Friday, July 31, 2015

Meet & Mingle || Inspired Family of 5

                    

It's Meet & Mingle day! Every week I'm sharing some of my favorite girlfriends and their blogs.  This is a great opportunity to see who's "behind the blog" and to get to know other bloggers.  This week, I'm so happy to share Jen from Inspired Family of 5 with you!  I just love her blog and I can't wait for you to read what she'll be up to in the next few years - amazing! Hope you enjoy all of her answers to some fun behind-the-blog questions! 

1.  Your blog name & it’s significance
INSPIRED FAMILY OF 5 - Family of 5 is self explanatory, but the "Inspired" came from our homeschool name.  We are homeschoolers and in the state of CA people are required to file a private school affidavit and give a name for their school.  We picked Inspired Academy.  We felt most of the big decisions in our life have been inspired by our faith in God. So there you go.

2.  Tell us a little about your family
I'm 33 years old but I still feel 23.  I have a degree in Criminal Justice and I was a preschool teacher for 8 years. My husband Daniel is 4 years younger than me. (Yes, I'm the cougar!) He is an environmental engineer - he teases everyone he meets - and he is the youngest of SIX kids.  We have two daughters Marley and Dylan.  And we have one son named Desmond.  We are an LDS family and we grew up in Southern California.  Our favorite things to do are hang out at the beach and go to Disneyland.  We are currently planning to buy a trailer and travel the U.S. full time together for 2-3 years.  We are very excited to begin this crazy adventure soon!


3.  Currently in my shower [favorite beauty products]...
Biolage Shampoo - It smells so good.
Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath - My kids love this stuff.
Up & Up Apricot Facial Scrub from Target - Best facial scrub ever!


4.  I never leave the house without...
A bottle of water, my cell phone, and diapers.


5.  First thing you do when you have 5 minutes to yourself
Turn on some jams and dance!  I'm a performer, so I love to sing and dance.  It is my hidden passion.  In the past I've danced with musical theatre groups, a hip hop crew that toured San Diego, and I can even be spotted dancing in a music video for the Canadian band Hollerado.  Dancing is in my heart and I dance every chance I get.


6.  Favorite cupcake
I'm not a big fan of cupcakes.  I am more of a french fries person.  But I love red velvet bundt cakes. Those are bomb!

7.  Top three baby items you’d recommend to new moms
1) ErgoBaby Carrier - I've owned 6 different carriers and this one is the best, no contest!
2) Muslin Swaddling Blankets - The essential blanket for babies and so cozy.
3) The O-Ball - Kids of all ages play with this one. 

8.  Currently obsessed with…
The Blacklist! It's currently my favorite show.  I am a huge James Spader fan and I adore the character Raymond Reddington.  Legit entertainment! 

9.  Top three meals you make for your family
This ought to be good.  I am NOT good at cooking.  It's something I need to work on.
1) Red Baron Frozen Pizza
2) Spaghetti & Cheese Toast (But I will say this: My cheese toast is amazing.)
3) Chicken Tacos

10.  Favorite blog & why 
SoCal Field Trips - We get all of our family friendly event updates from that blog.  We've been able to have so much fun because of those blog notifications!




Thank you so much for sharing a slice of your life with us, Jen! I just love learning about who's behind the blog...so fun, right?! Be sure to pop over to her blog and visit her social media links and follow along! 
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If you'd like to be featured for a Meet & Mingle, please contact me at thebirdsnestblogger@gmail.com.  Feel free to grab a button while you're here. ;) XO

Monday, July 27, 2015

Meet & Mingle || The Mangia Mom


It's Meet & Mingle day! Every week I'm sharing some of my favorite girlfriends and their blogs.  This is a great opportunity to see who's "behind the blog" and to get to know other bloggers.  This week, I'm so happy to share Nata from The Mangia Mom with you!  I just love her blog and she has some great recipes and the cutest kids! Being from an Italian family myself, her recipes are right up my alley!  Can't wait for you to get to know her more, too! 




Your blog name & it’s significance
 I was looking for a name to best describe me and my blog in one. First and foremost in life, I am a mom. I am a mom that loves everything about food...especially the part when you get to eat! My parents are Italian immigrants, and "Mangia" means "eat" in Italian. So "The Mangia Mom" seemed most appropriate!



Tell us a little about your family

I am married to my husband of 7 years, Angelo. His parents are also Italian immigrants, and no, our marriage was not arranged! We met through a mutual friend 11 years ago.


