6.28.2017

best of the nest | 4moms moxi stroller

I've shared about 4moms in the past and showcased a handful of our favorite products of theirs -- including their high chair (a total game changer), classic breeze play yard, mamaRoo and more. We recently added their new Moxi stroller to our lineup and I almost feel like I'm not cool enough to be using such a cool stroller. 


There are so many fun features the 4moms Moxi stroller boasts that set it apart from all other strollers on the market, including pathway lights and taillights, rear wheel generators, an LCD dashboard that displays distance, speed, temperature and calories burned, convenient storage, a one-step fold, smooth ride and more.


The first thing that caught my eye about the 4moms Moxi stroller is the overall sleek look it has. Perhaps the neatest part is that, in addition to looking amazing, it has the ability to transform for every stage of your baby's life, from a newborn to infant to toddler and young child, and fits in with every step of your parenting journey.

The actual seat can be used as a bassinet when your baby is born, and if you opt for a travel system, it is compatible with both the 4moms self-installing carseat and a variety of other carseats with easy-to-use adaptors and accessories. Many other strollers have a separate bassinet attachment (which takes up space in your car...something I think about often with 3 kids) but with a few simple changes, the seat converts into a cozy bassinet that is perfect for a baby to relax, stretch out in and sleep comfortably, without having to lug any extra attachments around.

When used as a traditional seat, it can be parent-facing (which I love when my babies are still tiny so I can see their sweet faces) or forward-facing, so your baby or child can see everything around them. It also sports a one-hand lever recline with three recline positions. The straps are easily adjustable as your baby grows and the 4moms Moxi has a 5-point harness for safety, plus a nice padded seat for comfort.


The stroller itself is self-charging via the rear-wheel generators, so the LCD dashboard is powered as you walk and it can even charge your cell phone on the go. It also comes with an AC power adaptor for charging. The front wheels have swivel-locks for rough terrain and there is both front and rear wheel suspension, so it's a nice smooth ride wherever you go.

I also love that it has a 5-position handlebar that is easily adjustable (something I look for in every stroller because I always want it at the top height for comfort), a canopy with a pop-out shade for sunny days and privacy, and extra storage not just underneath the stroller in the large basket but with a dashboard bag and convenient cup holder. I always use stroller hooks to hang my diaper bag off the back to keep the storage basket free for a cooler, gathre mat or picnic blanket and that creates even more space when I'm on the go, a necessity with 3 kids. 


We have been using the Moxi for both Adaline (5 months) and Penelope (21 months), though Olivia (4 years) fits as well, she just prefers to walk and run whenever we're out and about. The Moxi stroller can be used from birth up to 55 lbs and has an easy one-step fold. All the fabric is machine-washable and can easily be removed when your stroller needs a refresh. 

What I love most about 4moms is that they take traditional baby products and reinvent them to fit the lifestyle of parents today, which in turn makes life as a Mom a little easier. Their newly released Breeze GO play yard, similar to their Breeze Classic but slightly smaller to make travel extra easy, opens and closes in one step, something no other brand play yard on the market can do. The 4moms high chair, which we have been using since Poppy was 6 months old, has a magnetic tray that can be put on and taken off with one hand (perfect for when you have a baby in one arm...) plus a magnetic tray top so 4moms dishes stay in place. It has been so much fun to bring a new stroller along on all our summer adventures and Adaline and Poppy seem to love it just as much as we do!

Head over to my instagram @blessednestblog to enter to win your own Moxi stroller from 4moms. Giveaway runs today through Sunday, July 2, 2017 and winner will be randomly selected and announced on the original instagram post within 48 hours of the giveaway ending. Open to US residents only. Earn an extra entry by leaving a comment on this blog post and then letting me know you did so over on instagram! 

6.20.2017

5-minute mango peach salsa

I am always trying to find simple ways to make our go-to weeknight meals a little more exciting, so tonight I'm making shredded chicken tacos and topping them with a mango peach salsa that took me (literally) less than 5 minutes to throw together!


What you'll need:
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 ripe peach, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1/2 red onion, diced finely
Lime
Cilantro to taste, chopped
Sea salt

What you'll do:
Mix your mango and peach together in a bowl, add diced red onion and the juice of half of a lime; add in chopped cilantro (however much or little you want) and a sprinkle of sea salt before serving

I made mine ahead of time so it could chill in the fridge; add more fresh squeezed lime to taste and serve on tacos or chips on the side! Hope you're having a wonderful week so far!! XO

6.16.2017

friday favorites

Happy Friday! We have a low-key weekend ahead which we are all looking forward to after a full week. There are thunderstorms in the forecast tonight and tomorrow and I'm looking forward to just relaxing inside, watching movies and making some homemade icecream with the girls tonight! We have been out having fun in the sun all week so a little stormy weather is welcome, I love how cozy it makes the house feel and rainy weather is the best for sleeping! 


To kick off your weekend, below are a few Friday Favorites!

This two-piece fishy outfit from Tea Collection that Della is wearing is one of my favorite things to put her in for warm summer weather. It's available in sizes 3-6 months (what she is wearing above) to 18-24 months and is currently on sale plus an additional 25% off using code JELLIES at checkout. I also love this blue version. The bloomers are ruffled and wash after wash, the outfit still looks brand new. Tea is one of our favorite places to shop for the girls, they have such unique travel-inspired prints!

I recently got these polka dot shorts for Olivia and they are so darling. You can save 40% off the regular price using the code HAPPY at checkout and if you're a cardholder, an extra 10% beyond that when you also enter the code PLUS10, so they come out to be under $14. If you're a silver cardholder, did you know you can always select the "3-5 Business Day Shipping" for $7 and then enter the code MYCARD at checkout and it will take the $7 off, so you get free 3-5 day shipping on every order, no minimum?! I love this for when I just want to order one or two things instead of having to reach the $50 minimum for free shipping.

You guys have been sending me so many messages asking about what kind of car seat cover I posted in my stories last week and it's the new carseat canopy by Little Unicorn. I got the prickle pots design for Della but they have a handful of super cute ones!

These think king brand hooks are my favorite for attaching to my stroller and hanging my diaper bag. It's so nice when I can hang it, have access to it easily and then it frees up my storage underneath for a cooler, blanket, sand toys, etc., especially when we are out and about for the whole day and I pack basically everything we own. I just ordered a second set for our new stroller so I wouldn't have to switch them between the two and just love them!

