7.30.2015

July Lit List | BabyLit

One of my favorite qualities about Olivia is her deep love of books; I loved reading books to her during my pregnancy and as a newborn. Ever since I can remember, books have been her very favorite thing. Even now, the first thing she does when she gets out of bed in the mornings is go straight to her bookshelf and choose a stack for us to read before breakfast or for her flip through on the couch while I'm cooking and she's munching on cheerios.


I've shared before how much we love books through both my blog and #BlessedNestLitList series on instagram. One of our favorite companies for modern and stylish children's books is hands down BabyLit -- if you haven't heard of them yet, you will. They feature a series of board books based on classic Literature, such as Pride & Prejudice, Romeo & Juliet, Treasure Island and more. Using these works as a foundation, BabyLit transforms them into easy to understand primers for babies and children, based on concepts such as colors, numbers, opposites, and more. 


I'm so excited to be partnering with BabyLit to share their newest releases, including the classic works of Emma {An Emotions Primer} and Treasure Island {A Shapes Primer}, as well as their new series of All Aboard Books in collaboration with Lucy Darling Shop, including All Aboard California {A Landscape Primer}, All Aboard New York {A City Primer} and All Aboard Paris {A French Primer} 

One of Olivia's favorites from BabyLit's last release remains Don Quixote, which is a Spanish primer. I studied 6+ years of Spanish throughout high school and college and lived in Spain so it's one of my favorites as well. She loves hearing foreign languages being spoken, so naturally All Aboard Paris ranks high on her list from the new collection.


One of my favorite parts about all classic BabyLit books are the gorgeous illustrations by Alison Oliver. They are bright, bold and attention-grabbing, even for the youngest of bookworms. Both Emma and Treasure Island are right up her alley, especially since she is now learning to recognize and name shapes. Emma is perfect as a child begins to understand their feelings and what it means to be happy, sad, surprised or angry. I think so many times our little ones know they are feeling a certain way but are unsure (or unable) of how to express it. Via loves looking at the character's faces from Emma and gets sad when they are sad and giggles when they are happy. A perfect new addition to our collection.


AND because we love BabyLit books so much, I'd love to give away a set of two to one of you! Head over to my instagram @blessednestblog to enter! The giveaway runs from Thursday, July 30 through Wednesday, August 5. The winner will be announced on the original instagram post and is responsible for contacting A Blessed Nest within 24 hours of being announced or a new winner will be drawn. Of course if you just can't wait, you can shop for all your favorite BabyLit books here! Happy almost-Friday!

7.27.2015

shop spotlight | bannor toys

My favorite types of toys for our girls are wooden ones -- I love how classic, timeless and rich they are. Not only do they give Olivia the opportunity to think creatively and use her imagination, but they are beautiful on display in a room or scattered across the nursery floor (in the event you have a toddler in the house who doesn't always put her toys away). One of my all-time favorite shops for handmade wooden toys, teethers, blocks and more is this week's Shop Spotlight feature -- Bannor Toys.


Owned by husband and wife team Stacey and Jesse Bannor, Bannor Toys is based out of Iowa and has been crafting toys nearly four years. Stacey shares more of their story below...

"Jesse and I started creating handcrafted wooden toys in fall of 2011 and we have quickly become know for our State Rattles and uniquely designed toys with splashes of color that are completely organic. It all started when I was still running an in-home daycare; Jesse wanted to make the kids toys that would last and be safe so he cut out a toy truck using some of his grandfathers tools. The kids loved the toys he made and were still actively interested in them several weeks later so we thought we would give it a shot and signed up for a local craft fair and started selling on Etsy! Four years later we no longer work out of our house and have several employees, but we still keep the small family business feel to each transaction. To this day we have still not taken out a loan or had the need for an investor, we have simply re-invested in the company as it has grown!"

"The most challenging part of owning a business is the unpredictability of it and balancing it all. We try to give 100% to things when we are doing them to help with the balance. So when we are with the kids, we are 100% with the kids and when we are at work we are 100% at work. On the flip side, the most rewarding part is seeing all the pictures of kids with our toys; our toys have become a part of so many memories -- its crazy to think about sometimes! We've come a long way since our early days in the basement."

"When we aren't busy making toys we are spending time with our 3 kids, Emilie, Ethan, and Eli. We love to garden, attend the local farmers markets, spend hours in the book store, go camping, relax and catch up with the DVR, or spend time with our families. We also have a miniature Schnauzer, Henry."