We have two beautiful children. Mia, 5, is our feisty, incredibly smart, and strong-willed girl!


Matteo, 3, is our super loveable, sensitive, and musical little boy!


They made me a mama.


It's nearly impossible for us to get a good family picture. 3 out of 4 of us are looking, so it's a good one...



Currently in my shower [favorite beauty products]...

I love my Biolage shampoo and conditioner. My hair is color treated and gets super dry and hard to comb through after washing. This stuff is a great moisturizer and helps detangle my hair!

I never leave the house without...

My water bottle! I make sure to drink a lot of water throughout the day and my water bottle comes with me everywhere! It was my first featured item in "Mangia Mom's Must-have Monday" (mmmMonday) and something I always have by my side! 

First thing you do when you have 5 minutes to yourself

Breathe! Lay down, put my feet up, check social media, and jot down blog ideas!

Favorite cupcake

I have to admit, I'm not much of a sweet tooth! However, I do love a moist chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting! When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was obsessed with Starbucks' red velvet cupcakes! 

Top three baby items you’d recommend to new moms 

Sleep sacks, baby swing, lullaby CDs.

Currently obsessed with…

Kale! I have been obsessed for a couple of years now, and I am pretty sure this obsession is long-term! It was another "mmmMonday" item and I blogged different kale recipes ideas throughout that week. It's definitely an obsession!

Top three meals you make for your family

1.  Chicken Parm and Pasta made with my homemade pasta sauce



2. Mexican Chicken with Brown Rice



3. Macaroni & Cheese with Peas



Favorite blog & why 

Mix and Match Mama. I love how she "mixes and matches" her recipes to make different, revamped meals! She has tons of slow cooker ideas, too, which are always great for us busy moms!

Social Media Links:



Thank you so much for sharing a slice of your life with us, Nata! I just love learning about who's behind the blog...so fun, right?! Be sure to pop over to her blog and visit her social media links and follow along! 
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If you'd like to be featured for a Meet & Mingle, please contact me at thebirdsnestblogger@gmail.com.  Feel free to grab a button while you're here. ;)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Favorites || Making Food Fun for Kids

Happy Friday! Today I'm sharing a great way to make food fun for kids - with Fun Bites! Lately, Olivia has been less than interested in eating and much more interested in playing, showing her true two year old self ;)


{Photo via: Fun Bites}

Fun Bites is an award winning food cutter (Hello Shark Tank!!!) that creates bite-sized fun shapes for kids to enjoy.  This super sturdy and durable cutter has turned ordinary peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into square PBJs and french toast into flower stems ;) 



There are three shapes to choose from: hearts, squares, and triangles, in all different colors which is great also for teaching kids about colors & shapes. Fun Bites are made in the USA and BPA-free, which is huge for me as a parent.  It's very simple to use and it is also dishwasher safe, another huge plus. We received the green square cutter and I went to work, creating fun meals for Olivia to enjoy! 







She has been much more interested in eating her meals and loves to help me cut them!  We will definitely be keeping this is our toddler tricks handbook ;) Thank you so much to Fun Bites for giving us this great product! Be sure to check it out on their website and follow along on Instagram (@funbites) and on Facebook.  Have a great day! XO 



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Meet & Mingle || Brea Getting Fit


It's Meet & Mingle day! Every week I'm sharing some of my favorite girlfriends and their blogs.  This is a great opportunity to see who's "behind the blog" and to get to know other bloggers.  This week, I'm so happy to share Brea from Brea Getting Fit  with you!  I just love her blog and she has some healthy recipes and shares about natural living.  Can't wait for you to get to know her more, too! 

Your blog name & it’s significance
My blog is called "Brea Getting Fit" because at the time that I started it, I was on a weight loss journey and had lost about 50 pounds. Unfortunately, after 2 kids and a very rough year, I'm back to needing to lose the weight again. The good thing about having done it before is knowing that it's possible! 

As I've grown, I've realized that fitness isn't just about exercise and what you eat (though that's super important!), but more about how you live your life, so I've shifted my focus slightly to reflect that and share some of my recipes, natural living, and other things that bring me joy. You can read more about me here: www.breagettingfit.com



Tell us a little about your family

I'm married to my best friend from high school...no, really. We've been friends since we were 15, though we didn't start dating until we were 25. I think we may have had the world's shortest courtship-we started dating and moved in together a month later. We were married that summer. In fact, we'll celebrate our 8th anniversary this August (don't do the math!). 

