9.28.2018

friday favorites {cozy fall edition}

Happy Friday!! We've had cooler weather all week and it has me dressing our girls in cozy sweaters, leggings and boots and I just had to share all my favorite pieces for the season with you guys!! Dressing three little girls is so much fun, and because living minimally is so important to us, I always search for pieces that are simple, timeless and can be mixed and matched easily (aka: neutrals) so we can maintain a capsule wardrobe. Each season I add a few new pieces that will pair well with what they already have and my #1 rule when shopping for them: I only buy pieces that I LOVE!!
one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten / eleven

Our girls are 5, 3 and 20 months so right now I can shop across baby girl, toddler and girls -- such a wide variety!! I tried to include pieces above for all different ages since mine are in such a range.

Give me all the cable knit tights, pom poms and buffalo check this season. Oversized sweaters, simple tops and items for layering keep our girls comfortable, stylish and of course, warm & cozy as the chilly air sets in. What items are you loving this season?? 

9.20.2018

hold the moments

It's thunderstorming outside, all the windows are open and my babies are napping. The sound of nothing but the rain falling always puts me in such a place of peace and inspiration. I feel like it's been quite some time since I've written here (like, really written) and with a lot of opportunities for reflection over the past few weeks, I wanted to share something that is so apparent in my own life right now that chances are, as a Mom you are facing too.


On our way to Kindergarten last week, on Olivia's first day, as I was driving she said to me from the back of the car, "Mom, you don't need to come in with me. You can just drop me off at the curb. I'll be just fine." 

Cue all the mama emotions. (Spoiler: I still went in that morning and proceeded to walk her in all week long. Oh and I told her she isn't allowed to call me Mom until she is at least 10, it will be Mama until then). Then today for the first time, I pulled the car up and dropped her off at the curb and watched as she walked in on her own. I trusted that she would make it to her classroom all by herself, that she would find her hook and hang up her backpack and put her lunch where it needed to go. And that she could do it without me. As I drove away from the school, I thought to myself, "I just did it. I just took one more step of letting my baby girl go." Even though it may seem silly or small, for whatever reason it was so significant to me. And it was then that I realized such a core truth of motherhood -- you learn to let go a little at a time, and how we hold the moments we are given with our children is what matters most.

Maybe you're as sad reading that as I am writing it, but over this past Summer and in to Fall I have found that to be so true. It is what shapes how I approach every single day of motherhood. Even the chaotic, overwhelming, messy, noisy days. The ones where you are totally late to everywhere you're going and forget your kids' shoes or snacks or move from diffusing one tantrum to the next (maybe even because of the lack of said snacks). The ones where you're totally convinced you could handle another baby or the ones where you aren't sure how you kept all of your kids alive. The ones where you feel like you're sinking and flying at the same time. The ones where your youngest refuses to get off an elevator and then you're trying to jam the doors open as they begin to close so she doesn't get trapped inside without you and then you drop your parking ramp ticket down the elevator shaft in an effort to pull her out. Yes, that happened yesterday. The ones where you don't know what you're doing but you're just so grateful you get to do it. That God trusted you with these tiny humans that are imperfect yet so very perfect all at the same time. Do you ever have any of those??

For the first time in 5 years, we no longer need a stroller everywhere we go. I can run errands without a diaper bag and pregnancy seems like a lifetime ago. I've since forgotten the fog of the newborn days and exahustion of the sleepless nights and I may even appear like I have it more together than I did back then (another spoiler: I don't). 

We no longer have bottles on our counter or swaddles in our laundry baskets. And to be totally honest, I feel equally excited and sad about that at the same time. Let's get real though, I want like 10 more babies so mostly just excited.

Adaline is now 19 months and when Penelope was that age, I also had a two month old, so it feels very different + unfamiliar to be entering a season without a baby in my arms. Olivia is in 5 day Kindergarten and we celebrated Poppy's 3rd birthday earlier this month, though she seems so much older than 3 to me with the things she does and says. And sweet little Della, who we call the silent partner, copies everything her big sisters do so even though she seems so grown up, I tell her everyday she is my baby and needs to stay that way forever ;)

I have often heard it said, "The days are long but the years are short" and I don't know if I've ever found any quote to be more true.

I had friends ask me how it felt sending Olivia to Kindergarten and if I was happy or sad and it got me wondering: how did we get here?? How did we get to the point that my first baby, the little girl that made me a Mama back when I was just 23, was already 5 and going off to Kindergarten?? I realized that so much had happened over the past 5 years and I began reflecting on how I held on to the moments I had with her. The small, simple ones where she'd come and sit next to me on the couch without saying anything or tell me her three favorite parts of the day at bedtime while holding my hand. And the big, exciting ones where she learned how to walk and talk, write her name and fold her own laundry, paint and draw and then to teach her baby sisters how to do all the things she had mastered and loved so much. And the everyday moments in between. The hundreds of meals we have shared and the countless times I have braided her hair and snuggled in bed or listened to her pray with a soft, gentle voice. The moments I rubbed her back or sang her a lullaby or rocked her or read books to her or watched her play with bubbles in her bath as a little baby. Her first giggles, first smile and first curls. 

In only a matter of minutes, hundreds, thousands of moments came flooding back to me. I'd held on to each and every one; I'd been present in the moment with her, and after living it, tucked each one away in my heart for a day like today. A day where I had to let a little more of her go. I could grab hold of these memories and look back on them with so much joy and it lessened the sadness of the letting go.