Bannor Toys has countless options for children, the nursery, and beautiful baby gifts for expectant Mamas. They offer amazing personalization on nearly everything and when we first found out we were having another little girl, I loved seeing her sweet name on her very first teether. A few of our favorite products from Bannor Toys are the state rattles with customizable colors, the bump & baby milestone blocks, personalized name blocks (another favorite part of Penelope's nursery), their amazing new kids furniture collection and their retro wooden camera.



One of my favorite ways to track this pregnancy has been with the milestone blocks, which is a set of 16 blocks that allow you to create the words "WEEKS" and "MONTHS" as well as two-sided number blocks 0-9 to create any number you can imagine. I use them each week in flat lays with some of my favorite pieces we've gathered for Poppy and then plan to use them in photos with her as I track how she grows week by week and month by month. They are so darling and are already on my list for go-to gifts for Mamas to be!


We are clearly huge fans of Bannor Toys in our home and everything Jesse and Stacey make is just so, so good. The quality is outstanding, the turnover time is quick, the customer service is unmatched and they are all pieces we will cherish for many years to come. 

If you'd like to pick up a few of your favorite pieces from Bannor Toys, as a Blessed Nest reader you can save 10% off your total purchase using the code BNBLOG10 at checkout / Discount is valid today through Monday, August 3 ONLY and includes their best-selling block sets, which never go on sale! {Discount not valid on furniture} / start shopping here

AND because it's Monday (which naturally means us Mamas need a pick-me-up), I'd love to give away a $25 shop credit to Bannor Toys to one of you! To enter, visit my instagram @blessednestblog, find the original post & follow the simple steps // You can also earn extra entries by filling out the Rafflectoper below. This giveaway runs from Monday, July 27 through Sunday, August 2 and the winner will be announced on Monday August 3; the winner is responsible for contacting A Blessed Nest within 24 hours of being announced. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!

7.22.2015

shop spotlight | love what's missing

Preparing for our sweet baby girl has been such a joy -- getting her nursery ready, filling her drawers with tiny clothes, and finding little handmade treasures that have so much love poured into them...knowing in just a few short weeks she'll be here, it just warms my heart. 

That's why I'm so excited to share an incredibly inspirational shop in this week's Shop Spotlight, Love What's Missing. With gorgeous fawn lovey blankets, unicorn baby hats {seriously though, I cannot wait to get that on Penelope}, hair accessories and more, Love What's Missing is owned by beautiful Mama Bianca, who started her shop after being inspired by her son and the journey she has gone on with him since he was just a few months old.


You can read more of Bianca's story below

"My name is Bianca Beck, I am the owner & one woman show behind Love What's Missing. My story actually begins with a little boy. Three months blissfully into motherhood my son Skylar was diagnosed with a rare birth defect called Schizencephaly. Through his MRI it was discovered that he was missing nearly half of the right side of his brain. Shortly after his diagnosis and still in the midst of grieving, the seizures began. After a few EEG's it was unfortunately confirmed that the seizures were Infantile Spasms, one of the most catastrophic forms of epilepsy. Here I was with another diagnosis, another term I fought endlessly to grasp.. and my heart in million pieces. The chaos of these episodes caused hemiparesis, hypotonia, and global developmental delay. We started medication and early intervention therapy immediately to undo the harm, and I found my place ultimately at home with him and his care. Through weekly therapies, surgeries, evaluations, hospital visits/stays, and specialist appointments -- medical expenses began piling greater than I imagined. Our future financial situation became critical to me and I wanted to help in every way possible from home."

"Through my blog I began selling my art to followers and friends, and eventually branched out into sewn goods. After many different experiments & projects I believe I finally found my niche in children & baby products. I've been wanting to take the leap into this for years and my son was my final push into my new line of loveys for little ones. I wanted to create a one of a kind keepsake and they are such a delight to sew up because he adores every single one of them. The greatest experience I've had through my shop recently is the opportunity of meeting the vast community of supporters & customers. Their feedback, praise, and photos I've received has brought me tremendous joy. It truly has been such an honor to create items that are worn, loved, and provide comfort. Knowing there are individuals from all corners of the world who love something you've made entirely with your hands is so special to me. Due to the handcrafted nature of my items, the most difficult part is always finding that happy medium between work & home. Despite some sleepless nights, I wouldn't make any changes because it has been a blessing to my family. I have dreamed up so many new ideas for the future of my shop and hope to only grow as a small hand made brand."

"My shop name, Love What's Missing, actually derived from the first time I looked through my son's MRI to see how much he was actually "missing." It took me two years to muster up the courage to look. I spent hours staring at the screen flipping through hundreds of images.. with bitter tears rolling down my cheeks. Through my weeping, my son came up to me and pressed his cheek against mine, and I finally felt peace in my sorrow. I was not going to let his disability bound or define who he is or his walk in this world. Through this journey and the always looming fear of tomorrow, I learned to love what's missing. My shop is ultimately dedicated to him, for he is resilient, and my absolute inspiration...The only person in this world whose smile compels me to tears, and who is always my beacon in darkness."


