8.26.2016

friday favorites

Happy Friday! I had my 16 week OB appointment yesterday and just set up our next ultrasound for early September, we are all so excited to find out what we're having! Olivia goes back and forth, always telling me something different but mostly just saying "One will be a boy, one will be a girl!" I gently remind her that we're just having one baby at a time ;)

We have a fun weekend ahead of us with plans of a date day for Dustin and I at our state fair (hello, deep fried three musketeers!), which means the girls get to spend some time with Nana (aka their favorite person ever) and a double date on Sunday with friends of ours. I'm very slowly getting the house prepped for Fall because I don't feel like I can officially start until September is here, but having a brand new kitchen to decorate just makes me so excited! Below are a few Friday Favorites to kick off your weekend. Those of you who are ready for Fall will especially appreciate them ;)

one | This wool garland is my top pick for Fall decor and bonus that it's from one of my dearest friends' shops. We have some new art to hang in our kitchen on our shiplap wall and I can't wait to drape this over it; it just arrived yesterday and it's so fun & vibrant, the perfect festive piece!

two | Our 4th anniversary is coming up next week and I not-so-secretly dropped the hint to Dustin that this pumpkin towel was on my wishlist (along with my favorite small batch almond toffee and sea salt caramels...). Anthropologie is offering free shipping today, making it the perfect time to purchase since its not sold in most stores. I can't wait to drape it over my farmhouse sink; it has me wanting to break out all my pumpkin recipes!


three | Olivia loves playing pretend and I have been on the hunt for a doctor kit for her for months, wanting something wooden and well made rather than something plastic that would break right away. I came across this one from Little Cottonwood and now that it's here, she is having a blast being a doctor to me, Poppy, her bear and every other stuffed animal in the house! I also love the black and white geometric playmat, magnetic fishing set & wooden cutting food. You can save 15% off your total purchase from Little Cottonwood using the code BLESSEDNEST15 at checkout, valid today through Thursday September 1, 2016 // Start shopping here


four | This week Olivia and I took advantage of Poppy's long morning nap to do some baking together and we made this pumpkin crumb cake. You can make it gluten free by using our favorite Cup4Cup flour, which is always what I use to bake. It's incredibly easy to make and so delicious, not too sweet with just the right amount of pumpkin flavor and spices, making it the perfect pairing for coffee or eggs at breakfast time or a light afternoon snack!

five | This boo striped dress may be my favorite Fall dress ever for little girls. I ordered it last week using some discounts and rewards and ended up getting it for only $3! The sweatshirt top is super cozy and the tutu is really fluffy with multiple layers. I have a feeling Poppy will be living in this all Fall long, especially paired with some fun leggings as the temps drop!

six | Alice & Ames released their fall collection today and let's just say Olivia will be wearing their dresses all Fall and Winter long. She asks to wear a dress every single day (girl after my own heart) and these are our absolute favorite. So many fun choices of both solids and patterns and perfect for school, adventures, family photos and more!

seven | I am loving these ankle boots for the cooler season ahead, not too high of a heel and feminine detail on the top with the cutout. They come in both taupe and black and I love how versatile and classy they are! These ones with a round peep toe are also fun and perfect to sport before the snow flies.

eight | Last but not least, this slow cooker enchilada quinoa looks amazing. I could eat Mexican food 7 nights a week and always crave it during my pregnancies, so this is on the rotation for our next cool night. Quinoa is one of Olivia's favorite foods and something I always keep on hand so I can't wait to try this version and top it with some fresh avocado and Fritos!

Happiest weekend!! XO

8.22.2016

Baby #3!!

I shared yesterday that we are expecting Baby #3 in early February and we couldn't be more excited to be a family of FIVE next year. Thank you to everyone for all your kind words & congratulations!!


Olivia and Penelope are 27 months apart; I absolutely love their spacing and how I had over two full years with Olivia as my only child. I really wanted to be able to treasure my first few years as a new mom and soak in every experience & every stage before adding Baby #2. 