I love this set of changing pad covers. We have polka dot bedding in all the girls' rooms (find my fav crib sheet here) so this would be a fun match and seriously, those whales are so sweet!! I don't need any more changing pad covers (we have a few of these ones in gray that we got when Olivia was born) but I have a few friends having babies this summer so I have been eying them for gifts! Also, if you don't already do this, I love to layer Poppy and Della's crib mattresses with a waterproof pad, crib sheet, waterproof pad, crib sheet, etc. This makes taking the top layers off extra easy and I love not having to take the mattress out and put new sheets on every time I do laundry.

Hope you have a wonderful and restful weekend!! XO

6.14.2017

5 simple ways to eat more naturally

I've done a lot of grocery tours and sharing easy weeknight meals we're making in my instastories lately and the questions I get more than any others are...

What is your food budget?
How do you eat organically on a budget?
What do you typically spend on groceries each week?
Do you meal plan? And if so, can you create a post on how you do it?

I sat down with my husband and together we came up with 5 ways to make eating healthy, high quality food simple and budget-friendly. To be honest, I don't really meal plan far in advance and I also don't have a firm "budget" when it comes to groceries. I go to the store with a few ideas of what I'm going to make that week (I have about 15-20 meals I rotate through regularly each month) and I get my basic ingredients for those meals and then always try to incorporate things that are on sale or in season. I don't go in to the store planning to spend X amount of dollars, or trying to stay under X amount of dollars. I basically know what it costs for our family of 4 (soon 5, once Adaline starts solids) to eat organically + naturally and often stay within that range, but for every family that may look a little differently depending on the ages of your kids, portion sizes, if you double meals to make leftovers, how often you cook at home, how often you eat out, etc. 

If you are looking to make simple changes and eat more natural, organic foods without feeling like you have to stress out and break your budget, here are some tips.

1. Buy locally and seasonally whenever possible

Any time I see an item is "locally grown" in the grocery store, I buy it. The closer to home it was grown, the better the quality (and often the lower the price). I also love going to Farmer's Markets all summer long and into Fall; not only am I able to support local growers, farms and their families but I am also able to get fresh, quality produce at a fraction of the cost it would be in a store. Cooking with the season is also a fun way to incorporate ingredients that are readily available, making them lower in cost. For example, making dishes with squash and pumpkins in the Fall and meals with fresh berries and produce in the Spring and Summer saves you time (looking for ingredients) and money. You are going to pay way more for strawberries in the middle of Winter than you are in the middle of Summer because when they're in abundance the prices are lower.

2. Grow your own

Obviously, this isn't possible for everyone depending on where you live and what your year round weather is like, but the more produce you can grow yourself, the more you will save each week. Something like kale that costs a lot in stores, can be grown fairly simply (and quickly) in your own backyard. We personally don't grow much more than herbs right now (not sure I can keep a garden alive when I'm chasing after 3 kids) but we have a handful of friends who have farms and large gardens that give our family anything they have left over, and this always is such a blessing. Another way to grow your own (if you maybe don't have the backyard space or are too intimidated or limited on time to start a garden) is to become part of a neighborhood community garden. Often, you pay a small fee monthly or yearly and are responsible for regular maintenance like weeding and watering, but it's an inexpensive way to grow your own produce, share it with others, and also enjoy items other people in your neighborhood are growing. 

3. Shop the sales

Having a variety of your favorite go-to meals with different kinds of sides and proteins allows you to customize your ingredients with what is on sale. For example, if grass-fed beef is on sale one week, I will plan to make meals that include it -- taco salads, chili, etc. If ground turkey is on sale, I'll do a big pan of lasagna, stuffed peppers, etc. Not only does this stretch your dollar because you are getting more than what you would had there not been a sale, but you can buy extra and freeze it as well. If you plan to make fajitas and see that the organic red bell peppers are on sale but the yellow and orange aren't (which actually happens often, that one color is pricier than another), buy the more inexpensive ones. This seems so obvious but when you have a long list and kids in tow at the grocery store, small prices can easily be overlooked but they make a difference in the long run. Be flexible with your meals and incorporate sides and ingredients that are on sale that week, not just the ingredients in your recipe. If you are making a salad for a summer picnic and you plan on romaine lettuce but see that butter lettuce or spinach is on sale, switch your recipe up. Not only is this the smart way to shop, but you get to try new flavor combinations.

I also shop the sales when it comes to my favorite non-refrigerated food, such as Simple Mills almond flour crackers (the tomato basil ones are our fav), Canyon Bakehouse bread (the yummiest gluten free bread I've ever had), and other favorite snacks and pantry staples. I try to keep a variety of things on hand for the girls for lunches, but stock up on the foods we love when they're on sale. If our favorite eggs (pasture-raised eggs by Vital Farms brand) are on sale, I'll buy an extra dozen and hard boil them for Dustin's lunches and egg salad (we love adding in celery, radishes and red onion and using an avocado mayo) for lunches at home for me and the girls. I freeze a lot...including butter, meat, veggies, etc. If it's on sale and something I regularly shop for, I buy it and find a way to incorporate it into meals for the week or freeze it for the future.

4. Be mindful of the "dirty dozen" and "clean 15"

These are two lists that guide my grocery shopping. If you haven't heard of them before, the dirty dozen is a list of the 12 foods that are most highly contaminated with pesticides, so those are the ones you definitely want to buy organically. The clean 15 is a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that have the lowest contamination levels, so if you are on a budget and unable to purchase 100% organic, buy those 15 items conventionally. 

