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January 14, 2015

Candy Free Kid's Valentines

With just a month until Valentine's Day, I thought it was about time I break my blogging silence and share a few DIY, candy free kid's Valentine's Day card ideas with you guys. All of these ideas include a free printable, so you'd simply have to print that and add the candy free item with it! This post originally appeared on cupcakeMAG last year and you can see that post here


I know, as a mom, that I try to keep a ton of sugar away from my son; so, I wanted the cards he passed out at school to follow suite with that effort. Even if you subtract the candy, there are still lots of fun ideas out there…I promise!

Here are six Valentine’s Day card ideas that kids are sure to find just as fun (and maybe even more) as candy.



All images from respective blog posts. Each are credited below. 


1) TOY ANIMAL VALENTINE. These toy animal Valentines from Sweet C’s Designs are adorable and perfect for a little dude to handout! Check out Courtney’s original post for several printable cards designs. 

2) PLAYDOH VALENTINE. My son, Gunner, loves Playdoh; and since most kids do, this “card” idea is perfect since it’s something kids can immediately play with. Find the original post (including printable!) from Kelli right here.

3) FRIENDSHIP BRACELET VALENTINE. This idea is perfect for your older kiddos! It’s certainly more time consuming but it would be so fun to see their classmates wear their bracelets through the rest of the school year. Danyelle and her daughter kept the bracelet simple with a classic braided style, but you could change it up too! You can find the original post and printable, here.

4) GLOW STICK VALENTINE. This idea is one of my favorites! Simple, cheap, and unique + what kid doesn’t love glow sticks? In her post, Delia shares more pictures, a free printable, and credits where she received the original idea. This would be a great one to do if you’re short on time!

5) TOY CAR VALENTINE. We went with a similar idea as this for Gunner’s classmates. Our little guy LOVES cars, so it only made sense. I love the tiny little cars that Taylor found for her Valentines, and the printable she includes in her post is adorable too.

6) PHOTO PROP VALENTINE. Another good option for the older kiddos! They’re sure to get a good laugh from donning these photo booth prop Valentines. Juleed includes templates for the photo booth props in her original post found here.


What did you do for your kiddo’s classroom Valentine’s Day cards? 
Do you do store bought Valentines or homemade? No judgment here!


September 29, 2014

cheesy bacon + ranch roll-ups recipe

 This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and Smithfield, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #SmithfieldAllNatural  http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH


If you read blogs (which it appears you do), you've probably noticed the blogging world is super excited about fall. There are many things I love about the season, one of them being the return of routine. I love getting back into the day-to-day when it seems like summer is often so random and unplanned. 

I also love the return of warm comfort foods (it's way too hot to eat warm, savory foods in Texas summers) and one of our new favorite recipes are cheesy bacon + ranch roll-ups. They're great for breakfast, great for a snack, great for a football watching party, great for anything really + they're super easy to make. 

I did a grocery run at Tom Thumb before leaving for Influence Conference this past weekend so I could do a little meal prep for my boys and picked up the few ingredients we needed for the roll-ups, plus a few other things, and got down to baking for my boys. 


This is a great recipe to have the kids join in on too! Gunner loves helping me roll up the dough after I've added the ingredients...here's how to make those super simple roll-ups!



INGREDIENTS:

STEP ONE: You'll want to cook and chop up your bacon first. I cooked about six pieces but you could do more or less depending on what you like.


STEP TWO: Roll out your crescent rolls and spread a layer of ranch over them, then sprinkle the shredded cheese and bacon pieces over them. We've added chicken before too and that makes them a little more hearty and filling.


STEP THREE: Roll up the crescent rolls with all of the goodness inside. 

At this point I typically slice the rolls up into individual little rolls. However, this time around I decided to slice after cooking. While it was certainly easier to slice the cooked rolls, they didn't keep a very round form. Totally up to you which you'd prefer doing!


STEP FOUR: Pop the roll-ups into the oven for the suggested amount of time on the crescent roll package. 



And, enjoy! It really is so easy. Plus, you could add other yummy items if you'd like -- I think chopped up pepper would be a great addition or ground sausage instead of bacon.


Do you have any favorite, go to recipes?
Anything you love to cook in the fall?

September 23, 2014

a nursery sneak peek.

I'm so excited to be sharing a tiny peek into Titus and Pacey's shared nursery today. It's on my "to blog about" list to do a home tour series, so this is just a peek. Plus, the nursery isn't 100% done yet. It's harder to get it done AFTER a baby has arrived...you also tend to procrastinate more with numbers two and three


When Nicole of Two Little Fish reached out to me about wanting to make a custom piece for the nursery, I was so so excited. I've been a longer admirer of her work and after meeting her at The Influence Conference last year, I'm absolutely an admirer of her in general. The girl has a heart and drive like no other.

I knew I wanted to keep the crib bedding simple in this room...no removing bumpers to wash sheets, especially when it'll be twice the work this time around, so I asked Nicole to make us a custom Aztec crib quilt that would work with the crib sheets I'd previously purchased. The trim on the sides is the same grey + white polka dot of the crib sheets and I love that Nicole went that little extra mile to hunt down a matching fabric.