Once Poppy was born, of course things got even more fun and being that Olivia was 2.5 at the time, she was already so independent and helpful. Now that she is almost 3.5, I barely feel like I need to do anything for her, she constantly impresses me with all the things she does for herself, for others and to help me around the house and with Penelope. It certainly makes my days less stressful, since most of the time I feel like I'm only taking care of one! ;)

{so beautifully illustrated & with words that made my heart melt}

Our hope and prayer was that Baby #3 would be closer in age to Poppy than our first two were, just to experience something totally different. They will be 17-18 months apart, depending on when he or she arrives. We are so grateful for this unfolding adventure as we prepare for our new addition and look forward to seeing their sweet little face! We find out what we're having in just under a month and can't wait to start creating a special space in our home for our little babe once we do. We've had both names chosen for almost a year now, and I'm looking forward to calling them by name after we find out.

Hope your week is off to a great start!! It feels like Fall around here and we are all loving it. Pumpkin crumb cake is on our agenda this week as well as backyard picnics and lots of naps for us all! 
More pregnancy + baby updates to come! XO

8.19.2016

kitchen update + our week

This week has been an exciting one, as our backsplash went in on Tuesday and we have been enjoying our new (and almost complete) kitchen! We started demo back in early June and it's been a busy summer of taking on such a major renovation with two kids running around and so much heat + humidity but seeing our vision come to life has been so worth it.

Our goal was to be finished by the end of August and we just have a few final touches (outlet covers, open shelving above the dishwasher and touching up trim) that we're planning on finishing up this weekend before we add some art to our shiplap wall and really make the space ours, so it feels amazing to be ahead of schedule and to have a full kitchen back to cook in again! I'm pretty sure I've made just about every one of our favorite dinners and baked nearly every night since our appliances went in!


This week we spent some time at the local Farmer's Market with the girls and Olivia chose a bouquet of sunflowers to bring home, seriously one of my favorite flowers ever. And these were about the size of Poppy's head!!

On Monday night two of our closest friends dropped off loads of fresh produce from their farm + garden so we've been enjoying making meals out of that...I'm pretty sure I'm going to spend the weekend boiling and freezing sweet corn, because we have oh about 20 ears of it which will last all winter in soups + stews.


My go-to breakfast lately has been a tomato basil scramble with chicken maple sausage, both girls love it as much as I do and I love being able to make us all breakfast at the same time now that Poppy pretty much eats whatever Olivia and I have.

For dinner this week we made homemade gluten free pizzas with applegate uncured pepperoni (we love how big the slices are!) and fresh basil and then BLTs with fresh tomatoes and romaine. I always feel like I'm in a dinner rut because I overthink my meal planning and often tend to make the same meals over and over, but I forget that dinners can be super simple by just utilizing fresh ingredients on hand. 


This weekend we have our annual summer event at our favorite waterpark with a bunch of families from our marriage small group, which is often one of the highlights of our summer. I plan to make homemade caramel rolls to kick off Saturday morning, always a favorite breakfast around here. More kitchen sneak peeks coming soon. Hope you have the best weekend!! XO

8.17.2016

organizational favorites with pehr designs

As the end of summer rolls around and Olivia heads back to school -- and all the other Fall activities we are involved in kick off -- I always get the urge to get super organized and update the girls' rooms with some fresh accessories for the new season. We try to keep our home pretty minimal as far as toys and "stuff" goes, because we love our open space so much with room to move, dance and play. And I've always believed that a clear home = a clear mind. What mama wouldn't benefit from that?!

As each new season approaches, I go through all the girls clothes, accessories, shoes, and mine + Dustin's closets and belongings as well and try to get rid of as much as possible. I almost always find I can give things away to friends or family that we no longer need or use who will benefit from them or resell clothing that we no longer wear or that has become too small for the girls to fit in. It always feels so good to start a new season with less stuff and more space, and with everything we do have, organized!