DIRTY DOZEN: Strawberries, Spinach, Nectarines, Apples, Peaches, Pears, Cherries, Grapes, Celery, Tomatoes, Sweet Bell Peppers and Potatoes -- Buy all those items organically

CLEAN 15: Sweet Corn*, Avocados, Pineapples, Cabbage, Onions, Frozen Sweet Peas, Papayas*, Asparagus, Mangos, Eggplant, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, Grapefruit

*One other thing to note is that some of these crops grown in the US are genetically modified, so buying sweet corn, papayas and summer square organically allows you to avoid this (which is incredibly important)

5. Overlap ingredients

When meal planning and grocery shopping, I plan meals for the week with overlapping ingredients so nothing goes to waste. One box of Spanish rice makes more than I need for one dish, so I'll plan to split a single box into two meals by making stuffed peppers on a Monday and chicken enchiladas on a Tuesday. I also do this often with herbs. Basil is one of my very favorite herbs, and I use it in a warm summer quinoa salad with tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. Instead of tossing what I don't need for that recipe out, I chop it and add it into breakfast scrambles and chicken dishes. Cilantro is another one; making a few Mexican dishes over the course of a weeks' time allows me to use it all up instead of tossing it out. If I find myself with a lot of extra veggies on hand after a week of cooking but no way to use them all before they spoil, I get out my le creuset and make a big pot of what our family calls "lovely lentils" (recipe here).

As far as meal planning goes, I'm not one of those people who can sit down and plan out meals in 1-2 week blocks, mainly because what I'm "in the mood for" changes every hour. What I buy when I shop and what I cook is based largely on what I'm craving, which comes in handy being married to someone who will literally eat anything I make and cooking for kids who don't have a choice ;) We eat a lot of Mexican food (stuffed peppers, chicken enchiladas, taco salads with grass fed beef, chicken quesadillas, fajitas, etc), a lot of salads (chicken caesar salads, garden salads with whatever veggies I have on hand and Italian dressing, and then salads with butter lettuce, veggies, nuts and salad girl dressing), and a lot of chicken and turkey, beef a few times a month, no pork. We aren't pasta eaters, and in fact I don't think I've made traditional spaghetti in years, other than spaghetti squash with meat sauce (which is one of my go-to meals in the Fall), but we love lasagna (and love the leftovers...even better the next day; I pair it with a side caesar salad and usually steam some kind of green veggie) and anytime we're having something that doesn't naturally have lots of veggies, I try to add sides with what I have on hand in the fridge or freezer. I also keep a big glass bowl (here) of chopped, washed romaine lettuce on hand in the fridge at all times to throw together salads in minutes for my lunches. My girl Kendra over at Hen & Co wrote a post that totally echoes how our family shops and stocks our kitchen to meal plan without actually being a meal planner, check it out here.

I hope that was all helpful and if you have any favorite go-to recipes for weeknights, meal planning tricks, favorite products from grocery stores, etc. I'd love to hear them, so feel free to send me a DM or email anytime! XO

6.12.2017

june love list

Things have been quiet on the blog lately as we've been focusing on enjoying the start of summer with our girls and celebrating Dustin's new promotion, which is keeping him extra busy. Olivia starts soccer and swimming this week and she is so excited. She did swimming in the Fall but hasn't ever done soccer before; I can't wait to watch her practices and games. And because we're already two weeks into June (when did that happen??) I wanted to share my June Love List before the month is over!


one || Custom Name Sign from The Trendy Timber

If you haven't yet heard of The Trendy Timber, I guarantee you will fall in love with just one look at their gorgeous handmade wooden signs. Known for their classic round name signs (available in three sizes...24", 18" and 12"), The Trendy Timber is run by husband and wife team Scott and Kelli out of Forest Grove, Oregon. The Trendy Timber was started by Kelli shortly after she found herself as a stay at home mom wanting to fuel both her creative DIY side and contribute financially while her husband was in Optometry school. Together her and her husband create each piece start to finish and offer countless customizations, including a variety of beautiful fonts, colors, decorative elements that can be added (such as mountains or flowers), stain options and more. 

I had so much fun working with Kelli to design this 24" sign for Adaline's nursery and knew I wanted something super simple, classy and timeless, so of course black and white was the perfect color scheme. Over on instagram, you can find the shop's main account @thetrendytimber and see a peek at all the incredible pieces they are making, but for all the details on font choices, colors, sizes, pricing and more, visit @thetrendytimbershop. Kelli suggested special walnut for the stain so the black and white lettering would really stand out and it is a perfect match with the frame of the sign above her crib. When I walk by her room in the hallway, her name sign is the first thing that catches my eye and it truly couldn't be more perfect for the space for our baby girl!

If you're wanting to order your own sign from The Trendy Timber, here is how it works. Kelli opens up her shop on the 1st of every month at 8am PST for a limited amount of orders (usually 100-200). They sell out fast, so you will want to have an alarm set and your customizations typed out to put in the Message to Seller box at checkout. You buy a sign at a base price ($15 for a 12" round, $30 for an 18" round and $45 for a 24" round) and from there it is $4 per character. I was amazed Kelli was able to fit Adaline's whole name, because it is quite long! If you browse @thetrendytimbershop on instagram, you can see all the font choices, color choices, add-ons and more. We chose the madina font for adaline (in color 66) and hipster font for elizabeth (in color 61), then the special walnut stain and 24" round sign. You also enter to win a custom sign over on my instagram @blessednestblog today through Friday June 16. They are the perfect addition to any nursery, playroom, child's bedroom and more. And would certainly make the most thoughtful gift as well!


two || You Belong Here sign from The Peddler's Shed

Another custom piece that was created for Adaline's nursery above her crib is a 30"x30" wood sign with text I pulled from one of my favorite children's books and the very first book I purchased when I found out I was pregnant with Baby #3. I had the opportunity to work with Melody of The Peddler's Shed to create this piece using words that just touch my heart. She completely brought my vision to life in the very best way and after hanging the sign up and seeing it over her crib while she sleeps, I honestly cannot imagine a more perfect piece in the space. 


