friday favorites

Us girls are happy campers to have Dustin home for the long weekend and Olivia has mentioned to me multiple times that because Daddy doesn't have to go to work, they plan to build a fort. Well, add that to our weekend plans of relaxing, spending time outside, grilling & having a fire with s'mores and I think we're set. Here are a few Friday Favorites to kick it off, all of which are on sale for the holiday weekend!

1 // Lately I have been loving Alice & Ames dresses. As soon as Olivia gets dressed each morning, she sees how well she can twirl in whatever she is wearing and their ballet dresses were seriously made for twirling. Save 20% off your purchase using the code MEMDAY20 at checkout.

2 // Have you guys heard of gathre? They make amazing leather bonded playmats, perfect for indoors & out and they come in a wide variety of colors + sizes. We spend so much time in the backyard having picnics, going to the park & even tea parties at home in our living room {which Olivia insists on having sparkling water with} and their mats are perfect for all types of adventures with your little ones; they wipe clean, fold easily and are water impermeable. Plus the leather is so luxurious. Save 25% off your purchase using the code JJ25OFF at checkout. And stay tuned for a chance to win your own on my instagram @blessednestblog coming in June!

3 // One of my favorite places to shop for the girls is Mini Boden. Their clothes are such good quality and come in such fun prints. I love this floral play set and this striped sweatshirt, which I grabbed for both girls for the Fall. You can save 30% off your total purchase plus get free shipping on orders over $49 this weekend using the code 2Z7C at checkout. 
4 // One of our favorite children's book series is All Aboard! Books illustrated by Lucy Darling Shop in collaboration with babyLit books, all six can be found here. Lucy Darling Shop also sells the cutest memory books and fun nursery prints. To get 20% off your total purchase, use the code JJ20OFF at checkout!

5 // Last but not least, I've expressed my love of Piper and Scoot many times and I can't help but share this darling polka dot tunic for us Mamas. It's nursing friendly & also comes in a white version here and I love it paired with jeans but think it would be so cute by itself on hot summer days! Save 20% off your order by using the code MD2016 at checkout. Plus they always offer free shipping within the US!

Hope you all have a wonderful long weekend relaxing with the ones you love most! XO


sweet sister girls

It's been a bit quiet here on the blog this week after a full weekend of celebrating Olivia's 3rd birthday and then slowly getting back in to the swing of our regular routine. We chose our cabinets, bought our new appliances and are starting demo on our kitchen this weekend. Aside from that we have been spending every moment possible outside with the girls since we've had such beautiful weather. 

I thought it would be fun to do a little update on the girls at their current ages. It seems like in the last few weeks so many things have changed and it's always fun to look back on each stage and remember what they were accomplishing and the funny things they did and said.

Olivia // 3 years

Olivia is the most thoughtful & kind little girl. She has such a tender heart and a genuine love for others and for animals. Whenever we are reading a book with an animal in it she pulls the book close to her and says "Hug all the animals!" with the biggest smile on her face. She knows all her letters, shapes, numbers and colors and easily recognizes them. She still has a deep love of books but reading takes quite a bit longer these days because she wants to spell out every single word on every page as well as name every single thing she sees.

Her hair is long and wildly curly and I don't intend to ever cut it. She loves just about every activity {except leaving the park!} and eats every food. For her birthday she told me she wished for "bear toast" so that is clearly a favorite. She also loves apples, strawberries and fruit + veggie smoothies but her top request is "tacos and guac!"

On average, she sleeps 8:30/9pm to about 8am and takes a 3-hour nap from about 2-5pm while Poppy naps. We've adjusted her bedtime a little bit now that it stays light so late and it gives her some time with both Dustin and I after Penelope has gone to bed, which is so important at this age. As of a few months ago, she is potty trained and just finished single-day preschool last week. She will be in four-day preschool starting in the Fall and I'm still not sure what Poppy and I are going to do with all that time just the two of us!

Olivia's favorite thing to do is spend time outside, whether in the backyard or at the park. She loves being in the hammock, blowing bubbles, "gardening" with her watering can and spray bottle and drawing with chalk. She picks up Poppy's toys without being asked, loves to have everything in its place and immediately notices if something is where it doesn't belong. Hmm, wonder where she gets that from! ;)

She loves music, dancing, doing arts and crafts and helping around the house. The other night it was time to get her to bed and I was in her room waiting for her after she had brushed her teeth. I wondered what was taking so long so I went back to the bathroom and saw she had taken out the pile of washcloths from the drawer I'd just washed (but hadn't folded) and was folding them one by one and putting them back. I always find her doing little tasks like that and it just melts my heart. She loves setting out my toothbrush with toothpaste before bed and helping feed Poppy puffs or fruit or bringing her water or toys. Whenever I tell Olivia I'll make her breakfast or lunch she comes up to me and says, "Do you need help, Mama?" and her baby sister is her best friend. Poppy often says "Da-da, Da-da!" and Olivia always follows it up by saying, "Mama, Mama! Poppy says Daddy and that is so funny!" 