It seems there are so many options for storage these days, everything from baskets to bins and more. We love using them for everything in our home -- from the girls' books, toys, blocks and blankets to dolls, crib sheets, shoes and more. I love that because they're open, it's always an invitation for kids to play and create. Poppy loves pulling blocks and toys out of bins in our playroom and when we go in the backyard, I just grab a bin of books or toys for the girls to play with on a blanket. They add convenience and make clean up a breeze, since Olivia knows where everything goes and can easily put it back when she's done.

I've partnered with one of my favorite companies for home and children's decor, Pehr Designs to share our favorite storage solutions. Launched in 2010 by childhood friends Jennifer Kelly and Rebecca Perren, Pehr Designs offers a line of classically simple yet modern home accessories. Below are a few of my top picks from their wide variety of beautiful storage items.

We have a set of these grey pom pom bins in varying sizes and I love that they're neutral but still add some fun texture and style to whatever room they're in and versatile enough to be moved around the house as needed. It seems like the girls want to be in different spots to play every 5 minutes so being able to grab our bins with all our toys and move as they do keeps life simple. I love how versatile their sizing is, making them function for all your needs big or small.


Pehr Designs is offering 30% off their entire range of storage items to help you and your family get organized as the new school year approaches, both at Pehr Home & Petit Pehr, their complementary children's collection. To take advantage of this offer, simply enter the code PENCILS at checkout. The promotion is valid today through Sunday August 21st.

To start shopping, visit any of the links above for a specific piece or find all their storage products here. Happy organizing! 

8.15.2016

parasol favorite features + a giveaway

A few weeks ago in a post here I shared our newest obsession with Parasol Co. and their amazing natural diapers + wipes. The diapers are modern + fun and so fluffy soft without being bulky or stiff. The quilted wipes make me feel like I'm at a spa {because they smell like cucumber + aloe} instead of changing a diaper and they are conveniently delivered every month to my doorstep in the exact size I need. Total mom win, right?! 

Over the coming months, I'm partnering with a handful of my favorite brands to feature all of our must-have baby essentials and what could be more essential than diapers + wipes?!


I shared just about everything we love about Parasol Co. in July's post and gave an in-depth look at what sets their products apart and what the company stands for. Now that we've been using them for about 6 weeks with Poppy, I thought I'd give an update on our favorite features as well as how long each month's box lasts us and how you can try them out yourself if you haven't yet.

F A V O R I T E  F E A T U R E S

+ I love how luxuriously soft Parasol diapers are while still maintaining their eco-friendly, natural status 

+ I can't get enough of the fun modern prints. In the summer Poppy wears dresses every day and I don't even feel the need to put bloomers on her because the diapers are so stylish, why would I cover them up?!

+ I love how absorbent the diapers are. We have tried just about every diaper out there and these rank the highest as far as combined comfort + absorbency goes.

+ The wipes. I could probably write an entire post on the wipes themselves, they're just that good. We use them for everything around here -- diaper changes, in the bathroom, in the car, in my diaper bag, wiping hands and faces and more. They smell great, feel great and are thick + durable but still super gentle on my girls and myself. I also love that they're naturally scented with a refreshing cucumber and aloe but that it doesn't linger or create a sticky residue like wipes with synthetic fragrances.

+ I love the convenience of Parasol's monthly subscriptions. This is a no-brainer, but being able to have my diapers and wipes delivered to my door makes life so much easier. Yes, I run errands often but by the time I get Olivia in the front of the cart, Poppy in her carseat in the main part of the cart and add stuff some groceries around them, the last thing I have room for is a big box of diapers. Anyone else?! Subscribing is super easy and I love that I can go into my account anytime and adjust my subscription -- you can change the frequency of your deliveries (every 3-, 4-, 5-, or 6-weeks) as well as the diaper designs and size. This makes it super simple to size up as your baby grows and try out all the different designs they have. I have my subscription set to arrive every 5 weeks, because I was finding that I didn't finish a full box of diapers in one month. The wipes, however, I cruised through because we literally use them for everything. When I'm running low I love that I can just order individual packs of wipes in either the full size (72 total in each) or a handful of travel packs (20 total in each) here under their SHOP tab. For parents of multiples, setting a delivery frequency of 3 weeks ensures you have enough diapers for both your babes



H O W  T O  T R Y  T H E M  O U T 

+ Parasol Co. offers monthly subscriptions tailored to your child and family's needs as I shared above. You can visit their website here and click on "SUBSCRIBE NOW" / Parasol offers both a Diaper-only subscription and a Diapers & Wipes subscription, which is what we do. Having an account allows you to easily log in to see when your next box is shipping, grab the tracking number once it does, modify your size & design for next month and change how frequently they arrive based on your needs.