Another incredible husband and wife team (I think Dustin and I need to start a shop, huh??), The Peddler's Shed offers "perfectly distressed items that inspire and enhance the coziness and comfort of your home sweet home." I love how they put it on their website, "we believe in homemade and handmade" -- that sentiment perfectly captures their wide selection of pieces and their incredible attention to detail, customization and execution in creating the perfect sign for your home. Now through the end of June you can save 20% on your total purchase from The Peddler's Shed by entering BLESSEDNEST20 at checkout, including the You Belong Here sign I designed with Melody for Adaline's nursery. 


three || Sandals from Freshly Picked

In the summertime the girls are often barefoot in the backyard or at the beach, but for when they do need to wear shoes, I have been loving the new sandals from Freshly Picked. Their leather moccasins are my go-to shoes for Penelope and Adaline and have been since I first tried them back in 2013 after Olivia was born, but having an option for the summer that Olivia can also enjoy has been awesome. Their sandals are available in 4 colors and made using a water resistant leather and durable rubber sole; they recommend sizing up from the moccasin or shoe size your child usually wears, so I went with a 12 for Olivia (she wears toddler size 11 in most shoes) and a Size 6 for Poppy (she wears size 5 in most shoes and 4 in her FP moccasins). We also LOVE their newly released Mary Janes, they are so feminine and fun with the darling little scallops and comfy enough to wear all day!


four || DIY Curtain Rods inspired by Restoration Hardware

Since moving into our first house in 2012, we have transformed it room by room, renovation by renovation. We got married in September 2012 and by October, we were pregnant with Olivia. That winter (2012-2013) we completely renovated our basement. Shortly after, we renovated our basement bathroom and laundry room. During my second pregnancy with Poppy, in 2014-2015, we renovated our master bathroom (good thing I know a master licensed plumber) and then in summer 2016, we began demo on our kitchen right after Olivia's 3rd birthday and a few days later, found out we were pregnant with Baby #3. During the third trimester of my third pregnancy, we then did a small renovation on our master bedroom and thankfully, the entire house is now complete! My best friend jokes that if a renovation is happening, pregnancy and babies are soon to follow. 

All this to say, we love home projects. And despite the challenges that come with renovating (especially when you're pregnant and very nauseous in the hot summer and taking care of two kids without a kitchen...), we have loved seeing the transformation from our house to a home and really having the opportunity to put our stamp in every single room. A super simple DIY project that doesn't involve nearly as much work as a major renovation are these DIY curtain rods, inspired by Restoration Hardware. We initially had super simple, basic black rods up in all the bedrooms and this past Spring we took those down and created four sets of these super simple rods. They are timeless and took less than an hour to make. Our favorite curtains are these in white. We have them in all the girls' rooms and in our master bedroom; they are so light and airy and totally what I picture hanging in an old farmhouse. 


What's are you loving this month?? Hope your week is off to a great start!! XO

5.30.2017

a day in the life

I am most definitely a Type A person. Or at least before having children I would have said I was. Maybe now I'm more like A- or B+...somewhere right in that range ;) One of the best things motherhood has taught me is how to be flexible; over the past 4 years I have better learned how to just go with the flow and I've perfected the art of just throwing my hands up in the air and letting go of everything I could stress out about. I have noticed with each baby, I have become more easy going and watch as my daughters have taught me the importance of not stressing over the small stuff.

That being said, I do still thrive on routine. That is a part of my Type A-ness that I don't think will ever go away. But I'm learning the importance of having a flexible routine and a relaxed schedule...just enough structure so that our household runs smoothly and our children know what to expect but not so much that we get stressed out and forget to have fun or be spontaneous. After all, isn't that what raising children is about -- amidst all the sacrifice and hard work -- having fun?!


So I thought it would be fun to share a little glimpse into our day to day routine and how I structure my time as a Stay at Home Mom to our three little girls. After Adaline was born we did a little adjusting and made small tweaks here and there but overall, it is very much the same as it was when we were just parenting two. And I can honestly say having a solid but flexible routine in place has made all the difference in adjusting from two to three. I'd be lying if I said there haven't been hard and exhausting moments (like when all 3 of your kids are crying and you are too...) but I also think the transition has been a lot easier than I expected. I always heard going from two to three was the hardest because you are now outnumbered, but the hardest parts of the transition for me haven't seemed to be related to that as much as I maybe expected.

8am | Olivia and Penelope usually wake between 8 and 8:30am. Once they're up for the day, I'm up for the day. I really should get up before they do so I'm able to eat breakfast and shower without little people pulling on the shower curtain, but I'd rather take my chances and stay in bed a few extra minutes. Olivia usually gets dressed, brushes her teeth and washes her face on her own and then reads books in her room or does stickers until I get her. I grab Penelope a breakfast snack (usually a bowl of fruit like blueberries or raspberries or some cereal) that she eats in her crib while I shower. I also give her a stack of books, as she loves to flip through them and "read" while she munches. 

9am | Adaline usually wakes for the day between 9-9:30am, so on a good day I am able to take a quick shower and get the girls downstairs to our living room by 9 before she is awake. If she's still sleeping, I make breakfast. Usually eggs in some form (scrambled, fried or in quiche I prepped on the weekend), sausage (our favorite is Applegate Farms chicken maple sausage or peppered turkey sausage) and fruit. Sometimes toast or cereal, depending on the day and how much time I have before Della wakes and I need to nurse.

I have loved making quiche in a muffin pan on Sunday evenings for the week ahead; throwing a few of those in the oven for 10 minutes to warm them is a quick and easy (but healthy and filling) breakfast. Plus I did all the prep work on the weekend so I have next to no dishes to deal with. I've also been making lots of sweet potato hashes, which I lived on during my Whole30 days and prep ingredients on Sunday night as well. The girls love any type of breakfast food so the possibilities in the morning are endless, it's just a matter of how much energy I have to cook and clean up afterward. But it really is a treat to be able to eat breakfast with my big girls like we used to before we added a baby to the mix. We try to sit at the table every day, with no TV on in the background or any noise and distractions and just enjoy that face to face time together. 

10am | Adaline is up by now and I'm nursing, so the girls are playing in the living room and the TV is usually on after breakfast. Favorite morning shows are Curious George, Daniel Tiger or Thomas the Train. The main toys we have in our living room for the girls are their Ostheimer wooden animals, two bins of lego duplos, books to read, sticker books, blocks and a bin of their Maileg mice. They tend to stay quite busy playing or watching a show while I sit and nurse or clean up the kitchen.

11am | Bathtime. On school days our routine is a bit different, but on non-school days and in the summer, this is about the time I would give the girls baths if we aren't out and about at one of my mom's groups or having a playdate. We love love LOVE morning baths. I have been saying that since Olivia was born and haven't stopped. I love being able to serve them breakfast in their pajamas and then get them all cleaned up and ready for the day in the tub. Adaline usually goes down for her first nap between 11 and 11:30, so this is a great time where I can focus on Olivia and Penelope and sit next to the tub, play with them, talk with them or get a few things done nearby (usually getting myself dressed and ready or cleaning the bathroom).