We have two wonderful boys, who I loving refer to as "Smalls" (a.k.a. "You're Killing Me, SMALLS!") and "The Baby." Last year, Smalls was diagnosed with a rare disease called Severe Aplastic Anemia. It was incredibly scary, and while he's more stable, he'll never be "well". We also added The Baby last summer during the craziness. We spent over 6 weeks in the hospital between the two of them. This summer has proven to be far less eventful, thankfully. 



Currently in my shower [favorite beauty products]...

Hmmmm...In my shower? I've got my Dr. Bronner's All-In-One Magic Soap, my homemade EO face wash (I'll be sharing my recipe this month because I'm pretty sure I finally got it right!), my Schick razor (I've been using them since I was a teen!) and Natural Instincts 0% Cleansing Conditioner. I'm pretty low-maintenance, I think.

I never leave the house without...

Putting on mascara. And my Ju Ju Be Hobobe. It's my LIFE in a bag. Diaper bag, purse, and sanity all in one. Plus, it's got anchors. I've got a thing for nautical prints. 

First thing you do when you have 5 minutes to yourself

Meditate. It sounds silly, but it really helps me to get centered and calm down either before bed or after a crazy day. I actually have a little meditation/prayer space set up in my bedroom with a nice fuzzy rug, a meditation bench, and some beautiful pieces of art. 

Favorite cupcake

All of them...or it used to be. I just finished my first Whole30 on June 30th, and I tried a brownie (gluten free, of course) afterward and HOLY COW was it sweet! I couldn't finish it. So I'm honestly not sure if I still have a favorite! Which is shocking to most because I have (had?) a notorious sweet tooth. 

Top three baby items you’d recommend to new moms 

1. Itzbeen timer. Seriously. It seems frivolous  but when you're tired and you're not sure which side you fed baby on last, or you can't remember how long they've been sleeping, you'll thank me. 

2. A maid. Yes, kind of extravagant, and not really a "baby" item, but as someone who recovered from 2 c-sections, it was awesome to have a maid come in and clean my house once a week. I had some friends and family pitch in to pay for 6 weeks of maid service, and it was amazing. If you can swing it, do it. 

3. The Miracle Blanket Baby Swaddle. This thing ROCKS. I totally suck at swaddling. Which is beyond frustrating when you're exhausted and your baby has busted the swaddle for the 8th time in 2 hours. Get a miracle blanket. It's one size, easy to figure out, and it WORKS. It was the ONLY swaddle that neither of my boys could get out of (and the only way I got any sleep in the first 6 months!). 



Currently obsessed with…

Outlander. Oh.My.Word. I read the first book, and just got hooked on the series because Comcast screwed up and offered to give me a free paid service for 3 months. So I've been binge watching and decided that I was born in the wrong century. THOSE CLOTHES!


Top three meals you make for your family

1. Spaghetti Squash and meatballs with pesto (the pesto recipe is on my blog and it's awesome). 

2. Eggs in Purgatory...which is basically a meat sauce topped with an egg and cooked in the oven. Sounds weird but don't knock it until you've tried it. Everyone gets excited when they see this on the menu. 

3. Breakfast for dinner. We eat a lot of eggs, and I love finding new ways to use them. I try to make a nice egg dish once a week. Lately, that's meant a savory frittata. YUM



Favorite blog & why 

Currently? I'm loving Ask Lauren Fleshman (http://asklaurenfleshman.com). I miss running, and I love her trainings and her writing style. She's very motivational. I do read a LOT of blogs on a daily basis, though. 

Social Media Links:



Thank you so much for sharing a slice of your life with us, Brea! I just love learning about who's behind the blog...so fun, right?! Be sure to pop over to her blog and visit her social media links and become a follower! 
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If you'd like to be featured for a Meet & Mingle, please contact me at thebirdsnestblogger@gmail.com.  Feel free to grab a button while you're here. ;)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book List || Our Favorite Bedtime Stories


Today I'm sharing some of our favorite bedtime-related books.  Olivia LOVES books and we have tons of them!  I try to organize them by season and switch out everyday books every week or so to keep her interest.  I'm starting a new series to share some of our favorite books with you.  Each night we snuggle in the rocking chair after her bath and she has warm milk and we read books.  Normally, I let her choose two or three...and sometimes it turns into five or six. I'm totally guilty of skipping some pages towards the end on longer nights ;) 


Here are some of our favorite bedtime-related books and some that are on our wishlist:

