Love What's Missing is most widely known for their beautiful fawn loveys -- unique, one-of-a-kind blankets perfect for little ones to snuggle and hold. Although she never took a pacifier, Olivia has had a small security blanket since birth that she still sleeps with at age two. It brings her comfort in a way nothing else does. Bianca sent these loveys for the girls and as soon as I gave Olivia hers, she gave eskimo kisses to its nose and hugged it tight to her face. There is something so peaceful and calm about a fawn and I love that Bianca offers these in patterns for both boys and girls. I especially love the fawn lovey in boardwalk for a baby boy. 


In addition to her loveys, Bianca recently released a new line of baby hats, including this white and gold striped unicorn one. Can we just talk about how darling it is? If I wasn't already expecting, it would no doubt give this Mama major baby fever! 

Everything from Love What's Missing is such high quality and the lovey fabric is so, so soft, I wish they came in my size! No detail is overlooked -- from the hand embroidered face to the tiny bows, lined ears, and perfect pink nose...these loveys are truly beautiful keepsakes, perfect for a new baby or expectant Mama. I love that Olivia received hers as a "big sister" gift and her little sister will have one as well.


If you'd like to purchase your own lovey, hat, or anything else from Love What's Missing, as a Blessed Nest reader you can save 20% off your total purchase this week using the code BLESSEDNEST20 / This discount is valid from Wednesday, July 22 through Sunday, July 26 only / start shopping here

And because Olivia adores her midnight lovey so much, Bianca and I would also love to give one away to you! One lucky reader will win a fawn lovey of their choice from Love What's Missing. To enter, visit my instagram @blessednestblog, find the original post and complete the steps listed. For extra entries, complete the steps below in the Rafflecopter. Giveaway runs from Wednesday, July 22 through Tuesday, July 28 and all entries will be verified; the winner is responsible for contacting A Blessed Nest within 24 hours of being announced. Happy Wednesday!

7.21.2015

eye-catching floral favorites

Happy Tuesday! Because it makes me so very happy, I've rounded up a handful of lovely floral favorites that have recently caught my eye, including pieces for your home, kitchen, office, and of course -- the little ladies in your life!

As soon as I spotted it, I couldn't get this gorgeous floral onesie {1} into my cart fast enough, and at 40% off with free 3-day shipping, how could I not? I love the warm colors and plan to use it this summer and then layer it for fall with leggings and a cardigan. Melt my heart, baby girl.

In my last floral roundup here, I shared a gorgeous print that we added to our master bedroom gallery wall from the sweetest little shop on Etsy; this "happy girls" print {2} is from the same shop and I think it would be perfect for any little girls' nursery.

I have always loved writing down my own recipes but have a binder with them scattered in no order and covered in stains and spills; my hope this Fall is to organize them all in this gorgeous floral recipe tin {4}.

And if you've seen peeks of our kitchen lately, you'll know I have a collection of dish towels I rotate out though each season; I fell in love with this whimsical one and think it would be perfect for the end of summer {5}

Next is the prettiest notepad you ever did see {6} and handmade liberty of london bloomers from one of our favorite shops {7}, which are perfect for chunky baby thighs and the hot summer weather!

For the nursery, I am loving this new collection of striped floral bedding from The Land of Nod {8}; pictured is the toddler sheet set but it is available as a crib sheet, changing pad cover and twin set.

And because bows are a must for baby girls, I'm loving this green liberty print vintage bow for Penelope {9} / stay tuned for a chance to win your own coming soon

Finally, because I hoard collect stationary, I adore this vintage "hello, darling" card / In addition to writing & sending cards, I love displaying them around our home in unique ways; this one would be the sweetest placed in an oversized frame and hung in a special spot in your home!

XO

7.16.2015

summer maternity photos

I'm so excited to finally share our maternity photos, taken three weeks ago on a gorgeous Saturday evening. We are so blessed to have the most wonderful photographer and this was our 10th session with her, which I still can't believe!! She made all my Mama dreams come true and this might just be my favorite session yet -- with my best friend and both of my little girls.

Once they were released to us, I couldn't get the photos printed and framed fast enough, they just fill my heart to overflowing and then some. I am so grateful for our little family of four, and I love that Ashley captured Olivia at two years old...such a special time for our little girl that I'll always look back on and cherish.


Happy Friday eve!! 

