Friday, August 5, 2016

Backyard Olympics

Growing up I used to love watching the Summer Olympics. . .gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, swimming and my all time favorite track and field! I think Addie is at just the right age to watch these events with me this summer. So, to get into the Olympic spirit, we held our own mini-Olympics in our backyard!

I dug out my old running medals, used a white table cloth and step stools to create a winner's podium, and gathered up our outdoor toys and Fourth of July decorations for some friendly sibling competition. Addison made a flag banner of some our favorite countries we like to root for. We used some pipe cleaners and pom-poms leftover from another craft to make our olive branch crowns and celebrated our victories with a chocolate cake topped with a homemade topper and Doritos "torches"! Let's go Team USA!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Addison's Horse Party

My sweet baby girl, my firstborn, turns six years young today! Unbelievable! Where did the time go and how is it possible that I have a soon to be first grader? Last year's big birthday bash was a tough one to pull off (remember, she challenged me to pull off a Paris, Mermaid, Flower party!?) so when she decided on a horse theme this year I breathed a huge sigh of relief! This one was fairly easy to pull off. We spruced up a few decorations we picked up on clearance last fall at Michaels with printed pictures of horses, brought down her stable and horses from her room, added in some sweet treats and called it a day. Also, we had her party on a Friday afternoon. . .genius move if I do say so myself. Kids came over after school and we played, ate pizza and cake, opened presents and then before we knew it it was time for them to go home. Best part? The rest of the weekend was ours to do with what we wanted!

Happy birthday my sweet, kind hearted, creative, goofy and sensitive gal. I love you with all of my heart and could not be more proud of the young lady you are growing up to be. xoxo

Friday, May 13, 2016

Me + My Guy

H e a r t. M e l t e d. I had so much fun tonight helping my sweet little girl get ready for her first Me + My Guy dance. This year's theme is a hoe down, which is right down this southern bell at heart's lane. She picked out the most perfect purple dress and her pink cowgirl boots. Topped off with her mama's hat and a little lip gloss, and she was ready for a night out with her dada!

I just couldn't wait to post these sweet pictures of the cute couple. I mean literally, I'm pretty sure they are still backing out of the driveway on their way to the dance!

Happy weekend, friends! 


Monday, April 4, 2016

DIY Fairy House + Garden

I took advantage of some of the downtime I had last week waiting on our newest little gal to arrive and spent an afternoon crafting up a little fairy house and garden for my big girl! Addison loves all things fairies, so I surprised her with this easy DIY project. I love her sense of imagination and how she believes that the fairies will come to visit while she sleeps at night. 

Using a combination of newly purchased items, and things I had around the house, I was able to create this look for less than $30 (with my 40% off one item coupon!).

Here's what I bought at Michaels:

Wooden Wall Plaque $4.99 (used this as the tray - just pry the hanging tabs off the back)
Bag of Moss $7.49
Birch Tags (4 pack) $1.99
Mini Cabbage & Carrots $2.99
Mini Sunflower Pot $2.99
Treasures Chest $1.59
Bird House $1.00
Mushrooms $9.99

And here's what I had at home:

Hot glue gun
fish tank pebbles
fake flowers

I painted the bird house pink and then added the green moss to the roof using a hot glue gun. Next, I laid all the big pieces out on the tray (house, treasure chest, birch stepping stones and mushrooms) and glued those down the way I wanted them. Using hot glue again, I made the path with the stones and finally I glued down the extra moss in any open space left on the tray. I placed the sunflowers and veggies down without glue, figuring the fairies might like to switch things up each season! I also cut some fake flowers up from the stems and placed them all around.

The treasure chest opens and is the perfect size for fairies to leave little notes, treats or sweets for your special little someone! I think our fairies might be reminding Addie Mae how loved she is and how amazing she is as a big sister - especially as she settles into this new life with not one, but two siblings!

Addison was so excited when she discovered her little fairy house and garden after school last week! I love that twinkle in her eyes and I can't wait to see what the fairies have in store for her! Follow along on Instagram to see what they might be up to with #addiemaesfairygarden 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Lilly's

The melted snow and green grass has this gal all giddy over springtime! My favorite time of the year. Flowers start blooming, the weather warms up, the winter gear gets packed away until next year, and we are just that much closer to summer time! 

