Thursday, February 8, 2018

Life's Moments

It's been ten months since the course of our lives were forever changed.  I'm not sure I will ever publicly share what happened but it has forever changed me as a person and my girls' lives, in every aspect.  

A few weeks ago, I was at a point where I was more than overwhelmed by so many daily roles and honestly I was crumbling as a woman, a mother, a friend.  Those were some of my hardest days and I'll always remember when another single mom reached out on Instagram and said I was encouraging to them because I looked like I was able to get it all done.  I was touched by that message, but that was so far from the truth.  Behind those little squares there was so much more going on.  My girls are my greatest accomplishment and I want them to know how much I love them and how much they mean to me.  Sometimes it's a struggle to get out of the clouds but you'll get there and be so much stronger for it. Today, I want to share a few things for anyone else struggling to make it through their day, feeling like they are not enough, that they're in the thick of it... it does get better and there are brighter days ahead.  Positive thinking changes everything and it's so worth it. 

A few weeks ago I started working again and it was perfect timing.  I hate to say that going back to work gives me a break, because I know how hard working moms work, but for me it has given me a quick breather.  I have always loved being a teacher and always feel right at home in the classroom. At some point in the near future I hope to return full time to work, but for right now it's a perfect schedule for me.  It wasn't until I started working that I realized how underwater I was feeling.  As a mother of very young children, it's so easy to forget to take care of yourself and those overwhelming feelings slowly build up until there's such an immense weight on your shoulders that it hits so hard.  Besides working and tutoring after school, I'm taking a million workshops, CTLE seminars, content tests and taking a course to fulfill my certificate requirements.  I swear I've never been so busy.  Every hour seems to be consumed right now and I'm actually enjoying it.  As cliche as it sounds, some true hustling is going on.  As the sole parent 99% of the time, I am so thankful to my family and friends who are constantly part of my village to help with the girls. If you're in a similar position, I can't tell you how important it is to have good people in your life. 

For a very long time, it was so hard for me to see my worth.  Some days are still a struggle.  After a while your vision of self-worth gets chipped away and you start believing what you're hearing and seeing and that is a hard thing to change.  Probably one of the hardest.  When you think you're not pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, special enough...whatever you're feeling, just remember that you have little people looking up to you.  With two little girls, I am constantly reinforcing that they are smart, strong, beautiful inside and out and I never share my own inner thoughts because I never want them judging themselves like that.  That is why I'm being so honest here because if you feel the same way, remember that you are worth it. 

Yes.  I just love that.  Looking back at how far I've come over these past months (read: a lot longer) I can finally see that I've handled a thousand things, in a thousand different ways and I am proud of it.    Set those standards high, ladies.  It will be worth it.  Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of my story and I hope you will reach out if you need.  It takes a village.  XOXO

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Best Products for Your Transitioning Baby

Charlotte is now 11 months old and a few months ago I found myself wavering back and forth between the new baby stage and older baby stage, with everything from feeding to sleeping to bath time.  So today, I'm sharing a list of my must haves for a transitioning baby that I know you'll love, too. 

DockATot - Our DockATot has been a life saver for us.  Due to Charlotte rolling over extremely early, we were at a loss of what to do with her at night because she was swaddled, yet still rolling over while her arms were tucked in.  We started with the DockATot Deluxe, which was comfortable for her until she was about 10 months old then it started to get a bit tight.  Many of you were asking for suggestions on what to use once your little one outgrew the DockATot Deluxe and I can't recommend the DockATot Grand enough! The Grand will last your little one all the way through toddlerhood.  Trust me, Olivia fit perfectly in it and she'll be four in a few short weeks! I love that the Grand creates a comforting space for her, yet she's free to move around.  She hasn't always been the greatest sleeper and I swear the Grand has been a lifesaver.  She's so much happier and much more rested, which makes for a happier mommy, too!  If you sign up for emails, you'll receive a coupon for $10 off and seriously it is worth every penny.  Cost per use and your sanity - so worth it!! 