My favorite thing about Two Little Fish is the fact that all of their bedding is made using a combination of fabric from Ghana, Africa and domestic fabric. Even better? For each bedding set sold, you purchase a mattress for an AIDS/HIV orphan in South Africa. I love that. 

I can't wait to share more pictures of the room once it's complete, and to get pictures of my two littles on the quilt when they're finally here together.

September 22, 2014

diapers, wipes, + diaper bags...oh my!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BabyDiapersSavings #CollectiveBias


I've spent my fair share of changing diapers and packing diaper bags these days. I certainly don't consider myself an expert at anything motherhood, but I can pack a bag quickly and efficiently with the rest of them. Sometimes I laugh when I think of all of the things I used to jam into Gunner's bag in the early days, I mean the bag was back ache inducing and stuffed to the brim. But now, while I'm still totally an advocate of being prepared, I'm no longer packing everything (and the kitchen sink) in our little diaper bag.


I do want to say this -- when you have two littles, especially two that are close in age, things can get overwhelming in the purchasing and overall cost department; but, I really don't think it has to be that way. Today, not only will I be sharing my diaper bag essentials, I'll be sharing a few areas that you can save money in the baby raising arena, because don't we all need help there? 


I promise that this really is all I keep in my diaper bag. If there's any chance we'll be out and about during a time that Titus needs to eat I'd obviously pack his formula, but I try not to keep that in his bag for prolonged amounts of time since it does have a suggested temperature that it needs to be stored at. Now, let's get down to the items...

1: A BIB. I always keep a large, absorbent bib in the bag. I've learned that all bibs aren't created equal in size and absorbancy, so for me, it's worth spending a few extra dollars on something I know will help control the mess. The bib above is from a Texas based Etsy shop called Babiease and I love it. I used this bib through Gunner's baby years and it has held up so well.

2: OUTFIT. An extra onesie or outfit is probably a given, but it is an essential. In colder months, I'd have an extra pair of pants or jacket too, but it's still hot here and those items aren't needed.

3: DIAPER STASH. I try to pack a diaper for every hour that I plan to be out. I don't necessarily change baby hourly, but packing them that way gives me extras in case of leaks or blow outs.

Diapers are one of my areas where I try to cut costs and save money. I know many a momma that would disagree with me in this area, but I've found that you can find great quality diapers for an affordable price. In my opinion, the best value diaper brand is the Parent's Choice brand found at Walmart. They recently improved their absorbancy (find which stores carry the new and improved diapers, here) and I've experienced little to no leaks with them. Plus, when you consider that you can save $240 a year by switching to the Parent's Choice brand, it's kind of a no brainer. For us, with Titus and soon to be Pacey in diapers, that's right around $500 in savings! If you'd like to try out Parent's Choice diapers for yourself, here's a great coupon. You can find Parent's Choice diapers in the diaper aisle of any Walmart near you.


4: BABY WIPES. I typically cut costs and buy store brand in this arena too, but our pediatrician gave us a ton of these sample packages that I'm using up. Wipes are obviously used to clean bottoms but we use them on our faces and hands too!

5: SNACK. I love the squeezable yogurts for Gunner and will eventually give them to T and P too, I'm sure! I've found that 95% of the time when Gunner is in toddler melt down territory that he's just hungry. Always having a snack with me also keeps me from breaking down and buying Gunner a more expensive snack when we're at the store or in the car and he gets hungry.

6: WET BAG. These are traditionally used for cloth diapers, but I love them for any clothes that have been soiled due to an accident or a blow out. Make sure to find wet bags that are machine washable and then you can just throw it all in when you're ready to wash. In the picture above the bag is folded in fourths so it's really quite large and can hold a lot. 

7: SOPHIE. Oh, beloved Sophie. Gunner loves Sophie more than Titus right now, but she's perfect for the times when baby needs to hold or gnaw on something...much more sanitary than the grocery cart handle, right? This item could obviously be any toy that your kiddo(s) love.

8: MINI ESSENTIALS. I keep a seperate, small zipper bag in the diaper bag that has mini must-have items in it. Lotion for cold weather chapped hands, hand sanitizer for momma and toddler, and diaper rash cream. I learned with Gunner that diaper rash cream is another area you can save money in + a recipe easily made at home is cheaper and even more effective! 

I used an old baby food bottle (that was properly cleaned out) to store our diaper rash creme. It's a mixture of coconut oil and lavender essential oil and it has healed some of the worst rashes I've seen...including, ones that aren't solved by prescription strength creme. I'll have a post soon on how to make your own cream. I promise it's super easy!




So, veteran mommas, any other items you consider must haves when it comes to diaper bag packing? 
Anything I'm missing? Any place you cut costs and save money? Share in the comments below!

September 11, 2014

first day of school.

Last year I experienced a lot of hesitation in sending Gunner off to Mother's Day Out. You can read my initial post on that here, but it ended up being the biggest blessing for him and us. It was an incredible opportunity for us to reach out and love on his teachers, and his growth in all areas, most specifically speech, was exponential.

This year was a different story, although I miss my biggest boy plenty when he's gone at "school," I'm relishing in the routine and knowing that he's getting a chance to grow and learn. 

Here are a few pictures of Gunner on his first day a little over a week ago...



 
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