Are you a Lilly Pulitzer fan? The summer after my freshmen year of college I worked in a children's clothing boutique on Cape Cod where we sold Lilly dresses in newborn sizes on up to little girls. The first time I rang up a size 3 month Lilly dress I actually asked my boss what the real price was. . .I thought for sure it was not ringing up right. After a quick crash lesson on the finer things in life, I returned to the register to finish ringing up the lady's purchase. I thought the moms coming in to shop were #craycray. Who spends over $100 on something that will only fit their tiny little human for a matter of weeks? Fast forward fifteen years and I still think spending that much on an infant is insane, but I do love the patterns, colors and decor that Lilly offers in her line of clothing, accessories and home decor. Don't be fooled, I still don't own any real Lilly, just a pair of shorts from the Target line last summer, #slummingit! But, a girl can still dream and drool over the fun things she offers! Her prints and patterns just scream spring and summer and make me want to cash in my savings and book a trip to Key West. 

Spring Lillys
For sources, or to shop, click here
As a mom of daughters, the mother/daughter line is incredibly appealing! Assuming my kids want to look and dress like me, hah! And, if money were no option, this maxi dress would be hanging in my closet for sure. But for $248? No way! 

What designers or stores do you splurge on? Target is and always will be my happy place, but with the amount of money I spend waste there I could probably have filled half my closet with Lilly Pulitzer by now! 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pink Blush: Maternity + Beyond

After Mason was born I lent, donated or tossed all of my maternity clothes. After all, we were done having babies and if I kept them around any longer I'd never find the motivation to eat properly and workout. Okay, so I may have kept a few pairs of maternity yoga pants, but in my defense they are the most super comfortable pair of pants I've ever owned. . .and I never wore them in public. At least not too often. 
Pink Blush Mint Green Floral Chiffon Maternity Dress
So this past summer when we learned we were expecting bambino number three, I had to re-invest in a whole new maternity wardrobe. I have a hard time spending money on things that aren't practical, so the thought of having to spend hundreds of dollars on maternity clothes {again} just to get me through the next six months or so made my poor getting-out-of-debt heart cringe. That is, until I discovered Pink Blush Maternity. Friends, if you are expecting, if you plan on making a baby soon, or have pregnant friends you must check this site out! And, if you're not sporting the baby bump you can shop their non-maternity line here

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Pink Blush is a family business that provides expecting mamas with fun, flirty and feminine fashions that will last you throughout your whole pregnancy and beyond for affordable prices {and free shipping on orders over $50!}. I have placed several orders over the last few months and have been happy with every single one of them! Best of all, just about every piece I've ordered is something I can wear post partum as part of my normal, everyday wardrobe {without actually looking like it is maternity}!

So, when Pink Blush offered to collaborate with me I jumped at the opportunity! I discovered Pink Blush at the beginning of my pregnancy and immediately fell in love with the style, comfort and affordability of the clothing and accessories. Not to mention, everything I've purchased has been incredibly flattering on this growing body of mine! I'm a fan for life and am already looking forward to my first post-maternity purchase! 

I originally ordered this dress thinking I'd have had a baby already and planned on wearing it for Easter Sunday to cover up my big ole' post baby belly! Well, here we are a day before Easter, 5 days past due, and still no baby {I know, I know...good things come to those who wait}. So, not only will it fit me tomorrow but it is also the perfect transition piece for the baby showers, wedding and other fancy events I have to attend this spring!

I love this coral, multi-printed maternity cardigan from Pink Blush for so many reasons. Mostly, because it is the softest, most comfy material. But also, because it can be worn both pre and post baby, and across each season. Throw the cardigan on over a white tank or tee shirt until the weather warms up, use it as a bathing suit cover up in the summer, or layer it with a top, cute booties and skinny jeans in the fall! After baby is born, use it to easily cover up while nursing. No belly, no problem! This piece will still be one of my wardrobe staples long after the bump is gone {or at least the big bump...I'm sure I'll always be a little squishy lol}!

And for those of you wanting a more flattering view, hah! 

Be sure to follow Pink Blush Maternity {@pinkblushmaternity} and Pink Blush Women {@shoppinkblush} on Instagram for wardrobe ideas, shopping, savings, discount codes and updates to their line!  Happy shopping my friends!