Freshly Picked  - Freshly Picked moccs have been a favorite of ours since day one for both girls.  With little teetering feet, these are so great for little ones learning to walk.  I love the simplicity yet sturdiness of them and they are so cute for any occasion! These mary janes are the sweetest new style!!!  I can just see these as the perfect accessory to Easter dresses! 

The Stair Barrier - Two words: crawling baby.  There's nothing worse than a baby gate that you either can't open yourself, is super ugly, doesn't match the rest of your house or doesn't work correctly.  Can you tell I'm not a fan of traditional baby gates?  If you're like me, look no further than the Stair Barrier.  This is the prettiest baby gate and there are two configurations available, which is perfect for those looking for banister to banister or wall to banister.  They also come in a variety of sizes and great designs to match your home's decor.  My sister got the Beige Geo gate and it is so pretty yet so functional and creates the perfect safe barrier for little ones crawling around. Check out my instagram for some fun live videos to see what Emilie & Charlotte think of their new stair barrier.  Spoiler alert: they can't go past it ;) 

Finn + Emma - Finn + Emma is my go-to for the softest organic pajamas for the girls and wooden toys for Charlotte.  Babies put everything in their mouths, especially those who are teething, and they have some of the best wooden teethers I've seen. All of their toys are made from an Indian hardwood, finished with natural vegetable seed wax and then stuffed with dried beans.  I love that Charlotte can happily chomp away on a natural, safe toy.  This hedgehog rattle is one of my favorites! 

The Baby Cubby  - The Baby Cubby is for every parent out there who has ever felt overwhelmed or discouraged about becoming a parent. It is my go-to shop for baby shower gifts.  Baby Cubby price matches - even Amazon!! and offers free shipping for orders over $49. Their team is made up of parents who have been there, we know what it’s like and we are passionate about encouraging, inspiring, and reminding parents how amazing they are and how important their role is.  Their customer service is excellent and I love that they do all the research for you and sell only the best products that they truly believe in.  The list goes on and on for all of the great products they carry, but some of my favorites for a transitioning baby include the ezpz mats - so great for babies who are feeding themselves, yet messy little eaters who throw their plates, puj bath treads - for slippery little ones who love to splash around, and the Boon Flair - super stylish, easy to clean highchair.  Definitely your go-to shop for your next baby shower gift - you won't be disappointed! 

I hope this list helps you out to learn some of my favorite products for your transitioning little one!  What are some of your must have products? 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The MOST comfortable leggings EVER + LuLaRoe Giveaway!

You guys!  Have you or have you not found a pair of the most comfortable pants ever in life? If you have, you'll be super excited for the giveaway at the end of this post. If you haven't, you neeeed to try LuLaRoe and be double excited for the chance to win a pair of your own! 
LuLaRoe - where fashion meets comfort.  This video shows the production process and its so cool to see how all of the pieces are designed, cut, sewed, and shipped off to consultants.  I can't imagine how fun it is to open those boxes to see all of the goodies and designs that came!! 

My friend Jess sent me the prettiest pink pair and let's just say it was love at first try.  Seriously, I'd wear these every day, all-day-long. I love that they are not see through (one of my biggest concerns with leggings), buttery soft, and wash so well! Some of the smaller, more simple patterns are definitely something I could get into with a solid top.  If you're looking for your "unicorn", aka a pattern that you just need to have and are searching for, follow along on Facebook and check out Jess' LuLaRoe VIP group! She has so many styles to choose from and so many pretty patterns! Inventory is constantly changing, which makes it even more fun to follow along to see what comes out next!  She also has super fun giveaways that you won't want to miss.  Some of my favorite styles besides the leggings are the Amelia (with pockets!) and the Randy tees.  This chart below is the best to describe each style to choose from.  I love that you can dress these pieces up as much as you can dress them down.  The kid options are so cute and so comfortable for them, too! 