All of the above books are linked to Amazon, which I love using because it's so quick with a Prime membership.  I also love checking our local library for books sales and smaller book stores. Follow along with my series, using #TheBirdsNestBooks on Instagram (@thebirdsnestblog).  Do you have a favorite bedtime-related story?  I'd love to hear! XO 




Monday, July 20, 2015

Meet & Mingle || The Hungry Homemaker

It's Meet & Mingle day! Every week I'm sharing some of my favorite girlfriends and their blogs.  This is a great opportunity to see who's "behind the blog" and to get to know other bloggers.  This week, I'm so happy to share Frances from The Hungry Homemaker with you!  I just love her blog and she has some of the yummiest recipes and fun DIYs.  Can't wait for you to get to know her more, too! 


Your blog name & it’s significance
My Blogs name Is The Hungry Homemaker Blog. It reflects my life as a stay at home mom that loves food! ha ha!  (But seriously I LOVE food!)

Tell us a little about your family

I'm a stay at home mommy to the two little loves of my life. Frankie who will be 4 in just a few weeks and Emilia who is 8 months old. I've been married to my husband for 7 years but I still remember our wedding day like it was yesterday! 


Currently in my shower [favorite beauty products]...

Currently in my shower, I have OURS brand body wash and moisturizer, and L'Oreal professional shampoo and conditioner. ( as a hairstylist I can't bring myself to use anything else!)

I never leave the house without...

I never leave the house without: My kids it seems most days!  Ha ha! For sure my phone!

First thing you do when you have 5 minutes to yourself

When I have 5 minutes to myself, the first thing I do is start the coffee machine and check my emails! 5 minutes flys by quickly and I'm gonna need that coffee ready to go for the rest of the day!

Favorite cupcake

Favourite cupcake would be chocolate! I love everything and anything chocolate, I can't resist! 

Top three baby items you’d recommend to new moms 

My top three baby items I would recommend to a new mom would be: a sling, a swing and a sound machine


Currently obsessed with…

I'm currently obsessed with baby hair accessories. Now that we have a baby girl I can't stop buying bows and headbands! My husband isn't so jazzed about that one ha! 

Top three meals you make for your family

The top 3 meals I make for my family are: pasta carbonara, stir fry and homemade pizza. Which are all recipes I feature on the blog! 

Favorite blog & why 

 I have so many favourite blogs. Really to many to list. I love blogs that show people's real lives, not just perfect pictures. I feel like I can relate more to those people since my life is far from picture perfect most of the time! I love to read new recipes, fashion and make up tips, and DIYs. 


Social Media Links:




Thank you so much for sharing a slice of your life with us, Frances! Be sure to pop over to her blog and visit her social media links and become a follower! 
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If you'd like to be featured for a Meet & Mingle, please contact me at thebirdsnestblogger@gmail.com.  Feel free to grab a button while you're here. ;)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Is there a full moon coming?! Boy, has it been an interesting week in toddler town ;)  Being two is really hard so I think some ice cream dates and park time is in order for the weekend.  Painting this afternoon seems to have saved the day :) 

{@thebirdsnestblog}

On to some Friday Favorites...

1.  Have you been to Ulta lately?! They're having a great sale on liters of shampoos and conditioners and most of them are marked down to under $15! I'm obsessed with my Goldwell Dual Senses Fade Stop Shampoo + Conditioner and with my coupon they were just $12.  I can't.  I'll be going back to stock up before the sale is over.  If you've never tried Goldwell products, you need to run there or order online.  The Fade stop extra rich shampoo has raspberry seed extract and it smells so amazing.  The normal price for this is around $42 so this is a huge savings and I can totally justify stocking up ;) Trust me, you need this in your life.  


{via Google images}

2.  If you follow me on Instagram (@thebirdsnestblog), you've seen a few pictures of the fun watercolor blanket I made for my niece.  I'm so happy with how it turned out and I can't wait to make another one for Olivia. Spoonflower is such a fun company! For more pictures and a tutorial, see this post.  




3.  I'm probably the last person to start following Gimme Some Oven, but I'm obsessed with her recipes! So many great ones...especially this one for homemade naan and this one for pineapple guacamole - yummmm! I love trying new things and I can't wait to try these. 

4.  Lastly, I really want to try Squirtable Sidewalk Chalk with Olivia.  I think she'll have a blast and it seems really easy to make with simple ingredients.  She loves to be outside and is really interested in new things, so this will definitely be put into my summer bag of tricks shortly. 

I hope you all had a great week!  Happy weekend! XO