If you are a mom, you certainly know this feeling well. Maybe it's sending your baby off to preschool, kindergarten or elementary school. Maybe it's a certain age or birthday celebration (doesn't 5 seem so much older than 4??). Maybe it's something they accomplish or something they say that makes you realize how much they've grown. Or maybe they go to bed one night and just wake up looking like a big kid instead of your little baby and you find yourself with a pit in your stomach wondering how so much time passed and how you can slow it down or stop it altogether.

So whether the moments come easy or land hard, are loud or silent, hold on to them. Let them happen and be present. Laugh with your babies and cry with them. Let them be little and be quick to forgive their mistakes and messes. Focus less on correcting and more on connecting. Chase each other at the playground instead of observing from the bench while your husband chases them. Say yes when they request to sing a song to the baby you're rocking instead of getting in to bed. Read them the extra book, snuggle for 5 more minutes and just lay in stillness with them in your arms and hold on to the moment. 

It is in these small, seemingly insignificant moments that we are truly alive. That we are truly in our calling. That we can truly let it sink in how incredible it is to be called Mama and to have the privilege of raising these children. It is in these moments we cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Of contentment. Of joy. Of connection. Of peace. Of significance and purpose. It is these moments that make up a life well lived. And how wonderful that we get to live it well, with our babies, every single day. 

9.05.2018

poppy's birthday wishlist

September is HERE and it's one of our favorite months of the year! Olivia starts Kindergarten next week, the temps are dropping (yessss), we've got lots of birthdays to celebrate, our favorite apple orchard just opened for the season and so much more!! Hello, FALL! You're our favorite and we missed you.

I've shared a lot about how minimal living matters so much to us and I often get asked about how I handle gifts for the girls, especially for birthdays & holidays. I thought it would be fun to share a few tips on giving + receiving gifts if you are pursuing minimalism and then also share what is on Poppy's wishlist this year! She turns 3 next week and she requested to go out to the original pancake house for breakfast and have balloons, confetti and brownies. Girl after my own heart. Her two favorite things ever are princesses and art (especially painting), so those themes are what her gifts center around.
one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten

Poppy asks to paint, color and do watercolors pretty much all day long. We can most often find her sitting at our kitchen table with some kind of art project out. Covered in whatever art she is doing ;) Olivia has a set of Kid Made Modern watercolor paints that Poppy always wants to use so of course we put her own set (9) on her birthday list this year. For her, it's a major bonus if the pictures she is painting are of princesses and the "Fairest of All" watercolor book (10) is one of the girls' favorites so I ordered another set that came with two other princess books. Something new we are excited to give her this year are Ooly watercolor crayons; they look like so much fun with (hopefully) little mess. My parents got her the glitter set (3) and this classic, neon & metallic set. By far my favorite gifts to give are "activity" gifts -- things that will be used often and enjoyed over and over.

Other favorite things of hers are beads, stickers (7) and legos. This new Petit Collage bead (6) set looks so darling. We also love the B. brand Pop Arty beads, which Olivia and Penelope sit and play with daily. Olivia received a lego set for her birthday back in May and since then we've added a few to her collection for sticker chart rewards. She sits for hours building the sets, following step by step instructions and having so much fun seeing what she can create. Poppy always sees Olivia doing legos so she asked for her own set for her birthday. There are so many fun Lego Juniors Sets (4) and even some for 5-8 year olds that she will be able to put together with a little help from us. This Surf Shop set is a favorite of Olivia's and I recently picked up this one on sale for her for Christmas this year.

Beyond art supplies, we are giving Poppy a new rainbow pillow for her bed (8) from one of our favorite shops, BlaBla Kids, because she is all about green and blue lately and the girls talk about + draw rainbows nonstop. She also loves Maileg mice (just like her big sister...noticing a theme here?!) and I thought this wooden pram (2) was so darling to add to her collection.

Last but not least, the tea set (5) is a toy we already have but thought it would be perfect to share. We've had ours for years in the girls' play kitchen but about a month ago I was trying to come up with a way to make bathtime a little more exciting without buying new bath toys. I had the idea to set up a tea party for Olivia and Penelope and their green toys tea set (5) became the perfect bathtime toy. They love having tea parties in the tub with lots of bubbles and because the set is so lightweight, it floats in the water!

Here's how I handle gifting:
For whosever birthday it is, we let each of their sisters pick out a small gift for them (such a fun tradition) and then I also create an Amazon Wishlist for friends & family. If you haven't yet heard of this, it is a game changer when it comes to gifting!

On Amazon, you can create a custom Wishlist (under LISTS) and add whatever items you want. I have an ongoing list for each of our girls and whenever I come across something I know they'd love, I add it. Then as birthdays approach and family starts asking what they can get our girls, I just send them a link to the wishlist! They can order directly from Amazon and everything is marked off once it is purchased so you don't end up with the same item twice. I absolutely love this because then our girls are given gifts they will actually use and enjoy -- and because Grandparents seem to insist on buying things for them to open, this is the perfect solution.