Jess and I have teamed up to give away a mystery pair of OS or TC Leggings and I cannot wait to see who the lucky winner is!! To enter the giveaway, complete the Rafflecopter below.  We'll be checking to make sure the winner has completed the entries and liked/followed both LuLaRoe Jessica Reynolds VIPs and The Birds Nest :) 

Giveaway ends Friday, March 24 and the lucky winner will be contacted shortly after.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck, friends!! Thank you so much to Jess for this fun giveaway!! XOXO a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Yummiest "Peanut Butter Pie" Breakfast Recipe

You guys, I cannot get enough of this!  Today I'm sharing the easiest, yummiest, ever-so-satistfying peanut butter pie recipe.  The catch is that its for breakfast!😱 A few weeks ago my sister texted me with a "best decision of my life" message... thinking it was about her kids, house, job etc I was so wrong - it was about peanut butter pie. Literally it tastes like peanut butter a bowl...for breakfast.  I die. Now, I've tried all sorts of Pinterest inspired recipes for overnight oats, "dessert" parfaits, etc.  This is legit and you will dream of making this again and again.  Especially if you're a mom because it's that easy and that delicious.  

Now, I'm not huge on measuring so we're going to just wing it...

Yummiest Breakast Peanut Butter Pie in a Bowl:

1/2 to 3/4 cup of your favorite plain Greek yogurt 
Rounded spoonful of peanut butter
A handful of chocolate chips 
1 tsp. brown sugar

Mix it all together and enjoy!  That's it.  It's that simple.  You can play around with how much you add of each ingredient to get the right consistency and sweetness for you.  I tend to throw about 5-6 chocolate chips in there and a sprinkle of brown sugar, for reference.  You could definitely prep this the night before and eat it to-go or have it in the fridge waiting for you.  Kind of like that first cup of coffee that you dream of.  Just me?  Anyway, make this.  Today.  Let me know what you think!  Follow along on my instastories for more quick recipes (@thebirdsnestblog) XOXO 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Top Five Favorite Farmhouse Style Bedrooms

I'm obsessed with Fixer Upper (who isn't?!) and one day, my dream is to own a big farmhouse style home styled by my inner Joanna Gaines.  While that might be a while down the road, I am always dreaming up new ways to decorate.  Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite farmhouse styled bedrooms.  

I love the faux beams, layered bedding, shiplap walls and overall coziness of this room! 

I love Liz Marie Blog - everything she touches is amazing! My favorite parts of this bedroom are the chandelier, mirrors behind the nightstands and the layered bedding. 

I like this mix of farmhouse meets glam.  I also like the moody gray on the walls mixed with bamboo shades and light, airy curtains. 

I've had these lights in our garage for about three years...another project on the to-do list.  I love the simple, rustic look they bring to the bedroom.  Seriously one of my favorite Instagram feeds.  Everything is so beautiful! 

This is also from Farmhouse for Four but I couldn't resist this bedroom!  The beams, wallpaper accent wall, pretty!!

Thanks for stopping and following along with my favorite picks for a farmhouse style bedroom.  Next, I'll be sharing my favorite farmhouse inspired kitchens.  What are some of your favorite farmhouse looks?  

Monday, January 30, 2017

All the Details You Need to Host the Prettiest Baby Shower

This is the season of life where all of our friends are having babies, have newborns, or are newly expecting a little one.  Baby showers are one of my favorite events to plan and attend.  There's something so exciting about showering a mama-to-be, from all of the cute baby gifts and pretty decor to celebrating the upcoming new baby.  Today, I'm sharing my favorite shops to plan the prettiest baby shower that I just know you will love too! 

Baby Shower Invites - Paperless Post has hundreds of baby shower invites, each one prettier than the next!  I love that there is an option to send via email, as well as paper printed. Whatever your theme, Paperless Post has an invite for everything.  There are options for baby boys, baby girls, or a surprise!  Some of my favorites are below, including one for daddies-to-be!  They also have great invitations for birthday parties, holiday cards, and much more. 

