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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Naptime Game Changers

Good morning!  I decided to try Julep products and got my first box free using the code freeboxhere.  My first box came with three nail polishes, an eyeliner pencil, and a nail and cuticle treatment.  Pretty awesome for just $3 shipping, right?!  I ordered a few more products separately after reading some reviews on other blogs.  

The Ramona nail polish, Freedom polymer topcoat, the oxygen smoothing base coat, and the Ta Da quick dry drops.   Also pictured is "Gelous," which is a gel nail coat which creates a gel-like finish on your nails.  I purchased that at Sally's Beauty Supply.  I applied the oxygen base coat first, then one coat of Gelous, one coat of nail polish, one coat of Gelous, one coat of nail polish, then the Polymer topcoat. It's a lot of layers, but gives you a great gel-like manicure for a fraction of the price and lasts just as long!  For extra gel-like protection, I put my nails under a 60 watt lightbulb for two minutes to really seal the top coat.  Also, make sure you let each layer dry for 2-3 minutes in between coats. Ignore the wrinkled cuticle area...seriously where is the cuticle area wrinkle cream?!

Now for the naptime game changer... the Julep Ta Da drops is my new favorite product. Seriously, who has time to paint their nails in the 17 minutes of baby less freedom?!  Ok, my child is an awesome napper but still ain't nobody got time for that.  Normally, after strategically planning when the best time to paint my nails is, they're smudged or chipped by the time I close the nail polish and grab the baby out of her crib.  These drops are amazing...let your nails dry for one (!!) minute and apply one or two drops directly to your nails and you're done.  Set for the day with smudge free, gel-like nails...simply amazing.  It's the little things in life, right?  

I'd definitely recommend these products again...let me know if you try them and your experience!  On to begin the day with the munchkin! Enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Colorful First Birthday

My niece, Brynn, turned one in the beginning of July and my sister did a fantastic job hosting a super cute party. The party was rainbow themed and I'm all about a themed occasion!  She did a really great job displaying the food, cake, candy bar and decorations.  One of my favorite decorations was this diy tissue paper garland:

The food also followed the rainbow theme...dying over this purple cauliflower! 

For the main dishes, they had pulled pork, potato salad, baked beans, and mac and cheese...yummy! The candy display turned out so cute for the little (and big) kids to enjoy! She also had an amazing cake created by the same baker we used for Olivia's bunny birthday party.  

This pretty much sums up how Brynn feels about turning one! #YoureKiddingMe!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Life Lately & Ikea DIY

Life around here lately has been so much fun!  Olivia is constantly learning new things everyday and is now obsessed with her belly button.  She loves to show hers and mommy's hiding embarrasment everywhere she goes! The kid loves belly's hilarious.  She also has been obsessed with stuffed animals, especially her new dog CoCo from Ikea.  Thank you to my hubby for that $5 find!

She was having tea with CoCo at her new Ikea Latt table that her grandparents gave her for her first birthday.  I wanted to add some personal touches to the table and customize it just for her.
I stained the table and chairs using Minwax in Dark Walnut 2716.  I also added fabric to the seats and love how it came out!

I also made one for my niece's first birthday and love how that came out as well.  For hers, I spray painted the table and chairs in a raspberry pink from Valspar and added fabric to the seats. Perfect little table and chairs for munchkins!

With all this beautiful weather lately, the babies have been enjoying themselves in Olivia's water table...I can't stand the cuteness! They love each other so much! 

For now, I'll leave you with sneak peek of the next post...A Colorful First Birthday!  