7.15.2015

shop spotlight | red bunny designs

If you've been following along with my blog or instagram for awhile now, you've probably noticed my entire pregnancy theme for Miss Poppy has been floral. It began with picking up a few simple pieces when I found out we were having another little girl, and over the past several months has grown to be my go-to style for both her clothing and nursery decor. I've been collecting all things floral for my own little flower and today's gorgeous Spotlight pieces are no exception!

Today I'm so excited to be featuring Red Bunny Designs -- the sweetest handmade shop run by a mother and daughter-in-law duo, that sells beautifully crafted bibs, burp cloths, lovies, throw blankets, quilts and more. From the craftsmanship to the materials used and every tiny detail in between (including hand written tags to Olivia and Penelope), I fell in love with their products and know you will too.

vintage floral lovie / vintage floral cuddle throw

Read more about Red Bunny Designs below

"There is nothing like giving (or receiving!) a handmade gift. Over the years, we have been making quilts, burp cloths and other handmade baby gifts for our own family and friends, and some of the most precious gifts we have ever received have either been handmade or so thoughtfully picked out with our own taste and style in mind. In the age of Amazon and gift registries, (no judgement, we still do both!!) we will always love the idea of adding your own personal touch. From our finger painted Mother's Day gifts to our children's heirloom crib quilts, they all hold a special place in our hearts."

"Red Bunny has been one of those ideas that Bev and I (Darcie) had been sharing ideas about for the longest time...talking about what products we'd love to make, how we'd set up a shop and all of those fun creative ideas that always seemed like just that...ideas. Once the name Red Bunny came to us, the shop sort of created itself and there was no turning back!"

"As a mother (Bev)/daughter-in-law (Darcie) team, it made sense that our shop name comes from one of our greatest sources of inspiration, my four year old daughter, Emma. Her playfulness and creativity is endless and her love for her sweet stuffed red bunny is what childhood should be all about! When the "original" red bunny was lost on a family vacation and had since been discontinued, (of course!) the idea to name our shop after her beloved stuffed animal seemed like the perfect tribute."

"Our Red Bunny products are designed with the same playfulness and creativity in mind. We love pops of color, mixing patterns and bright and playful prints. Our signature item, the Red Bunny Signature Crib Quilt, was designed with a classic stripe pattern, soft and simple quilting and playful prints that can grow with children and passed on to grandchildren. We are a small shop and each of our products are handcrafted by US with the same love and care that goes into the gifts we create for our own friends and family! Our lovies, throws and burp cloth sets are so fun to make, especially when we get to create custom sets to match a certain style or theme. But designing a quilt that will be loved for years to come is the real reason Red Bunny exists and is our favorite gift to create!"


Bev and Darcie completely brought to life my vision for burp cloths and a matching lovie for Miss Penelope. I love that the burp cloths are such high quality and so absorbent but still so stylish. Just feeling them I can already tell they are going to be my go-to burp cloths for every type of mess!

And their lovies? Ohhh, I just love them. They are the perfect size for little hands and easy to pack in my diaper bag or purse. From birth, Olivia never took a pacifier (even though I probably had 10 on hand incase she wanted one) but has always loved her little security blankets and still sleeps with one today. All of the Red Bunny Designs' lovies and blankets are made from 100% cotton and the coziest designer minky; the binding though is what really struck me -- it's hand-sewn, heirloom quality. Excluding traditional quilts, I don't think Olivia has a single throw blanket that is hand-bound like these are. And very few lovies I've ever come across are bound in the same way. It's like a mini quilt for your sweet little babe.


Bev and Darcie were so sweet to send along a cuddle throw for Miss Olivia as a "big sister" gift, and she loves using it on her new big girl bed. I love that it matches her baby sister's lovie and burp cloths. Everything arrived in the prettiest little packages, complete with hand-written tags with the girls' names on them and the most thoughtful handwritten card to me. Bev and Darcie don't miss a single detail from start to finish, both in their packaging and their products. Those very small details that are still considered say so much about a shop!

I've been so delighted with Red Bunny Designs and am honored to be featuring them this week. If you'd like to pick up a few pieces for yourself or for a Mama-to-be (their burp cloth sets or designer lovies would make the perfect functional and modern gift), be sure to use an exclusive discount below. And in honor of Miss Poppy arriving in just a few weeks, you can enter to win any lovie of your choice on my instagram @blessednestblog AND earn extra entries in the Rafflectoper below!

coupon code || Blessed Nest readers can save 20% off their total purchase from Red Bunny Designs today through Friday, July 17 using the code BLESSEDNEST20 at checkout / start shopping here

giveaway || For extra entries in this week's giveaway, simply complete the steps below in the Rafflectoper. Be sure to enter on my instagram as well for your entries to be valid. Just find the original post and follow the instructions beneath it. This giveaway runs from Wednesday, July 15 through Tuesday, July 21. All entries will be verified and the winner is responsible for contacting A Blessed Nest within 24 hours of being announced.

