9.21.2016

what's in my diaper bag

Happy Wednesday! I love hearing what other Moms pack in their diaper bags so I thought it would be fun to share what I always keep in mine. I have tried to simplify what I pack to keep it as lightweight as possible since I'm 20 weeks pregnant and still carrying a (very heavy) carseat on occasion on one arm and holding a little girl's hand with my other, but I still make sure I have the essentials, which for us always includes snacks ;)


the bag

I have been using my black Fawn Design diaper bag since Penelope was born; it was the bag I packed and brought to the hospital. I love how much space I have and that it doesn't look like a traditional diaper bag. I even use it when the girls aren't with me. The feature I've been loving the most lately is that I can wear it as a backpack, which I seem to do more often than I ever have before because my hands are usually full and wearing it that way frees them up and keeps the strain off my shoulders and back.


the diapers + wipes

Olivia is potty trained so that eliminates the need to pack much for her, but I always keep Parasol diapers for Poppy and a travel pack of our favorite Parasol wipes in my bag. I use the wipes for everything -- both girls, myself, our hands, faces, wiping down carts, surfaces of every sort and more (plus they smell ahhh-mazing!!) and now that we've been using Parasol diapers for the past few months I'll never buy another brand. You can read more about why we love our Parasol diapers and wipes so much in a recent post here. And to receive 20% off your first subscription from Parasol, simply enter BLESSEDNEST at checkout here.


the snacks

I love these tweat snack cups for packing snacks for the girls because they can reach in to get the food but I can snap them shut to keep it fresh. I've used other snack containers in the past they can reach into but that don't have a closing lid and after a few days the food always went stale. Olivia's snack of choice for errands is animal crackers or Annies fruit snacks and Poppy always loves puffs or baby goldfish. 

I also pack some organic pouches and depending on where we're going, usually have a sippy cup of almond milk for Penelope and a water bottle for Olivia. I love these Boon silicone sippy cup lids (perfect for throwing in your bag to be put on any cup to turn it into a sippy cup) and these Skip Hop straw water bottles, which both girls love and for us have been completely spill proof.


the extras

Even after I've packed all that, I've still got room for my essentials: wallet, keys, phone and a granola bar, trail mix or bottle of water. I also keep a lightweight muslin swaddle blanket in there (another item I use in 100 different ways) and a burp cloth as well as a pair of shoes for Poppy (because I rarely put them on her before we leave the house) and a teether or small toy.

In our SUV I have a large center console bin (we have this black one but I also like this one) that holds lots of other items I like to keep handy but don't want to pack in my bag on a daily basis and lug around. These include: change of clothes for both girls, sweatshirt/jackets for each of them, warm blankets, full pack of wipes, extra diapers, empty sippy cups, water bottles, extra snacks, a few board books, a carseat cover, first-aid kit and full box of kleenex. They're all within reach of the girls carseats' so Olivia can grab what she needs anytime and if I need to replenish my bag with an extra diaper or snack I have it handy when I'm out and about.

What do you pack in your diaper bag?! Is it pretty similar to mine? I'm so excited to pack my bag again in a few months for baby #3 with tiny newborn clothes and itty bitty diapers!!
XO

9.20.2016

poppy's happy camper 1st birthday party

We had so much fun celebrating Penelope's 1st birthday this past weekend with all our friends and family. It was a beautiful Fall day with lots of sunshine so we were able to spend the whole afternoon in the backyard, perfect for all the kids with endless energy running around. Poppy turned 1 on September 10 but we have a tradition of spending the weekend of each of the girls' birthdays just as a family and throwing a party the previous or following weekend. Penelope loves being outside and has since birth, whether on walks in the stroller, swinging in the hammock or playing in the grass, so I thought a Happy Camper party would be perfect. 

I partnered with Minted for the invitations and went with these Wild Woodland invites in Pink. I also love these camping invitations and these northwoods ones


I kept the decor super simple; I hung a custom tassel garland above the dessert table with a happy camper banner. I chose a few cake toppers, including a "1" and triangle bunting banner and then made two of the three cakes myself, including Poppy's smash cake and a gluten free carrot cake that is so Fall-ish and a family favorite. I topped her cake with a wooden deer and some forest trees.