The coral, multi-printed cardigan was provided to me for free by Pink Blush Maternity in exchange for my honest review of the product. The rest of the shirts and dresses in my closet were purchased by yours truly! All views and opinions about Pink Blush in my post are my own. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Easy Easter Bunny Cake

Hi friends! It's been nice to take a little break from blogging these past few months. I was able to focus on family, work, and other things that required my attention. But, I'm excited to share that I am back! And what better time to pick back up where I left off from then while I am sitting here waiting on a baby? I mean, a girl can only clean and nest and bake so much before she goes a little stir crazy. 

I am still working (saving up those days for more baby snuggles) but baby number three should be here any day now. And, just in case little miss makes a late arrival like her older siblings, we're gearing up for Easter weekend a little early with this easy Easter Bunny cake! The original idea came from a post I saw on Pinterest last year, but with our own little special touches to it. 

My mom (a.k.a. the cake whisperer) flew into town this weekend, so us girls had a fun little afternoon baking and decorating this cute concoction. My grandfather comes from a long line of pastry chefs and owned his own bakery and was a professor of culinary arts. My mom inherited his love and skill of baking and she has passed this passion down to me and Addie Mae (though my skill level is way inferior to hers!).

You don't have to be a pastry chef to pull off this yummy treat. Here's what you need:

Cake Mix*
White Frosting
Edible Grass
Chocolate Bunny
Jelly Beans
Decorative Banner (optional) 

 *(your favorite boxed variety is perfectly acceptable - you don't have to bake from scratch!)

Bake your cake according to the directions and allow to cool before you start decorating. We used two 9 inch round pans and used the frosting to layer. Frost the cake (don't worry about keeping it neat) and then add the edible grass. I bought the grass at Target and Addie and my mom used kitchen scissors to cut it all up. Once your frosting is on, stick the grass on and top with jelly beans (Cadbury mini eggs work too!). Addie had fun putting the "eggs" on top. I picked up the dark chocolate bunny and some fancy looking speckled jelly bean eggs at Homegoods. The cake bannner is from Target.

And last but not least, enjoy! I don't think we'll be waiting until next weekend to dig in and eat this scrumptious looking dessert. It might turn into a Happy First Day of Spring cake instead!

Wishing all of you a very happy first day of Spring and a wonderful Easter weekend! 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Goodbye, for now

In 2014 my new year resolutions were to slow down, simplify, dream big and enjoy. The past few years had been chaotic and stressful. Most of the time I felt cranky (my husband probably used another word to describe me!) and unmotivated. Part of this was symptomatic of baby raising sleep deprivation. . .but most of it was just me being in a funk. I had lost my mojo. So I needed to slow life down a bit and really enjoy the day to day craziness that is my life with two little loves and a super goofy husband. 

After a long heart to heart with each other, Sean and I agreed that we were going to make 2014 our best year yet. And boy did we ever! We cleared our house of clutter, buckled down on our finances, made our health a priority, went back to church, focused on our children and most importantly, on each other. 
In 2014 we learned a lot about ourselves and our relationship, paid off thousands of dollars in debt, made some changes to our crazy work schedule (Sean stays home with the kiddos on Fridays now!), connected through faith, worked out more and ate healthier foods, and simplified our house and home so that we could focus more on what matters most: our family. Don't get me wrong, we had our fair share of ups and downs. We still argued and rolled our eyes, I yelled at my kids, I stuffed my face with Doritos and ice cream (not at the same time...though, I wouldn't judge anyone who did!), skipped workouts and let the clutter pile back up. That's life. That's normal. 

The difference is that I didn't let those little setbacks pull me down completely. I didn't let a messy house, a humongous pile of laundry, cranky kids, a husband working overtime, an unexpected late night at work, a missed workout, or a really bad indulgence in not so healthy food change my attitude. By letting go of this idea that I had to be the perfect working mom and wife I became a better working mom and wife. In 2014 I truly did keep calm and mommy on!

So, in 2015 our resolution was simply to maintain everything we had worked so hard for that past year. We decided to stay fit and clean in 2015! And not just physically fit. Sean and I supported each other to be more emotionally fit, mentally fit, financially fit and faithfully fit. Staying clean meant keeping the clutter out of our home. Physical clutter sure, like useless things we don't use or need. But more importantly, the emotional clutter (i.e. drama) that drowned us as a family had no place in our home in 2015.  