7.13.2015

shop spotlight | blueberries and lace

Happy Monday! It seems every weekend comes and goes faster than the one before (how is it already mid-July?), but we are so excited as we count down the weekends left before baby girl arrives. We enjoyed lots of time outside and finished up a few DIYs that have been on my wish list. I also finalized most of the pieces going on our bedroom gallery wall and can't wait to share more with you guys soon!

To kick off a new week, I'm excited to be sharing a shop that creates incredible skincare products for both Mamas and babies! Double win. Today's Shop Spotlight is on Blueberries and Lace Organics, luxury vegan skincare products that are 100% natural and 100% toxin- and animal-free. Founded and owned by Heather Puett, Blueberries and Lace began when Heather found the selection of high-quality vegan skincare products on the market to be virtually nonexistent. Each time she needed a new skincare item, she created it herself. 


Heather shares more of her story below

"In 2008, I transitioned from a vegetarian to a vegan lifestyle. While there were plenty of dietary options in Nashville at the time, I had a lot of difficulty finding the right skincare products to correspond with my beliefs. Most notably, I couldn't find a deodorant that had 3 important attributes: Vegan, Natural, and Effective! That was when I first took matters into my own hands. After a lot of testing, I was proud to have fulfilled my 3 requirements. Soon after, most of my friends were asking me to make them deodorant. With their feedback and support, I followed that same process with several other skincare products."

"The story behind the Blueberries + Lace name is so simple! My other great passion is vintage fashion and styling. As a teenager, I started an Etsy page so I could share my fashion tastes on a larger scale. When it came time to pick a name, I wrote down my two favorite things: Blueberries (because they're delicious!) and Lace (because there's something about lace that embodies elegance to me). When it came time to name the Handcrafted + Vegan + Organic skincare line, I considered changing the name. However, Blueberries + Lace has come to represent the spirit of my business. It's simple. It expresses me for who I am. It makes me happy."

"Though the Women's Deodorant Cream is probably the dearest in my heart because it reminds me of my humble beginnings, I've really enjoyed making safe, natural, affordable products for new mothers as they welcome a new member into their families. Baby Oil and Mama Oil are two favorites because it brings me joy to know I've made an impact on the growing relationship between new mothers and their babies."

"My boyfriend and I grew my hobby into a real business in our quaint "treehouse" of an apartment in Venice, CA. We recently moved back to Nashville so I could return to my roots and so we'd have more space to expand the business. My favorite aspect of owning Blueberries + Lace is the time we spend at our home using our hands to make a product we believe in. It gives us ample opportunity to enjoy one another and discuss plans for the future."


Because I feel it is so important to have quality skincare products made from ingredients I can both understand and pronounce, I just love Blueberries and Lace, both for myself and my daughters. Being 8 months pregnant, even finding a really simple way to pamper myself makes me happy and for that I love their charcoal detox mask. It's an easy way for me to take a trip to the spa in my own home in the middle of nap time or after a long day of nesting (though I think I nest all the time even when I'm not pregnant!)

Another product that both my husband and I enjoy is the daily moisturizer. Although my skin normally isn't overly dry, the summer heat combined with pregnancy has me always wanting to put extra moisture into it, especially after showering and washing my face. Made with coconut oil, vitamin E, aloe vera and lavender oil, it's the perfect blend to keep my skin feeling great all day without clogging my pores or weighing me down.


After Penelope is born, I'll be using B+L's breastfeeding butter and diaper balm. I love that the breastfeeding butter is lanolin-free and made with calendula-infused extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil & shea butter. It's safe for breastfeeding Mamas and their new babies, which is so important to me. I've used the diaper balm with Olivia and love the consistency and how effectively it absorbs moisture, which is especially important in the summer heat! 

If you're expecting like I am, another great product from B+L is their belly balm, formulated to maintain healthy moisture that soothes the skin and combats stretch marks.

And because we can't forget the men in our life, Blueberries and Lace even offers products for them, including men's deodorant cream, beard oil and coffee scrub (though I am all about that coffee scrub for myself!)


If you're interested in trying B+L products in your own home, Blessed Nest readers can save 15% off their total purchase from Blueberries and Lace using the code BN15 at checkout. I have been so happy with everything I've tried and I love how healthy and safe it is for me and my loved ones. Discount valid today through June 19 only / start shopping here

Hope your week is off to a great start!!

