with olive oil and bake it in the oven  350 F for about 40 minutes, or I’ll add it 4 smashed garlic cloves to my caramelized onions about 15 minutes in to keep the garlic from burning.

Jalapeño Popper Dip
1 (8 oz pkg) Cream Cheese
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
3 Jalapeños, diced (Remove seeds and ribs)
1 Jalapeño, whole
1 (4oz can) Diced Green Chilies

Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise together. Add diced green chilies, jalapeño, parmesan cheese to mixture. Layer in a 9 inch baking dish. Add a whole jalapeño in the center for garnish. Bake 350 degrees F until bubbly. 

Hot Artichoke Dip
c/o our sweet friend Rochelle

2 (14oz) cans Artichokes, drained + chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 teaspoon Worchestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Transfer to a small lightly buttered baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 20 minutes. Serve warm with crackers. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fall Style

The last few days it’s been fall like and we’ve been loving every second of it! Being able to have the windows open and letting the crisp fall air blow through the house has been magical! I could hardly believe I needed to pack a sweatshirt and a light jacket for the kids this past week, but I was more than happy to do so! I’ve also been so excited picking up a few new pieces for our growing children this fall, full of polka dots, tutus, long sleeves and stripes.


I always love the mix of patterns for this season along with black and white. I’m really digging the burnt orange for Finn and adore the sweatshirt I found at H&M last week. We officially brought out all the fall a few weeks early with homemade pumpkin bars and hot cider over the weekend and we’re enjoying every bit of it!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Spooky Bat Wreath

I love decorating for fall and halloween, and I especially love to keep it simple and chic. Over the weekend we put together this spooky wreath, it’s so easy and the perfect piece to dress up any front door with just the right amount of spook to give your guests a little chill. Kensi loved helping me make this and couldn’t wait to decorate the rest of the house with our fall decor and maybe even a little halloween sprinkled throughout.

// Supplies //
Sunburst Grapevine Wreath
Plastic Sticker Bats (found here)
Alligator Clips
Hot Glue Gun

1. Choose 5 to 7 bats of various sizes to use for the wreath.
2. Hot glue an alligator clip to the back of each bat.
3. Clip the bats onto the branches of the wreath.
4. Hang the wreath on door or window of choice!

I typically like the traditional grapevine wreath, but I really like how the branches fan out for this one because it adds more space for the bats to attach and it adds a little more spook to the door. The best part...the whole project cost less than $15 when using a craft store coupon, BOOM! I hope you can create this same look for your front porch and be Halloween ready for all the Trick-or-Treaters next month!

Friday, September 8, 2017

First Day of School

This week was full of first days for our oldest with dance, soccer and most Our sweet Kensi girl turned five earlier this summer and although she was eligible to begin kindergarten this fall we opted to hold her back and send her to pre-kindergarten instead. Mike and I struggled with this decision throughout this last year, but this week assured us we made the right choice for our girl. She was so anxious the day before she started. Scared because it was new and she wasn’t sure if she would know anyone in her class. When her first day came, we all went to walk her to her classroom. She found her hook for her backpack and slowly walked over to her seat to begin coloring. Watching your baby step into the big world is not only hard, it’s terrifying. I found myself wondering if she would be brave, try new things, if she would be okay without us, what would happen if she got upset, would the other kids be kind, would she be kind? I hate it when we are blindsided by the enemy and he floods our minds with these terrible thoughts and questions. We know our child. We know she is caring, loving, intelligent and kind. We know she can be a leader. We know she has an incredible teacher. We know God heard our prayers and He has her. I watched Kensi take a deep breath in her seat and pick up a crayon to begin coloring her paper. She knew it was time to be brave and take on this adventure. And she did.

When we got home and Mike went to work, I sat in our living room with Finn and Olivia who went into complete destroy mode getting every toy out of the playroom. I sat there waiting for the time to pass to go pick up Kensi. This was one of our longest mornings to date. When the alarm on my phone went off to start packing the kids up, I quickly loaded the car and drove to her school where I waited in the pick up line for her. When she walked out of the school and to our car my heart skipped a beat and I couldn’t wait to hold her. The first thing out of her mouth was “It was SO much FUN!” She began telling me all about her day, the new friends she made, the books they read, the games they played and I was overcome with emotion and tears of joy. She was so happy and I knew we made the right choice for her schooling.