12pm | Depending on the weather, we either go downstairs to our basement playroom or head out of the house for errands, a park trip, playing in the backyard or on a walk. If we're staying inside, from 12pm-1pm they usually play or we read books, I fold clothes, prep their lunches, do a little cleaning, vacuum, etc. We'll often throw an episode of Berenstain Bears on (a favorite from my childhood that they both love) in the basement and they've also got their play kitchen stocked with everything needed for tea parties, icecream shop and more, as well as lots of books. If Adaline is still napping, this is another opportunity for me to just sit and play with them, which I've found is really important. If she's awake, I'll nurse her and then give her some wake time downstairs with us. If we're out and about for errands, it's usually at the chiropractor, grocery store or target & trader joes. Otherwise a local playground, nature park or with friends. 

1pm | Lunch. The girls usually eat lunch between 1-1:30pm, depending on what time they woke up and what time they ate breakfast + how big of a breakfast I made. If Adaline takes a shorter morning nap (say 11am-12pm), I will have already nursed her recently and she just chills out while I'm prepping lunch. Sometimes it happens that she wakes right as the girls are ready to eat, and in that case I either put her in our swing for 10 minutes while I prep their lunch or I put her in a wrap and wear her while I prep it. Then once they're eating, I feed her again. After they eat lunch, depending on the time, they get to play a little together or we head upstairs to read books before nap with Della in tow.

2pm | Naptime. I try to get the girls down for their naps between 2 and 2:30pm. When they sleep until 8/8:30, I find this is enough of a gap that they are starting to get tired. If they are up earlier, I adjust it slightly. For nap time, Penelope gets snuggles (which she so sweetly calls "nuggles") and I rock her, snuggle her and sing. We don't usually read a book until bedtime. For Olivia, I lay in bed with her and read to her. Adaline is usually with me wherever I am, hanging out and just relaxing. Her big sisters love being around her, they are the best at making her smile and laugh. Now that she is almost 4 months, Adaline has been going down for her afternoon nap around the same time as her sisters, so that has been amazing because it means I get a nice break while all 3 sleep. From birth to about 2 months, she just slept whenever, wherever. But since 8-10 weeks, I have been trying to get her on a more solid structured routine with naps at the same time every day. Even if she doesn't seem tired, I put her down around the same times (11/11:30 and 2/2:30) so she learns her routine and adapts to it.


2:30pm-4:30pm | By 2:30, they're usually all asleep and this is my time to squeeze as much as I can into the next two hours. I eat lunch, clean up from their lunch, nurse if Adaline isn't sleeping or pump if she is, blog and start dinner prep. Dustin gets home from work about 3:30pm, so if one of them happens to only nap for an hour, he grabs them and plays with them, takes them on a quick walk if it's warm enough, etc. while I finish up what I was doing.

5pm | The girls usually wake between 4:30 and 5pm and on a good day, I will have gotten everything done I needed to and dinner will be prepped or I will at least have an idea of what I'm going to make or have Dustin pick up. We try to cook at least 5 nights out of the week and then usually grab Chipotle, a take and bake pizza, etc. for the other two nights, especially for evenings when Olivia has dance, swimming or we have somewhere to be at the time we would normally be eating dinner. I try to make big enough meals that each meal provides some form of leftovers, whether for our lunch the next day or dinner again, so I'm not cooking every single night from scratch.

The hardest part of our day is definitely between nap time wakeup and dinner time. The girls are usually hungry right when they wake up, asking for snacks, and Dustin is trying to make his lunch for the next day while I am making dinner or feeding Adaline, depending on how long her afternoon nap is. From 5-6pm in our home is an hour of transition and after a full day I'm usually quite worn out but that time too, so I am constantly trying to find a way to occupy the girls while I cook without giving them 10 snacks and flipping the TV on, while still giving Dustin time to do what he needs to do since he's been gone at work all day and wants to shower, pack his lunch, work out, etc. I shared recently in a post here of a few of our favorite afternoon activities for spring & summer.

6pm | Dinner time. Once everyone has eaten dinner, we are all happy campers. After we eat, I clean up the kitchen quickly while Dustin takes the girls to the basement or in the backyard. Then it's usually tea parties or picnics, maybe watching half of a Disney movie and making popcorn, reading books, having dance parties, etc. in the basement with Dad. This is one of my favorite times of day, because the girls have waited all day to play with Dustin and they get a solid chunk of time to just be with him and goof around.


7pm | We start to get the girls ready for bed around 7/7:15pm and are usually out of their rooms by 8. Olivia gets her pajamas on, brushes her teeth/washes her face and then chooses her books while I am getting Penelope ready -- diaper change, pjs, face/teeth, snuggles etc. Dustin usually reads to Olivia at bedtime because I read to her at nap, and I read to Penelope. Before Adaline was born, this would be a "divide and conquer" type of thing; I would take one of the girls and do bedtime and he would take the other. Until Adaline was about 2 months, he did bedtime solo because I was always nursing or pumping. Now that she's a bit bigger and nurses less often, we divide and conquer like we used to.

I read a book to Poppy, rock and snuggle her, and then put her down. Then after Dustin has read to Olivia, I crawl into bed with her, snuggle, talk about her day, pray and sing and am the last one to kiss her goodnight.

8pm | Adaline often takes a very short evening nap after dinner (usually 30-45 minutes), from about 7-8pm. I remember Olivia and Poppy doing the exact same thing, and despite that nap, she is still ready for bed around 9/9:30pm. I love that putting her to bed a little later gives me one on one time with her after Olivia and Penelope have gone to bed and then she sleeps in nicely in the morning. If Adaline is awake and ready to eat again by the time I'm getting out of the girls' rooms (between 8 and 8:30), I'll nurse her while Dustin reads, finishes his lunch, washes work clothes, etc. or he will give her a bottle while I take a bath or do something for myself.