This age is so much fun and so full of discovery. With her birthday being on Monday I found myself looking back at all the photos of her as a baby and missing those newborn cuddles and middle-of-the-night feedings. Of course in the moment it felt tiring but I'd give anything to go back to them even for just a night. There are moments where I still see my baby girl, when she curls up beside me and rests her head on my chest or only wants her mama, but there are also so many moments where I see the little girl she is becoming, so grown up and able to do so much without my help. She sets up her own diffuser at night in her bedroom, dresses herself and gets most of her meals ready without help. Every stage with her has been such a gift and I love being able to watch her take in the world around her. She has such a beautiful perspective and continuously reminds me of all the beauty in this life.

Penelope // 8.5 months

Our sweet Poppy girl. What a little dolly. Every day I look at her and just wonder how we ever lived without her. She has the biggest blue eyes and softest skin, the daintiest features and such a tender spirit just like Olivia. She is always calm, happy and so peaceful. Nothing really phases her and she definitely has the same easy-going nature as Olivia and Dustin.

Penelope started crawling a week ago and now is on the move more than ever. Watching her crawl is my favorite thing and I could sit and watch her all day long. She loves bath time, car rides or any type of motion and being outside on a blanket in the shade. Tickling her tummy is sure to get giggles out and she loves to imitate the silly sounds I make. Her newest trick is clapping her hands on cue when we say "pat-a-cake" and she thinks her big sister is hilarious. 

Her hair is growing longer and longer and we're all hoping it will curl like Olivia's did! My camera roll is filled with pictures of her little hands, legs and feet...I never want to forget how small she is because she's growing so fast. She loves to sleep on her tummy with her hands and legs tucked under herself. She sleeps 8pm-8am with one feeding around 6am before going back to sleep until Olivia wakes. She averages 2 naps a day, usually 10am-noon and then 2:30-4:30/5pm. She loves eating just about everything, but her favorite foods are blueberries, avocado, butternut squash with coconut oil and anything with sweet potatoes in it. 

She lights up at the sight of Olivia in the mornings when she greets her and when the two of them are near each other, it seems like the giggles are endless. I always look at them and wonder what is so funny, but apparently just being near each other even if nothing is happening makes them laugh. It's been so much fun to witness their sister bond over the past 8 months, something I always dreamed of.

Penelope has the sweetest little dimples and is either super smiley or super serious. She still has no teeth but is looking more and more like Olivia did as a baby and has so many of the same preferences and characteristics. I am trying to soak in every stage with her, because the little things she does and ways she needs me reminds me of that stage with Olivia and the importance of cherishing it before it's gone. For such a little girl, she is so full of joy and life. A true gift to us all!

How old are your little one(s) and what do you most want to remember about this stage with them?! 
I hope you're all having a wonderful week! XO


friday favorites

Happy Friday! It's Olivia's birthday weekend so we've got lots of fun things planned, including homemade pop tarts (a birthday tradition), her party & a few other special activities including lots of time outside, paint-a-plate and more. To kick off the weekend, below are a few Friday Favorites for you!

1 // This derby dress in dusty rose is gorgeous. Piper & Scoot is my go-to spot for mama-friendly pieces that are not only super comfortable but beautiful and this one is just so good. A summer staple for sure.

2 // For you expectant mamas, this journal looks so darling & is definitely on my wish list for baby #3. Here is a baby book version by the same company. We have one of theirs for Olivia and it's such a beautiful gender neutral, classic way to record those special moments during the first year with your little one.

3 // This year I asked Olivia what she wanted for her birthday and she so matter-of-factly said "a pink cake and one book!" I've shared many times that I have a deep love of children's books and share a lot of our favorites here on my lit list page as well as my ongoing #BlessedNestLitList series on instagram. Every few months I create a wishlist of new books coming out for the girls and being that she has loved all the past Flora books, I was so excited to pick up Flora and the Peacocks as her "one book" for her 3rd birthday!

4 // Dustin, Olivia and I love salads but I've always struggled with finding delicious and healthy dressings that aren't full of junk and totally negate the healthy habit of eating a salad in the first place. We recently discovered a few new ones at local food fairs that have quickly become favorites. We picked them up for weeknight dinners and absolutely love them. Salad Girl has such a range of delicious ones, our favorite is the Dark Cocoa & Sea Salt, which is like a rich balsamic with just the right amount of sweetness. We love it on mixed greens with raspberries, walnuts and an aged cheese like parmesan. I also recently stumbled across this Italian dressing by Hampton Creek (makers of our fav "just mayo") and love how versatile and flavorful it is.