Another tip for gifting if you are pursuing minimalism: ask for 'experience' type gifts instead of toys. Let your family or friends know you are wanting to purchase a Zoo pass for your family or a Children's Museum pass and that anything they are willing to contribute would be put toward it. Suggest a friend buy a giftcard to a favorite kids bookstore where your child can pick out their own book or to family-friendly restaurant for a special date night out with your son or daughter. Gift an experience to your child in lieu of presents -- let them pick out their favorite movie, put on their coziest jammies, pop some popcorn (a favorite treat in our house!) and create a fun movie night at home. Or take them to a movie in theatres, a special play or performance if they're old enough. These offer the opportunity to make memories and mean so much more than toys. Plus they don't create clutter ;)

Do you have any upcoming birthdays in your family this month or next?? What is at the top of their wishlist?? We love making our girls each feel extra special for their birthday and finding ways beyond just giving gifts is so much fun for me as their Mama!! Hope your September is off to the best start!! XO

8.28.2018

fall favorites

August has come and gone so quickly, perhaps the fastest of all the Summer months, and we have been filling it to the brim with all our favorite things before Summer officially comes to an end. Olivia doesn't start school until mid-September which is so nice -- it feels like we have a little extra time to fit in everything on our Summer Bucket List. But let's get real, we love Fall more than any other time of year so we are just a little bit excited September is only days away. We spent the weekend at the State Fair with Olivia and we have our End of Summer lifestyle session this week and then a fun apple orchard session planned for later in September so finalizing all the details and picking outfits for that has been so much fun.

September 1st is our wedding anniversary which makes this time of year extra special. Both my parents' and Poppy's birthday are all in September also, and then Dustin is early October. That plus falling leaves and apple-everything brings so much to look forward to.

We've had some cooler days lately and lots of thunderstorms which make the house feel extra cozy and reminds us that Fall is right around the corner. Sleeping with open windows is one of my very favorite things and feeling a cool breeze come in through the kitchen as I'm making breakfast just makes the morning even better. Rounding up a few of my favorite Fall things today incase you love the upcoming season as much as we do!!
one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight

Of course Fall brings cooler temps and new mugs are a must as the air chills. I love the look of enamel mugs (1) and drinking from them makes me feel like I'm seated around a campfire. We love making hot apple cider on the stove (especially when entertaining) with cider from our local orchard, cinnamon sticks, mulling spices and fresh orange slices. It makes the house smell amazing and gets better the longer it steeps. I keep a mug rack out filled with my favorite mugs and then guests can each choose one and enjoy. We also love hot cocoa with our girls and my go-to drink before bed is a cup of peppermint leaf tea (this kind is my fav). Give me all the festive mugs.

For creating the most amazing smelling home (with so many benefits far beyond that), we love using our essential oil diffusers and the lantern diffuser (2) is my absolute favorite for rainy days and at bedtime. My go-to diffuser blend for Fall is 3 drops orange + 3 drops cinnamon bark + 2 drops cardamom -- unreal. I also love pine in the diffuser mixed with lavender or northern lights black spruce, our 'sweater weather' blend. Diffusers are an amazing alternative to burning candles (which are often super toxic!) and this one can be set on a candle-flicker mode that is so dreamy day or night.

Of course, no change of season is complete without new books. I've had The Thank You Book (3) on my wishlist for our girls for sometime now and can't wait to give it to Poppy for her birthday. The illustrations look so darling. Another new favorite is Platters and Boards (5), which is so perfect for Fall entertaining and gatherings of all sizes. What better way to welcome Fall than curled up under a cozy pom blanket (6) with new books to look at?!

As the leaves begin to fly I love pulling out extra throw pillows for the girls' beds and our couches and this opalhouse pillow (4) stole my heart with its deep navy color. So soft and cozy!

Wire baskets are perfect for holding pillows, blankets and even favorite books so they're easily accessible for little ones. I recently got this black wire one (7) and love it. It comes in two sizes -- I use the smaller one in my bathroom for oils and the larger ones spread throughout our home for toys and stuffed animals.

Last but not least, the come as you are sign (8) is perfect for a dining or living room and is currently on sale!! I feel like we do the most hosting in the Fall as our small groups get up and rolling and we have lots of birthdays to celebrate so its always fun to add a few new pieces to our walls or switch up what we have hanging up for a new look.

What are you loving for Fall?? Share your favorites below!! Thanks for reading!! XO

7.31.2018

back to school favorites

Olivia will be starting Kindergarten in just over a month (how did that even happen??) and even though we are loving Summertime, with all the cool weather we've been having lately, it has me thinking about dressing our girls for my fav season ever, Fall. 

I shared about how we create a capsule wardrobe for our girls recently in a post here and have had lots of you asking me what pieces I'm adding for the upcoming season. I thought it would be so much fun to put together a few of my favorite looks, including the chambray jumpers I just cannot get enough of and a matching romper for Della. Long live polka dots and stripes.
one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten

If you've followed along for some time, you'll know I am always drawn toward classic, simple styles and timeless colors. I use this as my guide when buying everything -- and it allows me to mix and match the girls' outfits, carry them from season to season with layering, and add fun pops of color with accessories.

I've shared about our love for Tea Collection many times and they continue to release the most darling clothing. Compared to many other brands our girls wear, Tea clothes last and last and I'm able to pass them down from daughter to daughter. I am loving their newest collection -- especially the ruffle sleeve tops, which are available in 4 colors including my two favorites above (3, 8). They are perfect under Tea's new chambray jumper (5) which both Poppy and Olivia will be sporting this Fall and equally perfect on their own with jeans, layered with a sweater or jacket and even a vest. Of course Della needs to match her big sisters so I chose a coordinating striped romper for her (1).