9pm | Around 9pm, one of us will put Della to bed. One thing I learned from sleep training (we used this method) is to always put your baby down awake but sleepy, not sound asleep. This teaches them to fall asleep on their own and has been a huge key in our girls learning to self soothe. I will lay her down, sing to her, pray over her and then turn the sound machine on (our favorite here), lights on low but not complete darkness (she loves looking at her hands in front of her face before she falls asleep) and then within 15-20 minutes she is asleep for the night.

10pm | By 10pm, we are almost always all in bed. Or Dustin and the girls are all asleep and I'm up, enjoying alone time and silence ;) I am definitely a night owl, so I probably stay up later than I should but I love that time after everyone has gone to sleep and I can just focus on me.

Then we wake up and do it all over again the next morning! I'd love to hear how your routine is similar or different. Hope this helps give some insight to how I structure our day and as always, if you guys have questions please feel free to ask! XO

5.29.2017

dark chocolate raspberry granola

Now that Adaline is almost 4 months old and we've gotten into a nice routine with 3, I've been able to spend more time cooking, baking and trying new recipes. Being in the kitchen has always been something I really enjoy and that gives me life. It's one of those things I do for "me" and I know I'm a better Mom to my girls when I am filled up; I have more to pour out to them. 

One of my favorite cookbooks, Against All Grain, has been my go-to lately when it comes to trying new recipes. Last week I made a version of Danielle's grain-free paleo granola and it was such a hit I have plans to make it again soon. So many of you asked for the recipe when I shared a peek on my instastories @blessednestblog, so I thought I'd post it here!


This recipe can easily be modified with your favorite freeze-dried fruit and while it's a little bit of work up front, it's well-worth it for how delicious it is. It's completely grain-free but you'd never know it. We love it on top of unsweetened coconut yogurt, in a bowl with almond milk or just as a snack by the spoonful. The original recipe calls for strawberries but raspberries & dark chocolate is one of my favorite combinations, so I went for that instead. It also says to let the granola cool completely before mixing in the dark chocolate chunks, but I wanted it to melt and almost coat the granola, so I did it shortly after I removed the trays from the oven and used closer to 1/2 cup versus 1/4. Enjoy!


what you'll need
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw pecan halves
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon golden flaxseeds
1 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 cup honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw cacao
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries
large food processor + 2 baking sheets lined with parchment

what you'll do
1 / place all the nuts and seeds in a bowl, add enough water to cover by 1 inch and stir in 1 teaspoon of the sea salt; cover and let soak for 24 hours

2 / after 24 hours when you're ready to make your granola, preheat the oven to 170° degrees

3 / drain the nuts and seeds and place on a paper towel to absorb the remaining water; transfer to the bowl of a large food processor and pulse the nuts until they're the size of oats

4 / place the honey, coconut oil, cacao and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat until the cacao has dissolved; add to the food processor with the cinnamon and remaining salt; pulse twice to combine

5 / pour the mixture into a bowl and mix in the coconut with a spoon; turn the mixture out onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spreading evenly into thin layers

6 / once the oven is heated, put the baking sheets in and use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door open just a crack to let the moisture out; after 2 hours, carefully stir the granola; dry for another hour at 170°; after the additional hour drying, turn the oven off, close the door completely and dry for 1 more hour -- so 4 hours total in the oven: the first 3 at 170° with door slightly open, the final hour with the oven off and door completely closed

7 / after 4 hours of drying, remove the baking sheets from the oven and let cool; once cooled, mix in the dark chocolate chunks and freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries; store in a glass jar or airtight container

Hope everyone has had a wonderful long weekend!! If you make it, I'd love to see how it turns out! Post a photo in your stories or on your feed and tag me @blessednestblog so I can see! XO

5.25.2017

summer afternoons

Olivia finished her first year of preschool last week and now that summer is here, we are always striving to get outside and enjoy the weather and time as a family. Some days that is easier than others and this May has been incredibly rainy compared to years past. Most mornings we wake up, I shower, make and eat breakfast with the girls, the girls take baths and then we head out the door for a playdate, errands or an appointment. Afternoons are usually spent outside just playing and relaxing, whether before lunch or afterward before naps.

After the girls wake up from their naps, I feel like we are always searching for activities to keep them occupied. They usually nap from about 2-4:30pm and there are those 1-2 hours before dinner where they seem to basically be asking for snacks or to watch TV. Being that we try to limit both the snacking and screen time, I have been trying to plan fun little activities that get us out of the house and out of our routine a few days a week. Even if it just means going to Nana's and having a picnic in her yard, filling the gas tank & getting a carwash with them along for the ride or reading books in the sunshine, it feels good to give them something to look forward to when they wake up that's different and exciting. 


The girls love books probably more than any other activity, and sticker books are a close second. They will literally sit on our couch for two hours straight doing their favorite sticker book (here). Olivia actually does each page and Poppy mostly just stacks stickers on top of each other and onto everything around her, but it keeps them occupied and having fun, plus pretty hilarious to hear Poppy say, "sticker book peas Mama" with a big smile.

Olivia has been loving doing wipe clean preschool workbooks as well, as she is learning to write the alphabet, her name and spell words. Her favorites are this one and this one.


For books, you can find all our favorites in this A-Z post here, but lately we've been loving the new board book version of Adventures with Barefoot Critters (above), The House in the Night, Each Peach Pear Plum, the Orla Kiely board books and Fairy Friends board books.

We also love going to local ponds to feed ducks & geese, taking walks around our neighborhood, park hopping, having "snack picnics" where we pack a handful of healthy snacks (a few favorite are blueberries and blackberries, bare cinnamon apple chips, pistachios, string cheese and sometimes popsicles) and just camp out somewhere nice and enjoy the warm weather. We always bring along our gathre mats for a comfy place to sit; we love these because they wipe clean and are perfect for both indoor and outdoor activities.

We also love laying in the hammock, doing bubbles or sidewalk chalk (another great way for Olivia to practice her letters) or running a fun errand like the carwash or to the book store. Some afternoons we bake, have tea parties or do puzzles and water wow pads in the backyard (the girls love these, they're great for the car too). We have a bunch of bird feeders in our backyard so once a week I will refill the feeders with the girls' help. We just recently added a new window feeder to our collection so the girls love standing by the window and watching the birds just a few inches from them. They love learning the names of birds and calling out the colors they see on each one. I grew up birdwatching with my Dad; he basically knows everything about every backyard bird ever to exist, and with just a few random descriptors he can identify them in seconds. Birdwatching is a hobby I love so much so it's fun to raise my girls instilling that same interest in them. And to see birds up close and all their little features really makes you appreciate God and the splendor of His creation.