We served build-your-own chicken salad sandwiches on fresh croissants, our favorite sweet kale slaw salad & fresh watermelon. To drink I had apple cider from our local orchard with cinnamon sticks and orange slices in a mason jar beverage dispenser and then had an iced bin of water bottles and soda in the backyard. 


We also had these darling camper cookies made by Cousin Cookie and I LOVE how they turned out for the theme. They were the perfect dessert for all the kids at the party and I love every tiny detail they had. Everyone raved about them and we will definitely be doing custom cookies again for our next party!



I used real wood slices as cake stands and it fit in perfectly with the theme.


 


Poppy wasn't so sure what to do with the cake once we placed it in front of her, but she loved the singing and eventually discovered the sweet buttercream and then was totally into it.


We had such a wonderful day surrounded by so many of our loved ones. I try to keep parties as simple as possible so I'm not having to spend the whole day preparing and stressing out and instead can enjoy the reason we're celebrating -- my little girl! I loved this theme and found it so easy to put together decor and a menu. 

For more woodland party inspiration, check out this board on Pinterest that I created to plan ours. Happy Tuesday!!

9.13.2016

our favorite fall dresses

Olivia lives in dresses and her little sister is no different. They make life so much easier and I am always on the lookout for comfortable ones that they can play in, move in and even nap in. I've rounded up a handful of my favorites for Fall. 
one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight

I love the mustard corduroy dress (1) for pairing with tights and boots as the temps drop and the floral fleece dress (4) looks so cozy, perfect for cooler weather.

I recently ordered #3 & #7 for Poppy from Target.com. They are offering 20% off all kids clothing through 9/17 with the code KIDS at checkout, plus an additional 5% off with your RedCard and free shipping on all orders over $25. I just couldn't get over the mushroom print (7) and love all things floral, so 3 was a must have. 

Another favorite is the Kate Quinn Organics Dress (8) with the most darling cowl neck. It's the perfect neutral to pair with colorful accessories all season long!

Do your girls live in dresses like mine do?! Olivia's favorites are Alice & Ames ballet dresses, which she wears just about every day of the week! ;)

Happy Tuesday!! XO

9.12.2016

best of the nest | bitte shop

This week in my Best of the Nest series I'm so excited to introduce a newfound shop run by a mother-daughter duo that has quickly become a favorite in our home, Bitte Shop. Bitte features a collection of the loveliest products from so many brands that I've loved for years (and also introduced me to incredible brands I'd never heard of before!) with products that are not only well made, eco-friendly and safe, but undeniably beautiful. Bitte's wide range of products encourage play, creativity and imagination in my girls and within our home. Right up our alley in every way!


In German, “bitte” means both, and that essence of respect and humble gratitude translates into everything Bitte does. Created by daughter-mother duo, Maia McDonald Smith and Sara Jonnes McDonald, Bitte focuses on sustainable practices and modern design to create a unique shopping experience. Maia and Sara understand that young parents are concerned not only with caring for their little ones, but also with ensuring the world they live in will continue to be a fair and beautiful place. With that in mind, they culled through the small batch and artisan community to find brands that hold these same values at their core, curating the offering with an eye for refined style. Many of the featured brands are created by individuals with a clear passion for what they do, whether it’s outfitting little ones or designing toys to set their imaginations racing. Bitte is built to last, and here, you’ll find toys and clothing that will be cherished for years to come.


Bitte offers products from countless categories, including soft and wooden toys, pieces for make-believe, dress up, creative projects, crafts and more. They also stock clothing, a collection of beautiful books (with so many of our favorites, including the two below!) and items for the home as well. If that weren't enough, their website is clean + easy to navigate, where you can shop by brand, by category or even for gifts in specific parameters. I've rounded up 10 of my all time favorite products from Bitte below!

one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten

We have nearly every single one of these products in our home and they all get so much love from both our one year old and three year old. I love that their selection includes a wide variety of options for even the smallest babies, like this cozy bear lovie {five} or sleepy-wakey maileg elephant {seven}. Many of their toys and books are perfect for teaching concepts, such as letters, numbers and states. This set of US Blocks is gorgeous and would be perfect as your child begins to recognize letters, state shapes and state abbreviations. Of course they can be used just to stack and build with too, which is more Poppy's style these days ;)


We love Bitte so much that you can save 15% off your total purchase using the code BLESSEDNEST15 today through Monday September 19. Bitte always offers free shipping on all standard orders within the US. Be sure to follow along with Bitte below for new product releases, special promotions and more. You can also start shopping here!