That was hard for us (me) sometimes, as it meant letting go of relationships or activities we had long invested time and energy into. However, in doing so we felt a sense of relief and pure happiness as we had more time for ourselves and each other. 

In 2015 we grew in so many ways - I started two side businesses with Rodan + Fields and KEEP Collective, we paid off over $40,000 in school loans, car loans and credit card debt, we bought a bigger car (paid for in cash!), we opened our home to a very good friend of ours, we traveled, we sent our first born off to school on a big yellow bus, we tackled a clogged septic and flooded basement with as much patience and grace as you can muster when dealing with sewage, we got along, we did things on our own and as a family, and we made a baby!

What does that leave in store for us in 2016? This past year has been busy, love-filled, and productive. . .but it has also been tiring. As we prepare to welcome a third child to this crazy life of ours I have to really think long and hard about how I spend my time and where I exhaust my efforts. Home and work come first, of course. And they always will. Every fiber of my being loves being a wife, mama and assistant principal (even on the hard days when my children, or students, are testing my patience!). But this past year I've also stepped out of my comfort zone and into the business world with not one, but two personal businesses. I signed up to be a girl scout troop leader, took a graduate course, attempted to keep up with my blog and social media accounts, and scheduled a thousand and one activities for my children to be involved in (sports, dance, horse back riding, etc). Oh, and I've been packing on the pounds like crazy cakes because apparently I decided with the third child to just let myself go and eat everything in sight!

My plate is full. Correction, my plate runneth over. My plate has passed through the all you can eat buffet line several times (literally and figuratively). I know, I know. . .my own demise. So, I am declaring 2016 the year to clear my plate of the things that matter the least, in order to leave plenty of room for the things that matter the most. I am constantly striving to be a better wife, mother and employee. To be the best I can be for my people, both at work and at home, I need to carefully reflect on how and where I spend my time. But I also don't want to lose sight of my long term goals and dreams. I don't want to lose my creative side. I don't want to forget the reasons why I stacked my plate so darn full to begin with. 

That being said, it is with a heavy heart, but with much reflection and contemplation, that I've decided to say good bye to the blog world. . .for now. I started blogging almost 6 years ago now, at the time, to share pictures of our baby girl with family and friends around the world. It grew beyond just my close circle of friends and into "Keep Calm + Mommy On" and has connected me with so many amazing women from around the country who I now call friends. Women who lift me up and support me on the toughest of days. The time I truly want to be able to commit to keeping up with posts and content, however, just doesn't exist right now. When I do make the time, I feel guilty for spending hours editing photos, writing content, and updating posts while my kids are being entertained by the TV or iPads. I no longer want to feel obligated to post things regularly to satisfy the people paying to advertise their businesses on my page. 

What the heck does all of this mean? I'm not deleting the blog. Like I said, it is just good bye for now! Plus, there's nothing worse then clicking on an image in Pinterest and the content no longer being available. I would never do that to my fellow Pinterest-obsessed pals out there! I will not be posting new content for a while though. . .not sure if that means a few weeks, months or years. I'll be taking down the ad spots and replacing them with my own personal referrals and blogs that I love. I'll update the about me when bambino numero 3 arrives. . .but other than that, it will be left out there in cyber space where every now and then I'm sure someone will stop by via a linked image in Pinterest. 

Fear not, my sweet friends! I'm not cutting all of my social media ties. Blogging has always been a creative outlet for me. A space to share fun DIY projects, parties, home organization ideas, life with kiddos, and our financial peace journey. I will continue to post content and share tidbits from our daily lives over on Instagram along with my creative concoctions, business promotions and struggles from the life of a working mama! I'm thinking of it as a more of a mini-blog platform! I have no idea what exactly this will look like or how it will roll out, but I'd love for you to follow along in this new adventure of mine. 

After months of soul searching and dreaming and praying I've decided that this is the right decision for me. It comes on the heels of my desire to be more present for my husband and children, and to be able to give more to people who need it (remember that dream of mine to be able to provide glamourous birthday parties for children whose parents are deployed, or sick, or unemployed or don't have the money?) while still being able to give 100% of my attention and efforts to everyone at work. 

Thank you all for being a part of this incredible journey in the blogosphere! I wish you all a very happy, healthy and loving 2016. . .and just in case I'm not back, may 2017 be wonderful for you too! All my love and a thousand and one hugs. . .