The funniest story came from her lunch experience. She discovered I had packed two Starburst candies for her and she excitedly ate one first. A student next to her told her she shouldn’t be eating her candy until she had eaten the rest of her healthy food. Kensi said she sat there and when the student got up to get something, she quickly unwrapped it and popped it in her mouth. “I was thinking, it’s my lunch and I can eat it how I want to eat. Right, mom? Plus! It’s was only two candies, not a whole lot!” Sure baby girl. She was less than pleased to be told by another classmate how she needed to eat. Oh sweet girl, you are so cute and funny in how you see world. We are so
excited to watch her grow and bloom this year in her awesome preK class!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Olivia’s First Birthday

Over the long weekend we celebrated our sweetest little star turning one. We kept her celebration simple with a small cake topped with fresh flowers and a sweet chalkboard design. This was her first taste of cake and since she is showing signs of a dairy allergy we opted for a small special order vegan cake for her. She was so excited to dig in, but she was cautious as she spent a few minutes poking her fingers in before she ate a bite. Once she enjoyed her first taste of sweet frosting it didn’t take her long before she was smashing it with excitement and flinging cake all over herself and the floor. Kensi was so eager to help Olivia celebrate and couldn’t wait to ‘help’ her open her gifts. Finn was more about getting his own cupcake and playing with Olivia’s new gifts and most excited about her new shape puzzle. 

Olivia’s First Birthday
22 lbs 4oz
2 Teeth, Breaking her Third
Favorite Foods : Blueberries, popsicles, beans + chicken
First Words: Mama, Dadda, Mermaid, Baby, Kazee (Kensi), Inn (Finn), Hi There, Bubba (bubble), Wawa (water)
Favorite Things: Dancing + Singing, Snacks, Baby Dolls, Playing Legos with Finn, Ocean + Sand, Going to the Park

Our sweet little surprise baby has brought us more joy than we could ever imagine and she has taught me so much in the last year. We had no idea how much our little family needed her big personality as she constantly reminds us what’s truly important in this life and to value family, fun and the simple things more than ever. Olivia, you adore baby dolls and love snuggling + taking care of them. You also love playing with your big sibs even though they still think you're out to destroy their creations. You’re always loving on each of us and eager to smother us with Eskimo kisses. Happy First Birthday to our sweet, silly, intelligent, beautiful littlest girl. We are so proud of you and excited to watch you continue to grow! All our love to you sweet darling.

// Sources //
Cake | Whole Foods
Flowers | Trader Joes
Cake Stand | Amazon
High Chair | Vintage
Star Pom Pom Garland | Hooray Everyday
Pink Tissue Garland | Amazon


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cozy Sounds

I always feel like summer has us rushing and everything seems so busy. I look forward to fall and falling back into our normal routine of dance classes, playdates, soccer and now pre-kindergarten and being able to spend more time outside. For us, fall is relaxing, enjoyable, calm and so very cozy. I can’t help but get excited at the end of every August to begin pulling out our fall decor and filling the air with sweet fall aromas and sounds.

The last week or so I’ve been listening to a few different autumn like playlists on AppleMusic and took all my current favorite songs and compiled them into a delightful playlist perfect for the next couple months and gives us all the cozy feels. I love listening to this throughout the day, but especially mid-morning with my second cup of coffee with a drop of thieves while I fold laundry. Oh the mom life!