Hands down the pants I get asked about most that Olivia wears are these striped culottes (7). They are so sweet for any age and on sale right now!!

Other favorites are the super dainty buttoned shirt (4), neutral jacket perfect for layering (6) and of course the sweetest handmade shoes (10) from one of our favorite shops, Adelisa & Co. Finally, I love shopping JCrew Factory because I almost always come across fun pieces at amazing prices, including this navy bell sleeve top (9) that is only $12 (!!!) -- perfect for the end of Summer and all throughout Fall.

Have anything that has caught your eye as you're looking ahead to Fall?? I'd love to see what pieces you're most excited to put your kids in! Hope you are having the best week!! XO

7.22.2018

capsule wardrobe 101

I share a lot about minimalism on my blog and am actually in the process of writing a book about minimalism + motherhood (a dream I've had for some time!!) and one of the keys to living minimally is learning to create what is called a capsule wardrobe.

A capsule wardrobe refers to a collection of clothing that is composed of interchangable items to maximize the number of outfits that can be created -- most often these are classic, timeless pieces (lots of neutrals) that can be layered and interchanged to work year round for every season based on how you style them. I do this for myself and our three girls and it has been a game changer in our spending, laundry, closet organization and of course, minimalism in general.


All the clothing we own for our three girls (5, 3 and 18 months) fits in a single 4-drawer dresser. This includes their pajamas. They each have one drawer of their own clothing and then we have one pajama drawer that all 3 of them share. Their rooms have large closets but we primarily keep them empty or hang up nicer dresses, photo shoot pieces, etc. 99% of their wardrobe is kept in their dresser and I love it. I can fold laundry in less than 5 minutes and have it all put away in less than 10. Mom win.

5 keys to creating a capsule wardrobe:

choose pieces that are neutral 75% of the time // This is how I shop for both myself and my girls. I love grays, whites and blacks or solid color pieces that I can layer a jacket over easily or tights under (black leggings or skinny jeans for me). Keep patterns simple and classic -- think stripes and polka dots, nothing too bold and bright. If you have girls, use fun brightly colored bows, bonnets and shoes to add a pop of color to an outfit. Neutral pieces will transition nicely no matter the season and never go 'out of style' like a very unique momentarily trendy piece.

a few neutral staples in the girls' wardrobes:
polka dot & solid color ballet dresses (alice + ames)
army green peplum lightweight zip up jackets (old navy)
basic tees and long sleeve shirts in neutral colors (zara)
solid color peplum crews or hoodies (childhoods)
blue jeans (gap and old navy)
black leggings (cat & jack)
leather sandals in summertime and leather boots in fall/winter (adelisa & co)

a few neutral staples in my wardrobe:
white ripped jeans (1 pair)
denim ripped jeans (1 pair)
classic skinny dark blue jeans (1 pair)
black jeans or similar form fitting black pants (1 pair)
black leggings (of course)
white tanks & black tanks
black, white & cream bralettes
black peplum tee
basic white top with some lace and flutter sleeves
army green jacket (my fav here)
jean jacket (mine is from apricot lane boutique, one of my fav stores ever)
black romper (also apricot lane)

look for layers // When I am picking out clothing for Spring & Summertime, I make sure to select pieces I can easily layer in the Fall & Winter. For example, for the girls, ballet dresses in the Spring & Summer are perfect paired with cozy tights, boots and a sweater in the Fall. Add leggings or tights under rompers or one pieces for younger babes as the temps drop. And as you start simplifying, you'll really get to know (and always remember) exactly what you (and your kids) own -- you won't overbuy it, wondering if you need this or own something that color, etc. 

For myself, I love my green madewell jacket and my jean jacket for layering -- I throw them on over everything. When my favorite tops are white, black and grey, the green jacket is perfect. When I'm wearing something a bit more colorful (but still nothing bright...I love muted tones like mauve and olive), I'll wear my jean jacket because hello, denim looks good with everything

Whenever I buy something for myself or the girls I ask, "How can I layer this?" -- because I want to transition everything to the next season seamlessly. The goal of a capsule wardrobe is to not have to run out and buy 20 new things every time the season changes, but rather add in 4-6 new pieces per child (max) depending on what they need most for that season. 

only buy what you love // Since I started shopping and living this way, I noticed one of the best parts was that every single thing in my closet -- from jackets to tops to pants and shoes -- was my favorite thing. Something I loved. That I didn't want to take off. And that I wanted to wear every single day. If you have clothing in your closet that you don't love, why do you own it?? If you have pieces that don't make you feel beautiful or confident, get rid of them. When you start rebuying and rebuilding your capsule wardrobe, only buy what you LOVE. Don't settle for pieces that are 'okay' or 'look fine.' And do the same for your kids. If I don't love something (because obviously I'll be seeing it all the time on them not to mention washing and folding it regularly), I won't buy it.

less is more // I only own 3 pairs of jeans and they are the best fitting, most comfortable jeans ever. I love them and I want to be in them all the time so there is no need for more than 3. They fit well, look good and are neutral so I can pair them with everything. When you find pieces like that, they are the cornerstones of your capsule wardrobe and you won't be tempted to buy every pair of jeans you find or try on, because nothing will live up to the few you own and love. 

With my girls, the less I buy (despite how much darling girl clothing is out there), the happier we all are. Olivia and Penelope love picking out their clothes in the morning and it's always a simple, quick process for them to get dressed because they aren't overwhelmed with choices. Everything is 'their favorite dress' or 'their favorite shirt' so there is no complaining or arguing. This saves time and stress as a Mom. 