5 // One of our all-time favorite shops for handmade dolls & loveys is Dainty Cheeks. Chrissy's stuff is so good that it sells out within minutes every time she restocks, but is well worth when you do get your hands on it cause it's truly incredible. She's most well-known for her unicorns and unicorn loveys & this week I teamed up with Chrissy to give away a $50 shop credit to one of you for your own! To enter, head over to my post here. Giveaway ends next Tuesday.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!


summer favorites

Happy Wednesday! Hope you're all having a great week! We had our designer out this afternoon to go over our kitchen remodel and it has me super excited to start demo'ing everything....just as soon as Olivia's birthday party is over! ;)

The weather has been sunny & warm lately and the girls have been in dresses and rompers every day. I rounded up a handful of my favorites, all rather inexpensive and in such fun geometric neutrals and floral patterns. I especially love that Olivia can wear a floral tank top {4} to match Poppy in a dress {5}. 
one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight

I picked up almost all of these for the girls and after an automatic discount that old navy was already offering and a reward, got over $150 worth of clothes for $9 using my silver gap card. I can't wait for Olivia to wear the halter maxi dress {3} and the linen romper is so whimsical and fun {2}. Which is your favorite?!


best of the nest | birthday invites with minted

My first baby turns three exactly one week from today! I still don't think it has quite hit me yet that I will have a 3 year old. Her party is this upcoming weekend and we decided to keep it pretty simple & small with just some close friends and family. Olivia requested pink cake and when I asked her what she wanted she just said "one book!" That makes it easy on me ;)

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I had the opportunity to partner with Minted this year to design Olivia's birthday invites & had so much fun planning her party around them. Mint is one of her favorite colors so we went with the cupcake celebration invitations. This particular design comes in three colors but their party invitation options are endless. Whether you're throwing a kid's party, grad party, baby shower or something totally different, they have countless options, all designed by amazing independent artists. They also have tons of birthday party decor pieces, many of which match their birthday invitations!

For decor, we decided to keep it really simple. I love the custom cake toppers from Hooray Everyday, party hats by Little Blue Olive & anything with poms always finds its way in! 

Minted also offers matching Thank You cards to send after the party! I went with kraft brown envelopes for both our invitations and thank you cards and thought a scalloped border for the invites and striped mint backing would be fun extra touches.

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One of my favorite parts about ordering invitations through Minted {and actually a feature I just discovered recently!} is their recipient addressing service. After you order your invitations you can input all your guests' addresses into a virtual online address book. Then all the envelopes are printed with them in the font & style you choose and when your invites arrive, all you have to do is put a stamp on them and send them on their way! The perfect solution for busy Mamas. Plus with a Minted account, you can store all your addresses online, export them to various documents, print them and even access & edit them anytime for future parties. We have ordered from Minted for years for every party and celebration as well as all our holiday cards and I can't believe I wasn't using their addressing service sooner!

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A few of my favorite birthday invitations from Minted are below:
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little adventurers invites / northwoods invites / piece of cake invites / orchard blossoms invites / bulldozer invites / simple + sweet foil-pressed invites

I also love these fanfare invites, which we used for Olivia's 1st birthday party, and these darling flower & ladybug invites. For a summer party, these icecream cart invites would be so much fun! All their invitations can be customized with wording, border, envelopes, backing, photos & more!

If you are needing invitations for your own party, you can save 10% and get free shipping on all baby & kid products using the code BKSHIP10 at checkout. Discount valid Monday May 16 only.

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In addition to invitations, we also love Minted art prints! I did a round up of my favorites a few weeks ago here when we updated our living room gallery wall for Spring & Summer. Hope you're having a wonderful start to your week! Can't wait to share more party details soon!


summer 2016 bucket list

It's been an extra rainy week and that has us all dreaming of warmer summer days ahead. I thought it would be fun to create a little summer bucket list to share some of the things we're most looking forward to doing this summer as a family of four.

Olivia is at such a fun age and it makes everything we do extra fun and Poppy just loves being outside in the sunshine. When we're in the backyard, she spends most of her time in our favorite play yard here {seriously amazing!!}, but has adventured a few times onto the grass and didn't quite know what to think of it.

summer 2016 bucket list

backyard campfires & s'mores
make strawberry rhubarb crisp
swim at nana & grandpa's pool
spend a weekend (or a few!) at the lake
go to the state fair
visit the farmer's market
eat mini donuts
plant a garden
remodel our kitchen
take the girls to the zoo
watch fireworks on the 4th of july
visit our favorite strawberry patch to pick berries
play tennis & frisbee
make root beer floats
visit an old fashioned candy store
eat crunch cones on a hot day
build sandcastles at the beach
make homemade lemonade
go out for frozen yogurt
have picnics at the park
eat watermelon
take the girls to a local splash pad
eat dinner al fresco over & over
make a big batch of caprese salad
snuggle & nap in the hammock
draw with chalk & teach olivia hopscotch
make grilled angel food cake
go to an outdoor movie
ride a carousel
go antiquing with my mama
take a few day trips to tiny cities around the state
make homemade pizzas on the grill
put up a pergola in our backyard
eat lots & lots of icecream

What's on your summer bucket list?! Hope you're having a wonderful week!! XO

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