Mike is kinda obsessed with Ed Sheeran’s albums and I can’t help but get lost in Christina Perri’s voice and lyrics. Her voice is so soothing and the best addition to our fall playlist. Together we have a special place in our hearts for Make You Feel My Love because it’s our wedding song, but I absolutely love Adele’s version and had to add it. And I can’t forget to mention Ben Rector, if you’re not familiar with him, do it now. I promise, this playlist will be on repeat!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Getting Cozy // Fall Diffuser Blends

To make our home even more cozy and the perfect accompaniment to the dreary days filled with rolling thunder and end of summer showers, I’ve been working on my favorite fall diffuser blends using my essential oils. I was always a die-hard candle lover, but since switching to essential oils I absolutely love mixing and matching the different oils to make the perfect scent combinations. They’re great for uplifting and creating whatever moods are wanted for the day. The kids get excited as well and Kensi loves helping come up with different oil combinations.

I hope you get the chance to try some of these blends yourself and if you’re interested in finding out more information regarding essential oils and how you can begin to use them in your home just email me or click on my essential oils tab at the top of the page.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New Floors

I promise we haven’t fallen off the face of the earth! We’ve just been laying the new floors and we still have a few finishing touches to do, but all the flooring has been laid and that part is done! Going into this project we thought it was our biggest project to date, but we forgot about when we installed our entire sprinkler system and repainting the cabinets were much more challenging. Bottom line I guess is that installing the floors wasn’t difficult, it was pretty dang easy.

Mike and I began prepping our floors a few days prior to laying the first planks down. Prepping the floors entailed taking up the carpet (section by section so we still had livable space for the kids) and removing the tack boards. We were most disgusted with how much dirt and sand we found between the carpet and the padding and underneath the padding. It was very obvious the contractors who built our home didn’t do a very good job cleaning the floors prior installing any of it. Along with the dirt, we found multiple nails, screws, rocks, washers and razor blades underneath the carpeting. We are so glad we removed all of it! 

The kids enjoyed helping us. Kensi and Finn took turns vacuuming and they loved helping us with the tools and picking out the next plank.

When we began this project we laid three rows of planks starting in our playroom which has the furthest left corner of the house. This starting point made the most sense because we were able to lay the planks through the kitchen, then into the dining room all while working our way down the playroom walls and into our entryway, which then leads to our living room that flows into the dining room. It sounds confusing, but it was the best way for the flow of the floors and it only left us with a small section in the dining room of working backwards. Mike and I had a little bit of pushing to do when it finally came time to meet our floors together in the middle. Everything lined up for the most part, but the slightest mis-measurement can make a big difference. We were able to snap everything together and it’s all cohesive, but there is a slight squeak near where we met. I think it makes it more authentic.

We ended up laying the floating floor over our vinyl flooring. The thickness was so minimal we didn’t think it was worth the extra time and energy to take it up. 

Now, we could have avoided having to flow our floors into each room, but we chose to install our flooring without any transitions. Mike was adamant about not having them as he wanted all the floors to flow into each other. Apparently, this is the harder way to do install, but I didn’t know that and the process of cutting each board to go around all our nooks, crannies and notches wasn’t bad at all. It just took patience and a little more time. Measuring twice and hopefully only cutting once, or maybe twice. 

The most difficult space for installation was the kitchen. This room took the most time and gave us the biggest headache because we had to move all the appliances out, measure the corners, cut all the planks, install the planks, add pads under each appliance and then move them all back into place. Trying to prep meals was a little difficult this day which left us ordering pizza instead 😉.

Trying to work while the kids were up was no joke, hard. One of us was constantly trying to keep them entertained when they grew bored of movies and playing on their own. 

We ended up laying the floating floor over our vinyl flooring. The thickness was so minimal we didn’t think it was worth the extra time and energy to take it up. 

A lot of our friends and family were surprised how quickly we finished the project. We did most of the work after the kids went to bed so we had limited interruptions and stayed up late, 8pm - 2:30am for two nights. After those few nights working into the wee hours of the morning we spent a couple hours working the next couple days. All in all, after totaling up our hours worked, it took us approximately 4 days and like I said at the beginning of this post we still have the finishing touches (base boards + quarter round) to install this weekend. 

