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

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