You may see cute pieces in stores or online (hello, small shops on instagram) but remind yourself that less is more. Limit yourself to just 4-6 new pieces per child per season (max) that fit the above criteria. And make sure those pieces fill in the gaps for what they actually need. If your daughter has tons of dresses, let the pieces you add in this Fall be sweaters or tights or a cute neutral jacket. Try not to buy another dress because you're aleady well stocked in that area. Or if you do, get rid of two that she owns and doesn't wear often. Look at what categories of clothing they have a lot of and what they need more of and let that guide your purchases. And for every one thing you bring in to your home, get rid of 2-3 things you no longer love, wear or need.

forget about the rules // I get asked by my friends who want to start a capsule wardrobe, 'how many shirts should I own?' or 'how many pairs of shoes are appropriate?' and it's honestly so hard to give you a number or to set strict rules in place. For me, 3 pairs of jeans is perfect. For some people, that may sound like way too few. 

The key to starting to minimize and create a capsule wardrobe is ending up with less than you owned when you started. Maybe your closet is overflowing or your kids' drawers are so full they can't be closed and you know its time to make a change. Cut what you own down by 1/3-1/2. Then see how well it works for you. Maybe you can continue reducing or maybe it feels like it's just right. If you cut your closet in half and still feel overwhelmed by the amount of clothes or choices, continue reducing. It's a process of trial and error and the actual number of shirts or pairs of pants you end up with (or your kids end up with) will be a little different for everyone.

For me, I always err on the side of less (3 pairs of jeans, 3 neutral jackets, 12 tops or less, 2 pairs of black leggings, etc) but that doesn't mean you can't have a little bit more than I do. 

Ultimately, let the current pieces you keep (from what you already own) and the new pieces you buy (to revamp or refresh or fill in gaps) as you get started be guided by the following questions:

Do I love this? 
(or does my child love wearing this?)

Does it fit me (or my child) well?
(I suggest trying everything on and seeing how you actually feel in it based on the fit)

Do I feel amazing in it? 
(or does my child enjoy wearing this?)

Would I go out to the store and buy this today?

Do I reach for this at least once every 2 weeks? 
(or do I put my child in this at least once every two weeks?)

Will I wear this (or will my kids wear this) in the next 2 months? 
(with the exception of winter jackets in summertime, shorts in winter, etc)

If the answers to any of the above questions are no, donate it or pass it along to a friend who will wear it and love it. The question 'would I go out to the store and buy this today?' is probably the most eye-opening for me. When I was creating my capsule wardrobe and laid out all my clothes and started asking myself that question, I was amazed that so many times the answer was no. I wondered why I bought it in the first place. And it has helped me to be much more selective with what I buy now -- for myself and my girls.

I hope this post was helpful and gives you a good starting point if you are wanting to minimize. If you would like me to share more on the topic of minimalism, creating a capsule wardrobe or anything else related, leave a comment on this post or send me a message @blessednestblog and let me know what you're looking to see and I'd love to put something together for you!! Thanks, as always, for reading!! XO

7.12.2018

our summer playlist

Hi friends!! Hope you are having the BEST summer ever so far! 

We have been busy spending our days outdoors, eating lots of popsicles (these are our fav!), playing in the sprinkler, park hopping and enjoying the endless sunshine. The girls are all so tan and every day I envy their dark olive skin (which they definitely got from Dustin). Della is a little blondie, which is so much fun to see since her big sisters are brunettes and between her tan skin + wispy blonde hair it has me hoping Summer never ends. Olivia did ask me the other day, "When will Fall be here?" and although it feels so far away now, Summer is going by so much faster than I realized so I thought I better get back to the blog before any more time passed!! It has been so refreshing & rewarding to really step back and focus on my girls but I still love coming back to this space to share and for all of you who are still reading & following along, I so appreciate it!!

Whether we are playing inside or out, cooking breakfast, cleaning the house or grilling in the backyard, we almost always have music on and I thought it would be fun to share our Summer Playlist if you are on the search for some new tunes!! I often share my fav songs in my instastories and get asked for playlists. They are always heavy on the country but usually have a good mix of sounds + moods and we always find a way to dance to them. Poppy usually wakes up from her nap and says, "Mama, can you put music on for me?" and we dance together in the kitchen. One of those things I never want to forget. Find last year's Summer Playlist here


What has been the best part of your Summer this far?? One by one we have been crossing things off our Summer bucket list but still have so much left we want to do, including a backyard campout, more farmer's markets, a movie in the park and the long awaited state fair. Summer always goes by just a little too fast, so I am all for soaking up the moments + memories and all the sunshine I can get :)

6.21.2018

minimal living 101

I've shared about minimalism over the past few years of blogging and how it's brought our family so much freedom and peace of mind. Since getting married in 2012 and then having Olivia in 2013, we have been pursuing minimalism as a couple and family and have been able to get rid of about 75% of our belongings over the last 5 years. I had the chance to speak on this topic to my MOPS group this past Spring and it sparked so many amazing conversations and got so many Moms thinking about it and wanting it for themselves, and because it's been so life changing for us, I thought it would be fun to do a post that offers a good overview of minimalism if you think it might benefit you & your family too! 