+ When you subscribe, you'll be prompted to answer questions about your baby (name, gender, age and weight), select your diaper size and your design collection (both of which can always be modified for future deliveries) as well as enter BLESSEDNEST in the PromoCode box to save 20% off your first subscription!

+ Parasol Co. also offers a free trial if you'd like to give their diapers and wipes a try before subscribing monthly. To take advantage of their free trial, you can visit their website here and click on the "Free Trial" tab. You'll get 8 diapers in your choice of size and a 20-count pack of their wipes for only $5 shipping. This is a great way to see if they're a fit for your family. 



And of course, what's a Monday without a little giveaway?! 

I am so grateful to be able to share the products we believe in + love using in our own family with each of you so I've teamed up with Parasol Co. to give away ONE MONTH OF DIAPERS & WIPES {$85 value} in the SIZE & DESIGN of WINNER'S CHOICE to one of you! To enter,  head over to my instagram @blessednestblog to the giveaway post here.

For an extra entry, leave a blog comment below sharing a little bit more about yourself or your family! Giveaway runs today through Sunday August 21 and the winner will be announced on the original IG post once the giveaway closes. 

Hope your week is off to a great start!! XO

8.09.2016

end of summer playlist

One of our favorite things to do on summer nights is eat dinner in the backyard and play music in the background. Yesterday while the girls both napped, I did some reading and ended up falling asleep in our hammock while Dustin mowed the lawn... I can't remember the last time I did that, it was so nice. Anytime we can be outside we are happy campers!


Olivia always wants to dance and Poppy loves watching her and joins in by waving her arms and clapping. I'm pretty convinced that music just makes every night together better. Below are a few of our favorite tunes, perfect for relaxing nights and dance parties all month long.

e n d  o f  s u m m e r  p l a y l i s t

can't stop the feeling | justin timberlake

i know somebody | locash

from the ground up | dan + shay

wherever i go | one republic

livin' the dream | drake white

cecilia and the satellite | andrew mcmahon

think of you | chris young with cassadee pope

classic | mkto

sleep without you | brett young

night's on fire | david nail

What are your favorite songs right now? Hope you're having a great Tuesday!
XO

8.08.2016

best of the nest | ellia may designs

Having little girls, it seems there are endless options for bows & hair accessories, our favorite of which are always handmade. This year I've had the opportunity to share a few of the very best in my Best of the Nest series, along with a handful of other brands and products we love and use everyday in our home and for our family.

Today is all about one of my favorite shops for high quality modern and stylish bows, Ellia May Designs, which is owned and run by Mama of two, Tessa. She offers a variety of fabric bows, our favorite of which are the sailor bows. I love their shape and overall look and they come in just about every color and pattern you could imagine, with new ones continually being released. Her new Fall collection just came out and this evening teal one is my absolute fav.


Tessa shares more about herself and her shop below:

"Hi I'm Tessa! I am a mama to two of the most spirited fun loving little rascals who know how to keep me on my toes! I am mommy/wife first and a bow maker second! Being a mom and a wife has left me with very little time for myself and to do things I love. I tried lots of things before finding out that making hair accessories was my niche."

"I created Ellia May Designs in June 2014 (named after my daughter, Ellia May) shortly after she was born. I wanted to make bows and hair accessories that were simple and classic in style, but I also had to have some bright and funky ones too. Making them ideal for tiny newborns to older girls was my goal. With so many gorgeous prints, patterns and textures in all the fabrics, I choose only the best and I am always meticulous with my work. If I wouldn't buy it, I am not selling it."