Hope your week is off to a great start!! We are getting ready for Penelope's party this weekend and enjoying the cool breezes we wake to every morning. Fall is my favorite! 

9.09.2016

our week in pictures & friday favorites

We are already over a week into September and it's been nothing short of amazing. We've had temps that feel like Fall for the past two weeks and I even had to pull out my cozy sweaters when I've been outside with the girls cause of the chill in the air. We've been cooking and baking all our fall favorites and burning candles nonstop. I'm pretty sure our house has smelled like leaves + pumpkins for the past two weeks straight. Not that any of us are complaining ;)


This past week was a busy one with Olivia meeting her preschool teachers and starting dance and us finishing up our live edge shelving project in our kitchen. We took a trip to our local apple orchard on Monday as a family (a tradition we started last year, going every year on Labor Day) and have been spending almost every morning out on a walk or having a breakfast picnic with pumpkin muffins & egg soufflés at our local nature reserve, just a few minutes from our home. We have just a few days left before Olivia starts school so us girls have been getting out and about together as much as possible. And it's Poppy's birthday eve today so we are finding fun ways to celebrate her and the gift she is to our family!


One of the projects I was most excited for in our kitchen was our open shelving project. We had custom cabinetry put up in the main portion of our kitchen but I knew I wanted something a little different above the dishwasher, not just a single cabinet all by itself looking out of place, so we decided on a set of 3 floating shelves made from live edge lumber to compliment the rustic style of our home.


I am so so happy with how they turned out. I still have some decorating to do on the top and middle shelves but so far I'm loving them. They make the space feel so warm and really bring it all together. That wall sat empty for the past few weeks so now that they're up I feel like my kitchen is exactly how I envisioned it would be. We used these steel brackets to anchor them to the wall. You can get them in any length for your space and can select between lightweight, medium or heavy duty depending on how much you are planning to put on each shelf. If you're thinking of incorporating some open shelving into your kitchen, I highly recommend it!! They are so much fun to style for each new season and holiday and add function while still keeping the space feeling nice and open.

And to kick off the weekend, how about a few Friday Favorites?!


one || This pumpkin soufflé candle has been burning all day and night. It's the perfect fall fragrance without being too sweet. It fills the house quickly but isn't overpowering. Plus the jar and gold label is gorgeous.

two || I've shared before that we are all big Chipotle fans over here. I'm pretty sure I could eat Mexican food seven nights a week, especially when I'm pregnant. I craved it with both girls and later found out my mom craved it when she was pregnant with me; this pregnancy has been no different. Olivia requests it at least weekly and even Penelope loves it. Through the month of September, kids can eat free every Sunday at Chipotle with the purchase of an adult entree (burrito / bowl / salad / tacos), up to two kids. So Dustin and I get our meals and then both girls get a free kids meal. We usually pick up Chipotle during the week but after hearing about this promotion we switched to Sundays and will definitely be taking advantage of it again the next 3 weeks in a row like we did last Sunday.

three || I have always wanted to try making homemade applesauce but totally been intimidated. I grew up with memories of my grandpa always making it using apples from our backyard, I lived on it as a kid. It's such a comforting food for me and so nostalgic. We normally buy it freshly made from our local orchard but this year I was determined to make my own. I quickly discovered it is SO easy and so so delicious. I used this recipe & Olivia loved helping.

four || I recently came across this book and the cover immediately won me over. The illustrations inside are equally as beautiful and it's the perfect bedtime story for the girls.