I am going to bulletpoint what I think is most important that you know about minimalism and then give you some steps to get started! I also have all my favorite articles linked under my minimal living page to serve as resources. 

what minimalism is:
simplified living
being thoughtful about what we bring in to our home
removing distractions that keep us from knowling & fulfilling God's purpose for our lives
an appreciation of space
prioritization of the things that really matter
getting rid of what isn't necessary
less stress
a means to allow you to accomplish what you were created & called to do
finding satisfaction in what you do have and treasuring it all the more
practicing self-control and teaching it to your children
putting people above possessions
knowing exactly what you own and where everything is in your home
only having things in your home that bring you joy
a lifestyle
a mindset

what minimalism is not:
owning nothing and living without furniture in a home with bare walls
the same as organization (you can organize all you want and still have a house filled with stuff)
about never buying anything
about feeling deprived
getting rid of everything once and then letting it reaccumulate

what minimalism means for us:
a clean & clutter-free home (even with 3 kids)
financial freedom
living debt-free
raising our daughters to value people more than things
kids that don't mind cleaning up because it takes only a few minutes
seeing creativity, imagination & sharing amongst our daughters
open space to play
room to breathe
joy, freedom & peace of mind
more time to spend as a family
less time spent cleaning, organizing, maintaining, working for and paying for stuff

how to get started
first off, download the YouVersion bible app on your iphone (its free) and complete the 14-day devotional "the more of less: a guide to less stuff and more joy" -- this is a great introduction to what minimalism is and asks thought-provoking questions to help you understand why you want to pursue it and gives practical steps to take, all with a biblical foundation. You can even do it with friends -- or your husband! -- and there is a "talk it over" portion after each reading where you can share your thoughts. If I have a friend who asks me to help them minimize, this is the first "homework" I give them, and I do it with them so I can get an idea of why they want to start and what they most hope to get out of it. 

secondly, pick a place to start. I suggest mentally categorizing things in your home and picking one of them to begin with (for example, KIDS, CLOTHES, KITCHEN, GARAGE, BATHROOM etc). If you pick KIDS, break it in to easy to tackle sections: BOOKS, TOYS, CLOTHES, SHOES or by space: PLAYROOM, CLOSET, BASEMENT etc. This will make decluttering easier to accomplish and give you an area of focus instead of just feeling overwhelmed and like you need to get rid of everything you own all at once ;) 

Let's say you choose KIDS >> BOOKS. Go through all the children's books in your home, wherever they may be. Which books do your kids never reach for? Which books do you not actually enjoy reading to your kids? Which books are falling apart so much that you can barely read them? Depending on how many you own, try to get rid of at least 1/3-1/2 of your collection. Pass them along to friends whose kids might enjoy them, bring them to "Little Free Libraries" around your city or donate them. If you're still left with a good size collection, categorize them and put them in clear plastic bins with labels (for example, by season or by theme...winter books, nature books, summer books, animal books). Store all the labeled bins in an empty closet and pull one bin out per month, rotating through the bins one at a time. Include your kids in picking which bin to pull out and have them help you put the books on the shelves. You will be amazed at how much more your kids enjoy reading the "new" books and you will have bookshelves that are clutter-free and bookcases that aren't overfilled. Chances are, your kids won't even notice you got rid of half your collection and you'll love how much quicker they can be picked up and the new spark your kids will get from them. Reading will become more fun for both you and your children. 

Let's say you choose KITCHEN >> DISHES. Most everyone has cluttered kitchen cabinets with little to no space for anything, even to put clean dishes away. Because of minimalism, we are able to live with so much empty and open space in our cabinets and always know where each specific kind of dish is. This makes mealtime and emptying the dishwasher stress-free. Chances are, you have at least a dozen sippy cups, half of which are missing lids or straws or spill everytime you use them or are ones your kids don't even like, etc. Keep 1-2 sippy cups (per child) that are used daily and get rid of the rest. Same is true with kids plates and bowls. How many do your kids use in a full day? Keep only that many and then run the dishwasher at night and you'll have them for the next day. Go through your own dish sets -- do you have a mix of dishes from your wedding registry, random dishes you've picked up during Target clearance sales and then dishes that don't match anything else in your kitchen or dishes with chips or that are cracked and broken? Pick one style set for your family and get rid of everything else -- ask a friend if they could use them or contact ministries or organizations in your area. Our church works closely with several that are always needing extra dishes. Do the same with silverware. Does your kid actually need 12 plastic forks?? Probably not ;) You get what I'm saying. It sounds so funny but this is actually the reality of it: people own so much more than they even know and often, it is stuff that has accumulated over years and years without even realizing it. 

These are just two examples, but I think the biggest mistake people make when starting to pursue minimalism is feeling like they need to purge their entire home in one day and they get so overwhelmed they don't even know where to start and then they don't start at all. Start small, with small spaces and small categories that you can tackle in an afternoon. Try to take on one of these every day, even if for only an hour while your kids nap or in the evening, put a movie on for them and ask your husband to watch it with them while you do some decluttering. Dustin continually says one of the things he appreciates most about me is my passion for minimalism -- it has impacted both him and myself, our marriage, our home and our family is such incredible ways. If your family understands the benefits it brings, chances are they are going to be supportive and willing to help you as you spend some time working through your home to minimize. 

third (and lastly), put a "one in, three out" rule in to place. This means, for every ONE thing you bring in to your home (with the exception of necessities like food, toilet paper, diapers, etc), take three things out of it. Did your child get a new toy? Have them select three toys they no longer play with (or if they're too little, pick them yourself) and pass them along to kids who will play with them. Buy new shoes for yourself? Go through your closet and pick out 3 pairs you haven't worn in years or that no longer fit you. Keeping this rule in place will help ensure that all the hard work you've done to minimize won't be erased in a few months. Being mindful of what you bring in your home -- and continuing to get rid of what you don't use/need regularly helps you to always be in a forward motion instead of minimizing for a month and then accumulating it all back the next. 