Another popular activity for summertime is anything + everything water-related. My parents have a pool which we take full advantage of during the summer but it's not something I'm able to take all 3 girls to unless I have Dustin along because I need to basically be in 3 places at once and when water is involved, that is a challenge. We had a blow up pool last summer in the backyard which was fun, but then killed all the grass underneath it so at the end of the summer I threw it out. Ha. I'm on the hunt for a nice water table because I know the girls would love that, but every one I see is so full of plastic and bright colors, so if you have any recommendations of one you love that is a bit nicer to look at, I'd love to hear them! We also love playing in the sprinkler with the girls especially on super hot days and this sprinkler attachment makes it extra fun.

Now that Summer is here, we are trying to spend as much time outside as possible and its always nice to switch up our routine. I'm pretty sure the girls would be content doing the same thing day after day, but Dustin and I love taking them new places and making new memories, even if it's just down the street to sit in the grass, eat animal crackers and read their favorite books. Last summer at this time we were starting to renovate our kitchen -- a major task -- and a week after we began demo we found out we were pregnant with Baby #3. It was a long, hot summer for all of us and I am so grateful to be on the other side of things this summer, not only with my kitchen complete but with all 3 of my girls here with me.

Hope this gives some fun new ideas for the warm days ahead! Thanks for reading! XO

5.22.2017

best of the nest | cybex cloud q

As a first time Mom back in 2013, navigating the world of baby gear was totally & completely overwhelming. Dustin and I had no friends having babies at the time and as an only child, I didn't have sisters to ask about their favorite products either. Perhaps that is why one of my favorite parts about blogging is the opportunity to showcase all the products we love, that are tried and true in our home and our family and fit for the modern mom. One of the newer products we've added to our lineup is our Cybex Cloud Q infant car seat and I wanted to share all that we love about it in a Best of the Nest post.



We had been using the same infant carseat for all 3 girls since Olivia was born and while we loved it, it was just about to expire (did you know carseats expire?! You can find the expiration date on the back or bottom of most carseats), so we were due for an upgrade for Adaline. Cybex is a global brand which offers car seats, baby carriers and strollers that are created to perfectly adapt to urban lifestyles and families on the go, all without sacrificing safety. All Cybex products have a sleek design, which I love, but also the highest standard in safety designed and engineered in Germany, which of course as a Mom is incredibly important.

As soon as our new Cloud Q arrived, we installed the carseat base into our SUV and took a trip to the lake, one of our favorite weekend destinations. I love that the carseat easily clicks in and out of the carseat base but also that I can put it directly onto our double stroller to create a travel system. Cybex carseats work directly with Cybex strollers but they also can be used for many different brands of strollers using adaptors.

We are often walking around the lake on bright sunny days, and I absolutely love the matching integrated foldaway sun canopy, which offers sun and wind protection with UVP50+. I love the look of the canopy but even more than that, love that it is amazing at keeping the sun out of Della's eyes when we're out and about, and then folds back to be completely hidden when not in use. One of my biggest complaints with our old infant carseat was that even when I was using the sunshade, her face and eyes were never fully shielded, so I would have to drape a light blanket over the top or use a carseat cover that fully covered the front but then didn't feel it was very breathable for her.


We've also been loving the unique ergonomic design which allows the Cloud Q to have a full-recline position outside the car, both on the ground and in our stroller. All my babies were known for falling asleep as soon as they got into their carseats because of the motion of the car, and with this feature I can easily recline the seat and Della can sleep safely and comfortably whether we are stopping to have a picnic lunch with the girls or walking around the lake. It takes just seconds to recline the carseat and can be done using one hand, without even having to take your baby out of the carrier. When you do this, the leg rest is extended in the front and the backrest is extended toward the back. I haven't ever seen a carseat that is able to do anything like this, so that definitely topped the list for my favorite feature. Above you can see the carseat in it's standard position on the left and the carseat fully reclined on the right.

Another feature we love about the Cloud Q is the telescopic L.S.P. system, or "linear side-impact protection." Easily adjustable, the LSP system is designed to protect your child by being the first source of side-impact in a collision, instead of the carseat itself. The Cloud Q is created using a flexible material and structure, which then absorbs the impact forces further and channels them away from your baby.

The Cybex Cloud Q is designed for infants from newborns up to 35 lbs or 30" tall. The Cloud Q comes with a removable newborn inlay and can be used rear-facing from birth to approximately 18 months. It has an 11-position height-adjustable headrest with an integrated harness guide, meaning the length of the harness changes automatically when the headrest is adjusted. I love this because I don't need to constantly be rethreading the harness like I did in our previous carseat!

You can read more about all the features of the Cloud Q in depth here.

So far, we have been so happy with the carseat itself and how well it fits into our lifestyle as a family of 5. Adaline can come along with us no matter where we go and I love knowing she is always safe and comfortable. The stylish factor is just a bonus. If you have questions about the carseat I didn't answer here, send me an email or direct message on instagram @blessednestblog and I'd love to chat with you about it.

Hope you're having a great start to your week! We are already counting down to the weekend ahead and hoping to get outside again to soak up these lovely Spring temps! XO

Thank you to Cybex for sponsoring this post. I received a Cloud Q carseat in exchange for it, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

5.15.2017

may love list

Each month on the blog I share a few of the items we have been loving lately in our home and family in my Love List series, so here it goes for May!



one || I love sharing the products we use in our home and with our girls, especially when it comes to our favorite bath, hair and skin products because there are so many on the market it can be overwhelming to find one you love that also works well and is safe for your whole family. One of our favorite brands for that is Wash With Water, an organic line of skincare for newborns on up to big kids -- offering everything from body wash to lotions to shampoo, bubble bath and more.