I absolutely love this book themed one, so perfect if you chose to include a note for your guests to bring a book for baby's library!

You know a daddy-to-be would love this one to enjoy a day with friends.  

I love this floral themed invite - so pretty! 

I love the idea of a sip and see once the baby is born and this stork theme is too sweet!

Baby Shower Attire - PinkBlush has a great selection of maternity & women's clothing - so stylish and so affordable!  I love this polka dot dress for mamas-to-be and I'd love to wear this button sash dress as a guest. It's so fun to get all dressed up, isn't it?

Baby Shower Decor- I love party decorations and these sweet paper garlands are the perfect touch of color and can be used in the baby's nursery afterwards. Fun balloons and tissue garlands are always great options too.  I also love sweet favors such as these mini soy candles or sugar scrubs, just a little something that your guests can enjoy afterwards. You also can't go wrong with some pretty  floral centerpieces and a special diaper cake.

Baby showers are SO fun to plan! Thanks for reading along and I hope I inspired you to plan the prettiest one! XO

Monday, January 2, 2017

Simple Resolutions To Make Your Mind + Heart Happy

Happy New Year!  I hope you enjoyed your holidays with family, friends, and lots of yummy food!  I took a quick break to enjoy time with my little ones and I'm back feeling refreshed ;)  Today, I'm sharing some simple resolutions that are easy to keep while making you feel accomplished.  I'm not huge on resolutions and while some are thrown to the side at times, I normally try to be mindful of simple ones that make lives easier + more enjoyable. 

Be Organized 
Organization is something I crave and it makes my mind and heart happy.  Since having two busy little ones and being married to the most unorganized man ever (#truth), I have lost my ducks-in-a-row-mojo.  I'm striving to get it back and I know how much clarity and peace it brings to my life so this is my biggest resolution this year. My STARTplanner is legit, you guys.  There's literally a page and space for everything. Everything.  In the Hustle Daily Planner, everything from monthly finance spreadsheets, top three of the day to water goals are planned down to the hour in an organized, clean way.  This is exactly what I need to keep me on top of birthdays, groceries, tutoring schedules and everyday activities.  There's also a business edition, which would be so great for working mamas or those with their own small businesses.  Not only is it gorgeous, but the pages are so clean and organized in the best possible way.  You need this in your life!!  And one of you lucky ones get the chance to win one at the end of this post! 

Donate More

Ever since I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I've been inspired to donate more and get rid of things we don't use or need anymore.  Everything from toys to clothes to kitchen items, I've been taking car loads to the thrift store at our church.  Although at times I feel bad about giving certain things away (there's really no reason for attachment for most things but I always feel a tinge of guilt) I know they are going to someone in need and that makes me feel so good to help.  Afterwards, I feel like I can breathe so much easier.  I plan on doing a big purge of all of our clothes (hello eighty five thousand random t-shirts in Rob's drawers) and that alone will be so fulfilling.  I tend to be a "keeper" and really, who am I kidding?  I'm pretty sure I won't be wearing my going out tops from college anytime soon ;)  If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it!

Cook More

For Christmas, I got Daphne Oz's new cookbook, The Happy Cook and I'm loving it.  I really enjoy cooking and while I cook often, I fall into the habit of making simple meals for Olivia and I if Rob isn't home or meals that are thrown together because I'm rushing after tutoring or being out for the day.  My plan is to try to meal plan more = less wasted food, more money saved, and to enjoy the cooking process.  Olivia loves to help in the kitchen and I hope to include her more as well.  In my STARTplanner, there's even a meal planning section so it couldn't be any easier to start now!

Be organized, donate, and cook more - my simple resolutions to make the mind + heart happy!  

Now, I can't wait to see who wins a brand new STARTplanner!!  Simply enter below and the winner will be notified by January 6, 2017.  Everyone who enters gets a free party download too!! If you're following along on Instagram, @thebirdsnestblog, be sure to comment with one goal for 2017 and score some extra entries on there as well! Winner must reside in the US. Good luck XOXO

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