7.10.2015

crib to bed transition

I mentioned in Olivia's revamped room tour that we recently transitioned her from her crib to a twin bed. Being that it was my first time doing this, I had no idea how it would go and didn't even really know what to expect. I just knew I wanted to do it at least two months before Penelope arrives so that Olivia could fully adjust and we could move the crib into the new nursery.


Instead of converting her crib into a toddler bed, we opted to move her up to a twin bed from the get go. Even though it seemed like such a big jump from a crib due to its size, it made sense for us since we not only wanted to reuse the crib for Poppy, but invest in a bed that Olivia can use for years to come. 

The Jenny Lind bed we chose is offered in both a toddler & twin size, as well as full and queen and in other colors aside from white. It comes with an 18-year quality guarantee and I love that it is made of solid poplar with intricate wood turnings -- it has so much charm!


Olivia has always been a great sleeper, but I had no idea if or how the transition would affect her. From birth to three months she slept in a bassinet next to our bed, and then at 3 months we moved her to a crib in her own room. I knew I wanted to transition her out of her crib right around age two, and doing so at 25 months has been the perfect timing for us as we prepare for Miss Penelope's arrival.

My biggest fears going into the transition were (1) that she would get out of her bed during naps or in the middle of the night and want to play/read/leave her room and (2) that she would fall out of her bed during the night. Our master bedroom shares a wall with her room and we have a video monitor, but I didn't want her wandering around upstairs when she was supposed to be sleeping or getting hurt.


Overall, the transition has been a huge success. It's been over three weeks now and Olivia hasn't tried to get out of her bed once, which was a pleasant {and welcome} surprise! Both at nap time and bedtime, I lay down next to her and we read at least two books, then I rub her back or stomach.

I got her this Twilight Turtle after a friend recommended it and it has seriously made the transition so easy! We had never used a nightlight with her but I felt that she would want one now that she isn't in a crib, and the turtle was the perfect solution. I love that it can be placed anywhere in the room and that it projects stars and the moon onto her bedroom ceiling and walls. I set it to rotate through the three colors {green, blue and amber}, it runs on batteries and it automatically shuts off after 45 minutes.

I also think a solid bedtime routine has played a huge role in making this a smooth transition. Since we don't always do a bath right before bed, I try to keep it super simple and comforting -- we get in pajamas, she chooses 2-3 books from her bookshelf and then the blanket she wants to sleep with and we both climb in her bed together. I love that I can lay next to her and cuddle, something I obviously couldn't do when she slept in a crib. It's something I look forward to all day long. After reading books, we usually listen to a song or two and then say a little prayer while I snuggle her before tucking her in for the night. She always wraps her arms around me and pulls me in for hugs and kisses before I leave the room. Melt my Mama heart.


Finally, I was concerned about her falling or rolling off the bed in the middle of the night, since she wasn't used to sleeping without being surrounded on all sides. We have one side of the bed against the wall and for the other side, we put on a guard railing that is made for her bed. Initially when I ordered it, I wasn't sure if I would like it or not (I didn't want her to feel like she was in a crib again with sides), but I absolutely love it! The bed is still super accessible and I love the look of it. It's perfect to drape an extra blanket over during the day and incredibly practical. It can easily be removed as she learns her boundaries.

I've also found positive reinforcement has been really successful with her so I reward her with stickers every time she sleeps through her nap and through the night. While every toddler is totally different, this has also been a huge help!

Now that we've transitioned V to her bed and smoothly adjusted to a new routine, I have to face the fact that it's time to start potty training. Wish this 8 month pregnant Mama luck!! 

7.09.2015

feminine & floral favorites

Being that we're already a full week into July, the countdown to baby girl is most definitely on. My official due date is September 7 {which seems so far away} but I'll be full term by August 17. Miss Olivia came two weeks early so we'll see what sweet Penelope decides to do! September sounds like it's ages away but August seems right around the corner. 

I shared my new baby essentials for baby #2 in a post here a few months ago and now that I have all those set to go, I've been picking out a few final fun pieces for baby girl and our home before she arrives. 

I am loving all things floral and feminine shades of pink and red, as well as the always classy black and white combo because it pairs with everything.

This pregnancy has been so much fun because it has given us a chance to revamp every single room in our home. We did a major master bathroom renovation that ended in April and then updated parts of our kitchen, laundry room, and basement. We also completely redid Olivia's room when we transitioned her from a crib to her twin bed. 