This post ended up being so much longer than I anticipated but I hope it gives you some practical ideas and a look in to the lifestyle we love so much. I'm so thankful God has given us the desire to pursue minimalism as a family and that even my girls are on board with it -- we all see and experience the benefits every day and I can't imagine living any other way! My dream is to write a book on the topic of minimalism for motherhood because of how life-changing it has been for me. As always, thanks for reading and following along. You'll be the first to know when it's released ;) 

6.15.2018

summer shoe favorites

Happy Friday!! Summer is here and we have been loving every minute of it! Between the beach, the splash pad, the park, picnics, popsicles, the sprinkler & all the sunshine, I wish Summer never had to end. I love not being on any sort of schedule, being able to have long slow breakfasts at home and spend all day outside with the girls. We only get 18 summers with each of our kids and I intend to treasure every moment of all of them -- even the hot sticky ones where my car is filled with sand and our laundry baskets are overflowing with towels & swimsuits and bedtime takes 2 hours because the sun is still shining...cause someday I'll look back and miss these days with my little girls and all the amazing + hilarious things they do and say.

To kick off the weekend, I thought it would be fun to share my top picks in Summertime shoes. Over the past few months I've completely revamped my wardrobe to be more minimal like my girls' is and I've been loving it. I've always kept my closet pretty minimal but I've moved toward a much more "capsule" wardrobe with staple pieces that can transition through all seasons (like this jacket that I throw on over everything). And through the process I got rid of all the shoes I wasn't ever wearing and picked out a handful of neutral pairs that are both stylish & comfortable (that I can also chase 3 kids in...) that I know I'll wear for many Summers to come. Shop my favorites below!

I've shared my love for Adelisa & Co's sandals for my girls but did you know they also make women's shoes?? Their Cruz sandals {one} are so gorgeous and pair well with everything. Plus with every purchase you're supporting the families in Nicaragua that make the shoes by hand. The craftsmanship is impeccable and the design is so timeless. Our favorite styles for our girls are these + these

My favorite pair to wear with distressed white jeans, the Crown Vintage Wedges {two} are the ones I most often put on for nights out with my girlfriends. They're also the shoes I brought on my trip to Nashville and walked all over the city in. They come in 3 colors, the cognac is definitely my fav. 

In Summers past I lived in Old Navy flip flops. While I still keep a pair on hand for when I'm in the backyard with the girls, I wanted to upgrade a bit and picked out a pair of White Mountain sandals {three} and Madden Girl sandals {five}. Super comfortable and perfect to dress up or down.

For something a bit fancier, I love these Franco Sarto sandals {four} in taupe. 

Perfect with ripped blue jeans, the Earth Origins wedge sandals {six} are so so comfortable, even on long walks or at the park. Crown Vintage also makes a very similar pair {here}.

Every Mama needs a classic sneaker for Summertime and I picked the Toms Del Rey pair {seven} out in the Wintertime and they sat in my closet for months as I dreamed of warm Summer days. Plus I just can't resist a good polka dot. 

Last but not least, a classy pair of black espadrilles {eight}. They round out the perfect Summer wardrobe and match everything.

Hope you all have the best weekend, celebrating the Dads in your life and soaking up the summer sun as a family. We are headed to a friends' house tonight for a pizza night and bonfire with the kids and then hoping to sneak away for a date night tomorrow before celebrating Dustin and my Dad on Sunday! XO

5.24.2018

celebrating summer with the baby jogger city mini gt

Happy Thursday!! We have been celebrating Olivia's 5th birthday all week and enjoying beautiful (and warm!) weather. Her party was on Sunday and we hosted over 50 of our friends & family which was so much fun. She chose Chipotle for her family birthday dinner (YES to not having to cook in this heat!) and then the only thing she requested was being able to go out for crunch cones with me just the two of us!! 


Even though May isn't quite over yet, it feels like Summer is officially here now that school is out. And when the temperatures rise high enough (after what felt like an extra long winter!!) we spend all day, every day outside. One of my favorite things to do with the girls is take walks during the day at a local nature reserve. It's less than 5 minutes from our house so we go there a lot. I pack a picnic lunch or we stop for breakfast smoothies in the cafe and then spend all day on the trails, exploring and enjoying the sunshine. The girls love collecting "treasures" they find along the way and we bring along our flower and tree guides for them too. All month long we have been taking along our new stroller, the Baby Jogger City Mini GT Anniversary Edition!! Baby Jogger is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the popular City Mini and City Mini GT strollers by releasing a special edition with some fun upgrades and added extras!

It has been so much fun having some new wheels as we welcome Summer and get outside with our girls!