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Morning Lifesaver: Aka Iced Coffee

Mornings around here are normally fast paced with a toddler, therefore, I've started some little things to make them smoother and more enjoyable.  I was never a huge coffee drinker until recently and let me tell you, this recipe is a morning lifesaver.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman:

2 1/2 cups of good coffee
4 quarts of cold water (or more for weaker coffee)
1 Tbls vanilla extract
1 cup of simple syrup

First measure out coffee grinds, then add water.  Give it a good stir and let sit covered for 8 hours or overnight at room temperature.  I used a Brita pitcher to make the coffee mixture, which held the perfect amount.  After the mixture has sat for at least 8 hours, pour the mixture through cheese cloth or a coffee filter over the container you plan to store it in.  I added 1 cup of simple syrup to the finished coffee, which was also a great timesaver.  To make the simple syrup, combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water, bring to a light boil while whisking occasionally, then let cool.    I stored it in a large drinking dispenser from Target and it keeps for about a week and a half in the fridge.  Mornings are so much more enjoyable with some iced coffee in a mason jar ready to go! 
Note: Picture taken a week into the huge jar of coffee - it makes a ton!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Olivia's first birthday: Bunny Themed Party

I still can't believe our little munchkin is ONE already!  She brings so much joy to our lives and we couldn't imagine life without her.  I'm excited to share her first birthday with you...

As soon as I started party planning, I knew it would have to be bunny themed. Get ready for picture overload! Her beloved Bun Bun is an absolute must when she's sleeping and she even asks for "Bun Bun" if she's playing and feels the need for some bunny time.  I headed over to my Pinterest and started to search for bunny themed parties, food, etc.  I literally found less than 5 different things leading me to use my imagination for the rest.  I absolutely love how the decorations, food and whole party came together.  Our family is so large so we were hoping for a nice day to sit outside and it was exactly that...for about an hour then the sun showers came and it was a dash to get inside.  Best part of the rain shower was the double rainbow after...perfect picture prop:)

On to the decorations and details...

I used this tutorial to make the tissue paper garland and I loved how it turned out.  We actually still have it up on our mantle!  For some snacks before the main food, I set up a veggie tray and also used clear cups to put together some veggie cups so people could just grab one and mingle.  The toothpicks were found at HomeGoods and they were one of my most favorite parts of the decor.  Unfortunately, I was running around and wasn't able to get a good picture, but the sign says "Olivia's veggie patch."

I also used the toothpick bunnies to label all of the food and they came out super cute!  To make the labels, I bought scrapbook paper with a grass print and just used basic toothpicks in between two pieces and stuck them in black dried beans and mini flower pots.

I made "carrots" out of plastic silverware and orange napkins wrapped with green ribbon, which served as a carrot patch next to the dinner plates.

The drink station consisted of different sodas, water bottles, and Livvy's strawberry lemonade.  The paper straws were also one of my favorite details.  The pink striped straws came from the dollar spot at Target and the vintage floral straws came from Home Goods.  I've seen similar ones on Etsy.  The bunny bucket came from Target, as well. 

Her birthday bib was from Carter's and my brother and his girlfriend gave Livvy her special birthday highchair decorations. 

We had the most amazing cake from a local baker and it was absolutely delicious and stunning!  It was amazingly detailed and exactly what I had envisioned for her party! We also had super cute bunny cookies and a hot pink smash cupcake topped with a sparkly "1"

Singing Happy Birthday was a big hit and at first she was hesitant about eating her smash cake, but then she dove in! 

To put on her gift table, I made a huge chalkboard poster to celebrate her one year milestones.  To create this, I used a black foam-based poster board and metallic markers.  

On her actual birthday, we went to a local park and had a family picnic and later that night she enjoyed her first ice cream cone!  

Hope you enjoyed the bunny details of Olivia's first birthday party! 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Toddler Meals: Part 1

Wow, it has been quite a while since my last post!  I've really missed blogging and I'm determined to keep up with it.  This post was inspired because Olivia recently turned one and she's loving feeding herself and interested in new foods.  I turned to Pinterest for some ideas and I came across a new-to-me blog, A Healthy Slice of Life and there are so many cute meal ideas aka "Munchkin Meals."  It's really important to me that Olivia receives the nutrition she needs and also to incorporate new foods into her diet, therefore, it's been really fun for me to put together her meals during the day.