The last two things on my to-do list are creating a gallery wall behind our master bed and building a rustic pallet coffee table, which we'll hopefully tackle in the next two weeks! As a stay at home Mom, I spend almost all my time in the home. I love feeling like its the coziest, comfiest, warmest place to be. And it's amazing how little things like new art, new light fixtures, rearranging furniture, etc. make such a big difference!

This whimsical deer dress {1} is the sweetest and I can't wait to hang it up in P's nursery on her "little sister" hanger from my dear friend's shop. I also love this floral boppy cover from iviebaby {2}, but let's be honest and just say I could buy her entire store!

Over the past few weeks I've picked up a handful of new board books for Olivia, as part of her "big sister box" for when Penelope arrives. I'm putting together a bunch of her favorite things {some new board books, lacing cards, a combo sticker + coloring book, etc.} that she can play with next to me while I nurse and I'll give it to her when we bring P home. This landscape primer {3} from Lucy Darling Shop in collaboration with babyLit is en route now and I can't wait to peek inside once it arrives.

I also wanted something super cozy for Poppy for lazy days, nap time and easy changes, and this B&W striped knotted gown {4} is perfect. Erin of Candy Kirby Designs is the sweetest and I still can't believe how soft it is. Wish it came in my size!!

This "Love Never Fails" print won me over as soon as I spotted it; I can't decide it it will make its way onto our bedroom gallery wall or in one of the girls' rooms. And I love this modern crib sheet with poodles {6} from the land of nod; it's just as darling in person as in pictures. 

And even though P will be able to wear lots of Olivia's bows that she has outgrown, it's been fun getting a few special ones just for her, including this mini spotted sailor bow {7} from one of my favorite  headband shops ever.

I've been on the hunt for a neat clock for Olivia's room and this fawn one {8} is at the top of my list. I love that it's wood and would match a lot of the decor in the girls' rooms, so I could use it for either. And last but not least, the pink flowy top {9} is so darling for a little baby girl.

Hope ya'll are having a great week! We sure are happy campers that tomorrow is already Friday!! XO

7.07.2015

our weekend

What a weekend!! Dustin had Thursday and Friday off so we enjoyed a long 4-day one filled with lots of our favorite things. We didn't have a ton on our agenda going into the weekend {usually how I like it} but once Thursday afternoon came, it seemed more and more plans were made and we had such a blast. With less than 6 weeks to go until I'm full term, I think we both have the sense that we want to take advantage of all our time with just Olivia and fill our weekends with opportunities to make lots of new memories, which we definitely did this past one!


Our weekend was filled with homemade lemonade {a craving that has lasted my entire pregnancy!}, lots of delicious food and almost all our time spent outside in beautiful weather as a family.

On Thursday, we took a trip to the local strawberry patch for more fresh berries and our favorite strawberry rhubarb turnovers. We made a pit stop on the way home to get Olivia a kiddie crunch cone at a tiny hole-in-the-wall icecream shop. She loved it, of course. Girl after my own heart. That night we grilled out with my parents and didn't come inside until well after 9pm. I love how long the days are this time of year. I made an angel food cake to pile all our fresh berries on and homemade whipped cream. Yum.

On Friday, we took a fun trip just the two of us to IKEA and went out to lunch at our favorite local pizza joint. I did some grocery shopping during V's nap and then we made homemade summer rolls for dinner, ate outside and settled in for movies and popcorn after Olivia had fallen asleep. 


Saturday we slept in, relaxed, did some DIY projects {more on those coming soon} and then headed over to our best friends' house for homemade pizzas on the grill and root beer floats. Olivia had a blast blowing bubbles with Dad and I got lots of newborn snuggles in, since my dear friend just had her second little one two weeks ago! I can't believe we'll have our own little bundle in less than two months!

On Sunday, we visited the cutest bakery that serves the most enormous muffins I've ever seen and the tastiest scones. Goodness gracious, this Mama was in heaven. Afterward, we explored a new Farmer's Market and then enjoyed an afternoon at my parents' pool in the sunshine. Sunday wrapped up with a good ol' dinner of chipotle and chips+guac {another craving that hasn't gone away} before one final trip to the park and an early bedtime for our little lady.

It was a packed one but so, so good! Hope your weekend was everything you wanted it to be, whether totally relaxing or crazy-busy or somewhere in between! XO

7.06.2015

shop spotlight | 3&3 handmade shop

Happy Monday!! I hope everyone had an amazing holiday weekend. It was so nice having Dustin home from work a few extra days with us girls; we enjoyed lots of beautiful weather, time spent as a family + with close friends and of course, yummy food.