They have a newer big kid line which we started using this Spring with Olivia and Penelope and have been loving. My favorite products from Wash With Water to use on Adaline are their foaming newborn cleanser (which I got hooked on when Penelope was born in 2015), their classic baby shampoo and body wash and their Kissable Skin Lotion. You can get the newborn foaming cleanser in an unscented version and then we also love their Sweetpea & Me scented shampoo and body wash, which I of course had to try when Poppy was born because we have always called her our Sweet P. Next on my list to try is their lavender hair detangler spray, because Olivia's curls are so long and thick it can sometimes be a challenge to comb through them. They also have an all natural bug spray which is on my wishlist for the Summer ahead! You can use the code BLESSEDNEST for $5 off your purchase from Wash With Water at checkout if you want to give their products a try!



two || I have always always wanted to put wallpaper up but was too scared to commit to something and then hate it; it was one of those things that was totally out of my comfort zone. By nature, I am not a risk taker at all but wallpaper is one of those risks that is totally harmless and fun, so I figured why not?! I was so excited to partner with Walls Need Love to showcase the most gorgeous black and white sketch floral design in Olivia's bedroom, not only because it finally made all my wallpaper dreams come true, but because it is easily removable without damaging the wall. Dustin and I put it up over the course of a weekend in two parts, we took a break mainly because Olivia needed to go to bed! ;) For the whole wall it took about 4-5 hours total start to finish and was surprisingly easy. Getting it positioned correctly was quite simple once we got the hang of it, and it has the feel more of a fabric than paper, so it doesn't crease or wrinkle and the quality isn't compromised by sticking and unsticking to get it just right.

I absolutely love the feel it gives the room and was amazed that by adding a single accent wall, the entire space would be transformed. It is just the coziest place to be in, I love the unique pattern and that it catches my eye even when I'm passing her room in the hallway. In choosing which pattern to go with, I wanted something incredibly neutral so that it would match the girls' furniture and bedding. I also knew I wanted something floral because lets face it, I love all things floral. If you're looking for a new way to revamp a space in your home, Walls Need Love is so much fun and the perfect weekend project.


three || I shared these a few weeks ago in an instastory, but we just recently added a few new BlaBla Kids dolls to the girls' collection including Pepper the Cat and Pearl the Dog. Olivia and Penelope have been asking for a cat and dog for quite some time now, and for some reason I feel like having a fourth child would be easier right now than adding a pet to our family. So I figured these were the perfect compromise. BlaBla Kids offers the most darling knit dolls, pillows, mobiles & more, all handmade by artisans in Peru.

four || We aim to be rooted in minimalism around here but one area we are definitely not minimal in is our blanket collection. With 3 little girls and so many gorgeous options out there, I just can't say no. Between swaddles and quilts, we use them for everything under the sun so at least they're getting a lot of love and not just sitting around! Over the past 4 years since Olivia was born I've tried just about every swaddle out there and my very favorite shop for swaddles is Max and Moose, run by the sweetest Mama Alyssa. She offers swaddles in the most gorgeous, neutral colors and they are seriously the softest blankets I've ever felt. I love the look of them, the feel of them, how cozy they are, the colors she sells and especially love that they are made in the US. Each swaddle is garment dyed and put through a series of specialty washes to create the incredibly soft texture. For Spring she just released two new colors, Desert Rose & Ocean Mist. We also love her classic Camel swaddle, which we have been using since Della was born. It still has that lingering newborn scent on it, totally heavenly. You can use the code BLESSEDNEST for free priority shipping on orders over $50 from Max and Moose at checkout today through the end of May.

five || You may have seen pictures or instastories of me hammocking with Adaline recently, and once the warm weather rolls in, that is my absolute favorite spot to be. Bonus if a little baby is laying in it with me ;)

In our backyard we have two perfect hammock trees and a few years ago we invested in one from REI and haven't looked back since. All Winter Olivia asks me when we can get the hammock back out and once it's up, it is the perfect spot for snuggling, snoozing and relaxing with my little girls. We have an ENO DoubleNest Hammock in Khaki + Black and then the ENO Atlas Hammock Suspension System, which is amazing and allows you to anchor your hammock on to any tree, anywhere. Setting it up is super simple (read: less than 5 minutes) and once Winter comes, we just take the suspension system off the trees and put it in our shed until Spring.


Hope you guys are having wonderful May so far! Olivia turns 4 next week so we are in full party prep mode over here for her "Picnic Party" this weekend! XO

5.08.2017

our weekend

Happy Monday! We had a really fun weekend and spent most of it outside enjoying the beautiful Spring weather. This time of year is my favorite!

On Friday night Dustin and I had a couples night out with 22 of our closest friends -- 12 couples total -- for dinner at our favorite steakhouse & bowling. Dustin and I lead a married couples group in our church and also host them in our home every month so to celebrate the end of the season we all went out. I am definitely the world's worst bowler but it was such a blast, and it was the first time Dustin and I left all 3 girls at home with my parents since Adaline was born so that felt amazing to be out just the two of us!


On Saturday we had a slow morning, made a big breakfast and relaxed around the house. One of my closest friends who is pregnant with her first baby (a girl!) stopped by to visit and then Dustin and I took the girls to the park. Then it was nap time and family photos. We had the most beautiful weather and did a lifestyle session at a local farm with the photographer we've had since we were engaged in 2011. It's always so much fun for me to plan the girls' outfits, accessories, and watch everything I envisioned for the session come to life. It was magical. We have another one coming up in June so I'm back at it, planning again and finalizing the details for that.

Striped Dress from Pine + Honey Handmade | Use NEST15 for 15% off your purchase through the end of May

On Sunday we relaxed, I spent a lot of time in the hammock with Adaline, we ran a few errands, I made my favorite quiche (recipe from this cookbook) for the week ahead and then chicken enchiladas for dinner. We had our first fire of the season, made s'mores and my Dad stopped by after a motorcycle ride to visit with the girls. My parents live just a few minutes from us and I am so grateful to be able to see them all the time and for them to be so involved in our girls' lives the way mine were growing up.

May is one of our favorite months of the year for so many reasons. Adaline is being dedicated on Sunday, Mother's Day, alongside two of my closest friends' babies, who were born just days after her. We are moving Olivia into Poppy's room this month, finalizing Adaline's nursery, celebrating Olivia's 4th birthday and getting ready for the summer ahead. Sunshine and lots of park hopping and backyard dance parties are what it's all about as the warm weather arrives. I hope you all are having a wonderful start to your week!! XO

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