For anyone considering installing new flooring we highly suggest making sure you have the right tools and go into the project with a lot of patience. One of our friends saw we had started and asked her neighbor who use to install flooring for a living if we could borrow his tools, he very graciously obliged. Mike and I were so excited to have all the fixings, but for the most part we used two tools (large tapping block + weighted mallet) that we thankfully didn’t have to purchase ourselves. We did end up purchasing a flooring kit that included a small tapping block and spacers for the wall. About half way through our install we came across a large scab in our concrete that our builder tried to fix, but half of it was over filled and the other half was too low. Our plank wasn’t laying flat so we bought an angle grinder to grind down the concrete. We did learn a quick lesson afterwards as our entire kitchen was filled with a concrete dust....spritz the concrete area down with water before grinding; it helps eliminate the absurds amounts of dust! 

We chose not use transitions between each doorway or room opening, but instead notched each board around the framing and door jambs and slid them underneath. This gives the whole house a cleaner and more cohesive design.

Once we finished all the flooring the kids went crazy with excitement, mainly because we could put all the furniture back where it belonged. We’ve spent the last few days teaching them how to skate across the floors with socks, race cars down the hall and their most exciting discovery so far is that their puzzles lay flat on the floor! Oh those little things that we didn’t even think about. However, with all the excitement and fun with the toys, the kids have slipped constantly. When we chose our floor we specifcally went with something that had more texture for this reason. The furniture keeps slipping and as we hoped to wait a little while before purchasing rugs, it needs to happen now. I’m also realizing Olivia can’t walk in her footed pajamas and I’m cutting all the feet off and adding ribbing in it’s place. Oh, and Stella thinks we’re torturing her as she skids across the floor every time she comes downstairs. So there’s been a little adjustment going on with all of us, but overall we would take this project on again in a heartbeat. It feels like we live in a completely different house! We absolutely love the transformation and feel like the house is becoming more and more of a reflection of us!

Ryobi Angle Grinder (used to grind down the concrete)
Table Saw
Ryobi Multi Tool (used to cut under trim and door jambs)
Miter Saw
Jig Saw
Weighted Mallet


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Choosing Floors

We’re deep into the process of flooring and have been for several weeks. Choosing a floor is much more difficult than we had ever anticipated. There are so many choices, it can be overwhelming. I’m breaking down our process and sharing what questions we asked and what we learned through our experience. Bear with me, this may be long-winded.

Types of Flooring
Since our home is built on a concrete slab we’ll share the flooring options we researched and considered for our home. There are more options out there such as hardwood and tile, but for the sake of our budget and type of home we have, we chose to stay within the following products.

Engineered Wood: Instead of being made with solid planks of wood, engineered wood is made of three layers of wood (plywood and wood) while the top layer is a hardwood veneer. Engineered wood is very stable and can withstand high heat and moisture. It can scratch and dent, however because it is made of real wood, this product can be refinished, but the number of times it can be refinished is limited. This is also a great choice if wanting to sell your home since it can add value and may help a home sell quicker. There are a few things to consider, engineered wood is not the most environmentally friendly and has toxins in the stains and topcoats. Since it is also engineered, it does contain adhesives in the product. Lastly, if a portion of the flooring becomes damaged it can be difficult to repair.  $-$$$

Laminate: This  product is made of five layers of different materials such as plywood or MDF core. However the top layer is merely a print to resemble the look of a natural surface such as wood, but the texture can vary. Laminate has a bottom water proof layer making it a great choice for almost any home or room. It is resistant to mold + bacteria and is also very durable to scratches, scuffs and even light. Since this is a man-made material it can be created using compounds that derive from formaldehyde, which can cause health concerns especially when using a low quality material. It’s suggested to use a premium laminate and to look for products that have a minimum 20 year base warranty. $-$$$

Luxury Vinyl: This product is becoming more and more popular and people are choosing this product over wood and laminate because it’s water, stain, scuff and scratch resistant. Perfect for basements,  bathrooms or homes that can easily flood. This product has no wood elements whatsoever, but made from PVC. Although this product is extremely durable, there are characteristics to consider. Such as the VOC emissions. Several companies have reduced the amount of PVC used to make the vinyl planks, however low end products can contain high amounts and it is something to consider since long term exposure may cause health concerns over a long period of time. This product also may have a marginal effect on resale value for a home.  $-$$

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Back to School Style

This is our first year going to school and we’re very excited about it! Yes, the whole experience is bittersweet especially for a parent, but it’s pretty awesome to watch our baby grow and get to experience new things. Kensi is so excited to make new friends and learn new concepts and her excitement makes us excited. We decided to hold her back a year, so she’s going to PreK which we think is the best fit for all of us, but we still have quite a bit of summer left before her first day.