This week's Shop Spotlight is near and dear to my heart because it is run by an incredibly talented & creative Mama, Brenda, who started her shop out of a desire to bless others with her beautiful creations. Using vintage fabrics, designing her patterns from scratch and being fueled by the joy that her pieces bring to each and every customer and family, 3&3 Handmade Shop is something real special.


Brenda, Mama of three with one on the way, so thoughtfully created a custom bunny for Miss Penelope, complete with a "P" stitched into the ear. 


I love the rich and unexpected yellow body, the dainty hand-stitched face and all the vintage floral she incorporated. The floral crown and lace collar + skirt make her so feminine and remind me of a doll I would have found at my grandmother's house from her childhood. It is truly one of my favorite pieces in Poppy's entire nursery, and every single time I see it I can't help but smile. I daydream about Penelope's sweet baby arms wrapped around her bunny while she sleeps, and then as she grows, her small hands carrying it by the arm on all her little adventures. A friend she'll always cherish.


Brenda shares more about her shop below

3&3 Handmade Shop was born out of a passion for creating and giving. In 2014 I came across an amazing organization called GoShoutLove and I was so inspired to reach out and help. I had done my first handmade doll for my daughter's 3rd birthday earlier that year and I thought how great it would be if I made dolls for theses kids being featured at GoShoutLove. Thats really what drove me to start making dolls, and honestly it came at such a great time! I am a stay at home mother of three little ones, ages 4, almost 3, 1, and expecting our fourth on November 9th. I absolutely love being able to stay at home and care for them but with that comes a lot of responsibilities and self-sacrificing decisions. Making dolls for others in need had really given me a sense of belonging and it helped me realize what my hidden passion was. I started sharing my creations on my personal IG account (@brenditastearns) and some of my followers showed interest, so I decided to open up an etsy shop and that's really how it all began. 

I designed my own pattern from scratch and I absolutely love being able to offer something truly unique. I am also a vintage lover so most of the materials I use are true vintage. My husband's grandmother was a famous puppeteer and she gifted me with a lot of her materials that I now add to my dolls for a special touch. Every single doll is unique in its own way. I use the same "body" pattern for all of them but their facial features and hair are unplanned and are born as I go. My favorite part is styling and stitching their hair and creating their little clothes. Makes me feel like a kid again!

My favorite number has always been the number 3. I have three sisters, I am the third daughter, I was born on the third day of the third month, and so on. I knew my shop name had to include that number. The second "3" of my shop name represents the three bundles of joy we had at the time. I really like looking at my shop name and knowing that there is a whole lot of me behind it.

The most rewarding thing about making these dolls is seeing them on my customers' IG feed. It fuels me to no end. It motivates me to keep creating. After all the hours I spent and all the love I poured on creating that doll, it fills me with joy to see how well loved they are in their new home. And knowing that I played a small part in that child's life, that my humble hands created something they will play with and make memories with. It's priceless!

Finding the time to nurture my passion for creating is definitely the most challenging thing right now. Setting time aside to care for my family and all their little daily needs, keeping the house clean and finding ways to keep them engaged while I work is very difficult. We limit our screen time to three hours a week which leaves me alone at home with three very hyper kids!! We also start homeschooling this year. This is one of the reasons why I don't necessarily create dolls for monetary compensation. I guess I treat it more like a hobby than a business right now. Most of my work is for donations to GoShoutLove and various other well meaning individuals who have children with rare or terminal illnesses. I also do a lot of trades with other handmade businesses. It is a great way to get to know other shop owners and try new products for me and my growing family. I do however try to have a few items on my shop available to those who are interested and I am always accepting custom orders, ALWAYS!


If you follow along with 3&3 Handmade Shop on instagram, Brenda is always posting peeks at her latest creations, which just melt me every time. Her imagination and skill never cease to amaze me and one of my favorite parts about each bunny and doll she creates is that one is never identical to the next, making the piece you are giving your little one as unique as they are. She offers pieces for both girls and boys and is wonderful to work with on custom orders. Even when I couldn't quite articulate what I wanted {other than lots of floral, surprise surprise}, Brenda completely brought my vision to life and P's bunny turned out more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.


coupon code || To save $15 off any purchase today through Wednesday July 8, use the code BLESSEDNESTFIFTEEN at checkout // start shopping here

giveaway || Brenda is so generously offering a custom doll to one Blessed Nest reader; the winner will be able to completely design and customize their doll or bunny just for their little one! To enter, simply complete the steps below in the Rafflecopter. Head over to my instagram for additional entries. The giveaway will run from Monday, July 6 through Sunday, July 12. All entries will be verified and the winner is responsible for contacting A Blessed Nest within 24 hours of being announced.


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