While I'm preparing her breakfast, Olivia loves to play in her pack and play and I frequently hear her "reading" to herself and pretending to call her cousin Brynn on the phone. I think it's so cute that she's becoming such a funny, sweet little lady and maybe it's a mom fail but she is clearly picking up on things I do.Like talk to my sister all morning. My niece Brynn is almost 11 months and they are only 9 weeks apart and best friends.  It's so nice to have the babies grow up as close as sisters.  Anyway, back to breakfast.  She loves to eat scrambled eggs and I've been sneaking in fresh spinach and shredded cheese and she inhales them.  She also loves plain Cheerios and banana slices. 

Another breakfast she loves is french toast.  She's a carb lover just like her momma and we both love french toast.  I normally add a splash of vanilla, milk, and cinnamon to the egg mixture before soaking the bread.  Another favorite of hers is yogurt dots.  They are seriously the easiest thing ever to make.  I use Brown Cow plain yogurt (or any other organic) and put about 2 tablespoons of yogurt into a plastic sandwich bag. Snip the corner and squeeze out little dots on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet and freeze for at least three hours.  She is obsessed with them and it's a great way to incorporate yogurt into her breakfast without added sugar.  I've used blueberry yogurt, pictured below, and she loves that too.  I always give her fresh fruit as well. 

She would eat scrambled eggs and cheese at every meal if I let her, so I try to change it up a couple times a week.  This was super quick and she clearly enjoyed it - little jelly face!  Cream cheese and jelly toast with fresh nectarines and plain yogurt dots...  

I feel lunches are slightly harder to plan for, as sometimes we're out running errands, etc.  If we're home, I tend to warm her up some leftovers such as chicken or pasta from dinner last night with some sort of vegetable.  Since she's over a year old, she's allowed to have peanut butter.  Panic the first time she ate it! I made these cute little rolls ups with a whole wheat tortilla, natural peanut butter and banana slices with a side of thawed frozen corn.  Super easy and transportable. 

Another lunch idea is avocado, green beans, and chicken meatballs.  These little meatballs are so yummy I tend to share with her:)  Super simple to make:

1 lb. of lean ground chicken
1 piece of whole wheat bread soaked in milk
1 egg
Fresh, chopped spinach
Parmesan cheese
Sprinkle of oatmeal
Fresh parsley
Sprinkle of dried oregano

Mix all ingredients together and form into bite-sized meatballs. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 mins, or until golden brown.  They were so yummy and healthy! Also, perfect for freezing and popping a few in the microwave for a quick lunch or dinner.

I hope you found this post helpful to give you some ideas for your munchkins!  Please feel free to share your favorite toddler meals! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Weekend Loves & Christmas Photo Shoot

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  Considering that it hasn't stopped snowing since this morning, it's safe to say we're going to stay cozy inside.  Chicken soup is simmering on the stove and I thought I'd share some things I'm loving lately while the baby naps with visions of sugarplums dancing in her head...11 sleeps until Christmas!

1. Made these sweet potato scones from Brown Eyed Baker...amazing!  I threw in some pumpkin pie spice instead of nutmeg and made them more of a drop biscuit instead of perfectly sliced scones because I can't roll out dough.  They were so moist and delicious...with a maple cream drizzle...definitely a keeper!

2. Loving these snowflake cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma. With Christmas right around the corner, these are a super cute way to customize and add some festiveness to your favorite cookies!

3.  My mom bought these fleece booties for Olivia from Old Navy.  The only boots that stay on her feet and keep her toasty warm!  Also, can't beat the price tag.  Perfect stocking stuffer for baby girls or boys with the neutral color.

4. I love Anthropologie for the unique finds and fun home accessories.  This lotion is not only pretty but necessary for these cold, winter months coming up. On sale & free shipping now!

Leaving you with a sneak peek of the behind the scenes of my little munchkin's Christmas photos (thank you to our friend and photographer Jimmy)... tutorial to come on DIY Christmas photos. She totally tried to eat all the Christmas decorations. She ate a glitter ball and I had to wipe her tongue. Such a fun little photo shoot!

Have a great weekend!  What are your favorite finds lately?? I'd love for you to share!