We recently looked up her classroom supply list and we hit up Target shortly after all the school supplies were stocked to get the best picks. Kensi picked out her favorite backpack and asked for a fun princess lunch box with all the fixings just so she was totally ready for school. She’s been trying her stuff on for the last week or so and then very carefully puts it all away back in the coat closet where is hangs neatly on her hook. I’ve also been picking up some back to school clothing for her and I have to admit the styles are so adorable this year and I cannot wait to see her rocking her favorite pieces.

Kensi is all about rainbows this year so it was natural for her to fall in love with this backpack. It’s the perfect size for her and the clouds are super soft! We also love shopping at small online shops and we’ve picked out a few pieces from three different favorite go to shops. This is the first time we’re trying Ryan & Wren’s clips and I think they’re going to be perfect for both Kensi and Olivia this fall. I also love shopping at Remi Girl and Alice & Ames for the sweetest and most soft dresses. Kensi absolutely adores these dresses and can’t get enough! Lastly, Hen&Co recently released this adorable Make a Wish sweatshirt. I think it’s the perfect addition for every child going back to school. I love creating a fun and whimsical wardrobe for Kensi and I think she’s going to have an absolute blast at school this year!

Friday, July 21, 2017

DIY Anthro Inspired Ornaments

I know it’s not anywhere close to Christmas yet, I also know many people really don’t want to think about it, but we spend one day celebrating Christmas in July every year so it’s been on our minds. We had quite a bit of paint leftover from Kensi’s birthday party and although her and Finn have painted several times since, and while in the craft store last week we spotted the clear plastic bulbs already on display and thought it would be fun to make our own Christmas bulbs for our tree this year. I struggle trying to find the perfect color combination of ornaments. I love having bright and whimsical touches on our tree, but finding the right colors seem either expensive or non-existent. Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love the colored Anthropologie latte bowls. I adore everything about these bowls and used them as inspiration to make the perfect whimsical colored ornaments for our tree.

Clear Plastic Round Bulbs (Hobby Lobby)
Acrylic Paint (colors of your choice)
Painters Tape
Plastic Cups

The paints I had on hand were all purchased earlier this year from Target. I love the color choices offered as they all go well together. The kids and I (and Mike!) made our ornaments one afternoon before dinner. We removed the metal tops from each bulb, poured half the container of paint inside and taped the top opening shut. Then came the fun part! Shaking it up! Shake the ornaments until the paint covers the inside.

The kids LOVED shaking the bulbs and watching the paint roll and cover the entire inside of each bulb. When the paint was a little thicker I added just a few drops of water to thin it out. Also, when in doubt and it seemed some of us couldn’t get the paint to cover a spot or two, we handed it to Mike. His manly muscles did just the trick!

Once the inside is coated, remove the tape and place the bulb upside down in the plastic cup. Let it sit over night as it will allow any excess paint to run out. The next day, flip the bulbs over, keeping them in the cups to finish drying. We let ours dry for a few days. Once dry, replace the metal tops and string with a hook or a pretty satin ribbon.

No more hunting all season for the perfect set of colored bulbs or breaking the bank! It’s a fun project for the kids, even if it’s still summer. This project can also be done closer to Christmas season. It’s a great way to keep the kids busy while wrapping the presents hiding in the closet!

Merry Making!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pantry Inspiration

We’re in the middle of a waiting game to start new projects at home. Over the weekend we went shopping for wood floors as we’re finally going to rip all the carpet out! We can hardly wait, although trying to pick a flooring is so DIFFICULT and taking longer than we ever expected! There are so many choices it makes me overwhelmed, but the process is fun and we are so excited to begin this BIG project. But as we wait to start that process, we’ve decided to overhaul our panty. We haven’t done anything to it since we moved in 3.5 years ago and it’s to the point where it’s always a mess, holds everything that doesn’t have a ‘home’ and a true annoyance. As I write, Finn just came out of the pantry wearing a piece from my canning kit because it was on floor after trying to rearrange the food for what seems like the millionth time.