"I love to have plenty of options for any customer; so there are lots of great solid colors, and fun bright prints and patterns designed to go with every season or holiday. I even create and design some of my own fabrics so they're truly one of a kind. I wanted the bows to be timeless and fun and last through every adventure. So I got to work and I created this little business!"

"Being a wife and a mom is a full time job, especially for our family since my husband is a firefighter and his schedule is pretty grueling. We try and make the most out of family time together. Summers are spent doing lots of water activities, being in Northern California it gets pretty hot! When I'm not making bows, we can be found at drive in movies, spending time with friends and family, and having dance parties...Lots of dance parties!"


Tessa's bows are the perfect size for all ages, I love that they make a statement without being too big. Now that Poppy is almost 11 months, she tends to reach for and pull off bows when they're extra big. I love the size of these because she doesn't even notice she's wearing them!

All the bows from Ellia May Designs can be put on nylon that will stretch to fit almost every head size and grow with your baby, making them last longer. They can also be made in to clips for toddlers and older children. I love this magenta polka dot sailor bow and this white daisy one {below}, which has such a fun vintage look to it. This Liberty of London floral sailor bow is another favorite, so perfect for transitioning from summer to fall.


Because we love Ellia May Designs bows so much, I teamed up with Tessa to give some away to you! Not only can you save 20% off your total purchase using the code ABN20 at checkout (discount valid Monday August 8 through Sunday August 14 only), you can also enter to win a $50 shop credit to Ellia May Designs over on my instagram @blessednestblog here. Giveaway runs today through Sunday and the winner will be announced on the original post. 


Hope you're having a wonderful start to your week!! XO

8.03.2016

neutral back to school style

August is already here and we are all feeling extra giddy. Our kitchen is nearly done and that is definitely something worth celebrating. Our quartz countertops were supposed to take 2-3 weeks from measurement (meaning they wouldn't go in until mid August) and two days later we got a call saying they're ready to install! They go in tomorrow morning and then Dustin can hook up my farmhouse sink and new dishwasher on Friday after work and next week we can backsplash. We've never had a dishwasher before so you can imagine I am quite excited, not only to have one but to be done washing all our dishes by hand in our laundry tub in the basement.

August marks the start of our very favorite string of months. It means the end of summer (which really translates to...Fall is coming, our favorite season) and the State Fair, something Dustin and I look forward to all year. It also means that cooler weather is on the way. Our anniversary is the 1st of September, then comes my Dad's birthday, Poppy's 1st birthday and her party, my Mom's birthday and our family photos, along with a few other things I'm so excited to share soon! 

September also means Olivia will be starting dance one night a week and preschool 4 days a week. The marriage group that Dustin and I lead in our church kicks off mid-September and both of the Moms' groups I'm a part of start up as well. After a pretty low-key summer, we are looking forward to having a little more on our calendar and getting into a regular routine, seeing all our friends often and keeping days a little more filled. I rounded up a few neutral favorites for transitioning to cooler weather and heading back to school, most of which are currently on sale. Clearly stripes are a favorite this time of year all year round for us. I love dressing the girls in neutral pieces and then pairing fun shoes and accessories with them. 


The floral one-piece and peplum-hem anorak are definitely two of the pieces I'm most excited for the girls to wear this Fall. I stacked discounts a few weeks ago and ended up getting the coat for only 0.96 cents! It's lightweight but still warm, making it the perfect transitional piece before the snow flies. And it has a hood, always a plus. 

Cozy sweatshirts & sweatshirt dresses are my favorite Fall staple, because they can be paired with fun (read: floral) leggings and they're comfy enough for the girls to play and nap in. I thought the ruffle navy dress was so feminine and would be darling paired with tights and a sweater as the temps drop. These cable footless tights are my go-to, I picked up a few pairs for both Poppy and Olivia. And matching the girls in jammies is so much fun, this cat nap set (available in 6-12 months to 5T) was too cute to pass up. 

This time of year just makes my heart so full and we have so much we're looking forward to in the months ahead! I hope you're enjoying August so far and squeezing every last drop of summer left. XO


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