Penelope is almost 3 now so we rarely need to bring a double stroller along because she wants to explore much more than ride. (Though, after she saw Della riding in our City Mini GT she did ask if she could have a turn). I love that with my girls at their current ages (5, almost 3 and 16 months), this is the perfect stroller for our family because all 3 of them fit comfortably in it but it's still lightweight and compact. We have an SUV with 3rd row seating so there is plenty of room in the back for it, but it also fits perfectly sitting on the floor in front of the passenger seat if I've got the back filled with other things (you know, the standard oversized beach bag and beach towels and coolers and blankets and so much sand...). Talk about a Mom win. And because it's travel-system compatible, you can use it from birth (with the beautiful bassinet) on up to age 5 and beyond. 


A few other features I love:
*Adjustable handlebar to accomodate whoever is pushing it comfortably

*All-terrain tires; these are perfect for going off the trails and exploring through the woods.

*One-handed fold; it even has a "fold here" strap that you pull, which is perfect for Dustin because he uses our strollers much less often and tends to forget how to collapse them ;) 

*Oversized canopy; the days spent outside on the trails get extra hot and when Della needs a break from the sunshine, I love that she is still safely covered while riding.

*Lay flat recline; when Adaline was a baby I kept her on quite a strict nap schedule with two naps a day at specific times. Now that she is 16 months, her naps are much more flexible and often when we're out and about. She can nap comfortably because the seat can be reclined to lay flat in seconds.

*Hand-operated brake; every stroller we've ever had uses a foot brake and I love being able to brake the stroller with one hand easily and quickly


If your family loves being outside as much as ours does, head on over to my instagram @blessednestblog because I'm GIVING ONE AWAY to one of you!! One follower will win a Baby Jogger City Mini GT Anniversary Edition stroller ($379.99 value) for all their Summer adventures!! Whether you're expecting your first baby or have older kids, this stroller is a Summer must-have! Giveaway runs Thursday May 24 through Monday May 28 and the winner will be randomly selected from the entries. Once selected, verified & announced on the original post, the winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize by sending me a DM @blessednestblog. If the prize is not claimed, a new winner will be drawn and announced. 

5.18.2018

friday favorites

Happy Friday!! Feels like forever since I've actually sat down in quiet to blog, probably because it has been. My days lately have been consumed with park hopping & playdates & getting ready for Olivia's 5th birthday party this weekend and trying to keep the girls busy now that Olivia is done with school until Fall. The weather has been gorgeous so we have basically been outside from sun up to sun down and the girls are loving it. I have so many fun things I wanted to share so I had to jump on and put together a quick Friday Favorites post!!


First up, the prettiest floral water bottle. I was ordering something from Target.com earlier this week and I randomly came across it. I love the 20 oz size, the fact that it keeps my water extra cold all day and the price can't be beat. 

The wedge sandals I'm loving this Summer. I brought them on my trip to Nashville last month and walked all over the city in them. Cute with jeans & dresses and available in three colors!

Olivia lives in dresses during the Summer so I recently picked up this dotted pinafore from Alice + Ames. Such a pretty color and polka dots are our fav.

The temps have been in the 80s for the last two weeks and our favorite way to beat the heat is running the sprinkler in the backyard. We have this one and the girls love it. 

We are having a birthday party for Olivia this weekend and while I was getting everything for it at Target, I picked up a few cases of Bai Bubbles for ourselves. I rarely drink anything other than water so these have been such a treat -- the perfect summer drink. Our favorite flavors so far are Pink Grapefruit, Black Cherry & Blackberry Lime. 

The girls have been wearing these flamingo pajamas every night, so cute and on sale! Available in 6-12 months up to 6T so all three of my girls can match!! 

What's on your list this month?? Share any favorite things below!! Have the BEST weekend!!

3.13.2018

Spring Baskets & Gift Guide

One of my favorite things as Spring approaches is putting together Spring Baskets for my girls. You can see what I put in last year's baskets here. Having three little girls makes everything sweet but especially at their current ages I feel like I had so many options of what to fill them with & I had so much fun!


I love doing a mix of practical things they'll use (books, pajamas, sunglasses, bubble bath) as well as some fun things I know the girls will play with every day. I picked some new clothes for the warmer weather & the cutest swimsuits by one of my favorite brands, Tea Collection, a few new sets of their favorite Maileg Mice from My Sweet Muffin, bows & bracelets, hair clips and for Della, some new cuddly things! I always try to choose baskets that aren't traditional Easter baskets so they can be reused around the house instead of sitting in storage for 364 days out of the year ;) Last year I used Pehr Designs Pint Bins and now we use them for their toys, dolls and shoes. This year I fell in love with these darling wire baskets from the Hearth & Hand line and I know the girls will love carrying things around the house in them and I'll also use them for decor and in our kitchen.

One of my very favorite parts of their baskets is something that doesn't actually fit in them -- new floral rainboots from London Littles! Olivia and Poppy love puddle jumping (and I swear they can spot a puddle a mile away) and I love all things floral, so these seemed like the perfect addition. I even got Della a pair so she can be just like her big sisters.


OLIVIA'S BASKET:


PENELOPE'S BASKET:


ADALINE'S BASKET:
Briar Handmade Spring Bonnets
{Use code NEST15 for 15% off your purchase through the end of March}


Other favorite items to fill baskets with are new art supplies, bubbles (the perfect backyard entertainment as the weather warms up), stickers or small bath toys. Once it arrives, I'll be adding the Tubby Sweets Bundle, with one bottle in each of their baskets. We did this last year and it was perfect!

What are you gifting this Spring?? Have you filled your little one's baskets or are you still on the hunt for the perfect thing??

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