We currently have the wire shelves that with too much weight in the middle begins to bow. Which ultimately means nothing heavy can be in the center. I also dislike the wire shelves for the simple fact that nothing sits flat. Everything wobbles or slides which can be dangerous when my little ones are trying to get snacks for themselves. We have already been to the doctor’s office once when Finn dropped a can on his toe last year. His nail in finally back to normal. SMH.

So as we measured the space and now plan exactly what we want to do build in order to make it as functional as possible for our family, I’m sharing a few of my favorite pantry inspiration pictures. I’m really hoping to install pull out drawers and have multitudes of shelf space for all my bakeware.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Take a Break

We spent most of our weekend outside enjoying as much family time as possible especially since we dragged the kids around trying to get as many errands done as possible on Friday. If you caught my stories on Instagram, Saturday was spent celebrating our dear friend’s 30th birthday. She is such a fun loving person! Only she would ring in her 30th by renting a giant inflatable water slide for all the kids and adults to enjoy! It’s definitely the most fun way to celebrate a birthday! #slidinginto30

Once we got home and put the kids to bed, it wasn’t long before they were all up from all the commotion of a thunderstorm. All snuggled on the couch, reading Kensi’s new favorite chapter books aloud eventually put everyone back to sleep and Mike and I were able to get a little shut eye before our alarms went off at 5:30am to start our new morning tradition of  an early coffee date together. While sipping our hot coffee on our couch we opted to spend our Sunday morning getting out of routine and head to the beach. Lately, we’ve (mostly me) have been feeling overwhelmed and after reading Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, we decided to strip away a lot of our extra curricular commitments for the next couple months and heading to the beach was exactly what our little family needed.

We drove down to Oak Island for the first time. Usually when we go to the south beaches we make our way to Caswell Beach, just east of Oak Island beach, but we love trying new places and we found such a fun little area. Parking was a breeze since we left the house early and it was just feet away from the sandy beach and crashing waves. The kids were so excited to break away from our traditional Sunday morning routine and enjoy the natural beauty around us. The water was so refreshing and warm. The kids were more engaged in the water than ever before. Jumping over the waves, rolling in the sand and letting the water rush over them with each crashing wave. Kensi was in pure imagination heaven, playing mermaid and looking for shells. Finn was all about getting as many buckets of water as he could to fill his moats and destroy his sandcastles. Olivia was enthralled with splashing in the water, feeling the water run over her legs and eating as much sand as her two little fists could possibly shovel into her mouth! 

As always we brought way too much sand home and even after vacuuming twice I’m still feeling the little sand granules all over the bathroom floor and throughout the kitchen and laundry room. We realize how easy it is to get caught up in everyday life, commitments and overwhelming chaos; and how important it is to re-prioritize, refocus on what really matters and that it’s okay to take a break, breathe and most 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Favorites: Pool Side

Happy Friday! Somehow our long summer days are blurring into weeks quickly passing by. The last few weeks we’ve been managing long days, teething babies, naps in the car, lots of popsicles and early risers. Summer is hard here. Sometimes it’s so blazing hot outside we spend the day inside, hiding out because not even the pool feels refreshing. But when we brave it out and spend our mornings and evenings poolside or running through the sprinkler, we remember just how good summer really is. This week’s favorites include all our summer must haves for this year and we hope you get the chance to try them and make them yours.

Intex Inflatable Pool | We purchased this from Target and it’s such a great small pool for our backyard. It’s the perfect size for the kids to play, jump and splash in. Not to mention it has cupholders and totally enough room for Mike and I sit inside with them! It definitely beats packing all three kids up in the car, drive to the pool and drag them back home.