five || Little by little I have begun collecting a few special pieces for baby. I feel like by Baby #3 I have become so selective with what I buy, especially since we have so much of what we need already and I've been waiting to find out what we're having so the items can really be personalized. But this mudcloth bamboo quilt is the coziest thing ever and perfectly gender neutral. The girls discovered it last week hiding in the baby's closet and had so much fun using it before nap time for reading, giving it a little big sister love and breaking it in.


six || I love a good World Market find and this white scalloped dish and these sculpted hand towels are two of my most recent purchases. I can't ever get enough of the green-yellow mossy color in my home, it's so natural and warm and perfect year round. I love the dish for in a bathroom to hold jewelry or a bar of soap or at your kitchen sink for dish brushes and sponges like we have it.

seven || In the hunt to find exactly what I wanted to style our shelves, I knew I wanted to incorporate a fun light that could be programmed on as it begins getting dark, especially that daylight ends much earlier here as Fall nears. I have seen so many fun mason jar solar lights but was looking for something that was battery operated so I didn't have to leave it outside to "charge" all day. I came across this glass cloche with LED string lights yesterday on sale and knew it would be perfect (pictured on our second shelf above, not on). It takes 3 AA batteries and can be set on a timer to stay on for 4 hours, shut off and then turn on 20 hours later automatically. I have ours set to run from 6-10pm each night and don't have to do a thing! I love the soft glow it gives and the ability to light up the shelves safely.


We are taking it easy this weekend celebrating our sweet Penelope as a family before her party next weekend with all our friends, and of course enjoying the weather!! Hope your weekend is the best! 

9.06.2016

september lit list | babylit + fairy friends

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! More about what we were up to will be on the blog later this week in conjunction with my Friday Favorites post!

If you've been following along for any length of time, you'll know that children's books are one of our favorite things. I love sharing all the books we love in my Lit List series here on the blog. You can also find a peek at other favorite books on instagram under the hashtag #BlessedNestLitList.

This month I'm so excited to be teaming up with Gibbs Smith Publishers to share a handful of their newest board book releases, including our favorite BabyLit series and a new Fairy Friends series with the most gorgeous, whimsical illustrations.


If you're not familiar with BabyLit books, they are board book forms of classic literature that teach basic ideas and concepts to little ones, such as counting, opposites, colors and more. Over the past few years we have gained the complete collection but favorites of ours include Jane Eyre {A Counting Primer}, Sense & Sensibility {An Opposites Primer}, The Jungle Book {An Animals Primer}, Don Quixote {A Spanish Primer}, and The Secret Garden {A Flowers Primer}.

This Fall BabyLit released Little Women {A Playtime Primer} and The Odyssey {A Monsters Primer} and Little Women has quickly become Olivia's new favorite. Each page shares a playtime activity -- such as gardening, picnicking and reading. Olivia loves pointing out every single item on each page and telling me what they are.


Gibbs Smith also released a Fairy Friends series this September with an initial collection of 4 books by author Merrilee Liddiard that we have totally fallen in love with. These include...

Fairy Friends: A Colors Primer
Fairy Friends: A Counting Primer
Fairy Friends: An Opposites Primer
Fairy Friends: A Seasons Primer

There is something so dreamy & whimsical about fairies, especially paired with Merrilee's enchanting illustrations of hand drawn elements with photographic collages. At 11 months, Poppy loves books as much as Olivia does and they sit endlessly flipping through the pages together, Olivia "reading" to Penelope and pointing out all her favorite pictures.


Of the new Fairy Friends series, Olivia's favorite is Opposites. She learned every single opposite it included within just four days of it arriving. Her favorite set is "Sometime I dress simple" / "Sometimes I dress fancy" and I'm pretty sure hearing her say "fancy" is the cutest thing ever.


All these books are such a hit in our home with our girls and a fun refresh to our library, that I teamed up with Gibbs Smith & BabyLit to give away a set to one of you! One winner will receive 3 books of their choice from the new set of 6! To enter, head over to my instagram @blessednestblog and find the giveaway post here. The giveaway will run today September 6 through Monday September 12 and the winner will be announced on the original post. For an extra entry, leave a blog comment below sharing which book you're most excited to get your hands on! Happy reading!! XO

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