Ryobi High Volume Inflator | Mike has had his eye on this tool for some time, but when we bought the inflatable pool we then went to pick the air pump up. I think this is my new favorite tool in the garage because it makes blowing the pool up each time a total breeze! It also has a small head attachment for those small air holes that are found on swim floats. Check it our HERE.

Cold Brew Floats | We never pass up a chance for ice cream, malts or floats. Mike and I are coffee addicts and we almost always have a coffee in hand when we’re out and about. For a fun summer twist we pour our favorite cold brew (currently STOK Black UnSweet) over vanilla bean ice cream. The ice cream becomes the cream and it’s the most delicious float. Add a splash of Kahlua for an adult drink.  It’s quickly becoming my favorite summer afternoon drink and dessert.

Cilantro Avocado Dressing | One of our favorite things about summer has always been grilling. However here in coastal Carolina it’s sometime too hot to enjoy grilling. But on the days/nights we do grilled salad is one of our favorite dishes to make. Grilling romaine lettuce may make you raise your eyebrows, but we’ve been doing it for years and it’s so tasty! The flavor is completely different and added with a mix of grilled and raw veggies it makes for a hearty and filling salad. I came across Pinch of Yums version and after reading the recipe for her Cilantro Avocado dressing I just had to try it. I made a double batch and have been using it for so many different dishes. On top of a salad, shrimp, chicken or even as a dip for pita bread. It’s versatile, fresh and super healthy!

Inflatable Swan | This is such a trendy float, but I really do love it. I initially bought it because I thought it was cute, but it’s actually become our go to float for Olivia. I love using this one rather than the mesh one we use to have because the swan doesn’t allow her to put her face in the water. The only thing I miss is having a little canopy over the top, but we’re just sporting all the cute baby hats instead. Find it HERE.

Wishing everyone a fun filled summer lovin' weekend!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Kitchen Design: Open Shelves

Our little house projects have taken a back burner the last month since we were traveling and building a couple tables for friends, but somehow when we have an event planned, like a birthday party little projects tend to get done in the wee hours of the morning. This is exactly how we finally started and finished our open shelf project in our kitchen.

Over the last few years we’ve debated what we should do with the empty wall space above our peninsula. We always feel there is a lack of storage in our house and although it's a good space for our chalkboard, we continued to go back to the idea of adding open shelves. We really don’t know why we didn’t do this project sooner because not only did we gain extra storage, but the project itself was inexpensive and easy once we figured out a few small hiccups.

We originally began looking at brackets on Etsy with a budget of $200 for the entire project. We wanted the brackets to be hidden and we didn’t want to build the shelves from scratch by creating a box and sliding it onto 1X1 boards. The initial brackets we found were very pricey at $80 a piece and we knew we would only be able to afford to do two shelves. Nearly ready to dive into this big purchase we decided I would dig a little bit deeper and try to find other brackets that may work. My digging paid off and I found Dolle STRONGFIX Floating Shelf Brackets from Blue Stone Shelves. These brackets are sold in pairs and together can hold 88lbs. The best part is a set of the brackets cost a whopping $6.99. At this price point we were able to put in three shelves and ordered two sets of brackets per shelf.

Once the brackets were ordered, we purchased three 2X10 pine boards, cut them to length (we now have scraps for shorter shelves in another space for later!), sanded and stained them. I mixed Minwax Weathered Oak with a small amount of Minwax Jacobean and applied one layer of stain. Mike anchored each bracket into the studs on the wall making sure they were all in line using a laser level. Then, using a drill press, he made each hole into the 2X10 board for each bracket. Lastly, Mike slid each board onto the anchored brackets and used a rubber mallet to pound everything into place.

We are so excited to finally be able to display our favorite glassware and kitchen accessories on the open shelves. It’s created more space and it’s opened up more space in our cabinets. We absolutely love the added shelves and it’s one more detail that has helped transform our kitchen space! On top of it all the cost of the project was awesome....

2x10 Pine Boards..........$24
Dolle Shelf Brackets.........$42
Minwax Stain.....$8

Project Total: $74

The whole project cost less than one set of the original brackets we were planning to purchase. Now, this is when waiting and digging does a project and diy-ers well!

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