HALLOWEEN COSTUME ROUNDUP

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It’s finally here! Our Halloween costume roundup! This is great for anyone needing to throw together a last minute family costume, and even great for those planners who are ALREADY dreaming of next year’s family costumes! (me - haha!)

I hope you find something that catches your eye, and I also hope you are able to pay a visit to so many of these wonderful families who have put together the cutest, most clever, silliest and pretties costumes EVER!

We are honored to be able to feature them here, and be sure to pin this image below to your pinterest board for easy reference for years to come!

We can’t wait to see what you dream up this year! (Be sure to tag us so we don’t miss it!)

 
 

Below you will find a collection of curated halloween costume images, collected from Instagram. Each owner of the image is tagged below their picture, and you can visit their profile for more details on the costume!

I chose to feature costumes that were mostly DIYs, as we want these to be fun to make and create, and we always love that with DIYs you can add your own personal touch!

I’ll start with our own family costumes from the last few years. You can find all of these on my personal page @amylouhawthorne. They were so fun to make!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Be sure to pin this image to pinterest for years to come so you have an easy reference for future Halloween costumes!

I hope you loved seeing these as much as I loved curating them!

Now, let’s get to creating!

XX, Amy

MAMA'S FAVORITES AND LIFE HACKS

 

I wholeheartedly believe in product reviews. I believe in them even more when they come from someone I know or trust.

There have been items I’ve purchased over the last couple years that have truly truly made an impact on our lives. Whether they be for entertainment, to save time, to save energy or simply just a worthwhile life hack, I’ve loved the items I’m about to share because they’ve truly made my life as a mama easier and more enjoyable.

There’s a reason I’m sharing the next two photos, before we get started.

It’s because during my oldest daughter’s operation and my youngest daughter’s kidney ultrasound and checkup, they both used one of my favorite items on this list. Both of those days were scary, yet products that work actually make a difference to put my anxious heart at ease. We truly use every single one of these almost every single day, and that is no lie. I’m not sharing these products with you to make tons of money, but rather to help another mama out who is trying her hardest, just like me.

I hope you love them as much as I do!

 
 
 
 

***DON’T FORGET! For all items listed below, you can easily select the title of the item and it’ll take you directly to the link for the item to purchase or add to a wishlist for later!***

  1. CUSTOMIZABLE NAME STICKERS - Rainbow Version and CAT version
    Why I love them : We use them on the girls’ lunch boxes, bookbags and water bottles, and I recently put them onto their tablets too! They’re cute yet practical and make labeling items so easy!

    What they say : Made from non-toxic materials, our name labels are dishwasher, microwave, and laundry safe! Uniquely designed by independent artists, they are a durable way to customize your kids’ bottles, food containers, toys, sports equipment, clothing care tags, and much more. For machine washable items, peel and firmly stick your label to care tags on clothing or plush toys. Do not place your labels directly onto the fabric itself. 

  2. WANSVIEW WIRELESS SECURTIY CAMERA

    Why I love it : I’ll start by saying we also have a normal baby webcam in the girl’s room, but we have this one at a higher and different angle because it allows us to have on the go views of the girls at all times! We have this one set up to our cell phone and I can be anywhere in the house and turn on the camera on my phone and it is incredible how much anxiety it takes away from me! You also canNOT beat this price!

    What they say : Remarkable view with super wide 120 degree viewing angle, with an adjustable base, you can manually adjust the viewing angle, use one wansview wireless camera to capture an entire room without ever having to pan or tilt. Supports remote viewing via iOS/Android mobile devices, Windows PC, Apple Mac system and web browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome supported).

  3. IPAD COVER

    Why I love it : I am so incredibly pleased with this purchase that we’ve had for almost a year, because they are cute, functional and also work perfectly with another item I’ll show for in the car! The girls love them because they stand up on their own and they can easily hold them in their hands! They also love bunnies so that was a win win! There’s also other color options available!

    What they say : There is a handle for you to hold it easily, so you don’t need to worry about damage of the iPad as your child may not be able to hold it tightly. The all-round protection removes your worry about damage, scratch, dust and stains. The reverse side has an adjustable holder, which offers you a number of iPad viewing angles. The built-in heat dissipation layer is able to effectively dissipate excess heat, so that your iPad can be used for a longer period.

  4. DROP STOP - CAR SEAT GAP FILLER
    Why I love it : Anyone else a Shark Tank fan here? We saw these on Shark Tank and HAD to get them, and we ARE OBSESSED! I am notorious for dropping items between the seats but even more so, it is such a hard area to clean in the car! These solve both of those problems and don’t look bulky or weird!

    What they say : Drop Stop attaches to the seat belt catch via built in slot; moves with the seat and no need to readjust or reinstall. Drop Stop blocks that annoying yet ever so dangerous gap between your car or truck seat and center console.

  5. STAR NIGHTLIGHT

    Why I love it : My friend Haley got this and I HAD to get it. Not only do I love stars (like the stars we drew on the girls’ chalkboard wall) but I loved that it would project stars onto the ceiling! It works best with a dimmer LED light cause the stars project better that way! They love it so so much!

    What they say : Bring the beauty of the night sky into your little one's bedroom with the Starry Globe Night Light from Pillowfort. This night light globe features cutouts that, when lit, cast glowing stars on nearby surfaces. Set it on a nightstand or dresser near your child's bed to help them fall asleep without being afraid of the dark.

  6. SOUND SPA AND WHITE NOISE MACHINE

    Why we love it : We’ve had quite a few sound machines for the girls, but this one is 100% our favorite and it’s also actually the perfect baby shower gift for someone! It is so easy to work, easily portable and the girls love the different sounds it offers.

    What they say : Plays 6 Natural Sounds: Heartbeat, White Noise, Ocean, Summer Night, Thunderstorm and Brook. Auto-off timer: 15, 30, or 60 minutes. Portable perfect for new mother or traveler. Battery or adapter operated.

  7. BENTO BOX - double option BENTO BOX - single option (Here’s the set I got but they only have it in pink and blue and not the pink pink combo)

    What we love it : I am always packing the girls’ lunches for on the go, and now that Everly is in therapy full time we obviously have to pack her lunches on the go too. Someone once told me that teachers love these cause they only have to open one box versus a million different packages for the kids. I also love that everything is in one spot and it’s aesthetically pleasing! It’s so fun to put different meals together in them! (Note: I do not put these in the dishwasher or microwave although it says they are safe, simply because I want them to last longer.) I am linking another one here that is a single option too!

    What they say : Based on traditional bento boxes, our containers feature 3 compartments, so you can pack healthy, well-balanced meals! Thin and lightweight, they effortlessly slip into your purse, backpack or briefcase for on-the-go portability. Endlessly Versatile: Microwave safe, our lunchbox bento containers heat evenly and withstand up to 120C! Great at home, school or work, they’re also freezer safe, so you can store leftovers. When you’re done, pop them in the dishwasher for a quick cleanup. To protect lid – clean them by hand to preserve the seal. Food-Safe and BPA Free: Made with thick 1000ml sides, our kids’ bento boxes are as safe as they are durable! Approved by the FDA, harmful chemicals won’t leach into your food. And because they’re reusable, they’re an eco-friendly, money-saving option.

  8. AROMATHERAPHY DIFFUSER

    Why I love it : I have always been a big fan of candles and yummy smells. Especially during the holidays! Since we have been slowly removing chemicals from our home over the last year, we have stopped burning candles and are now using our diffuser with young living oils! I love that if I’m getting a headache, or having an allergy attack, or feeling stressed, or the girls are sick and so forth, I have a different scent to use for each problem. But I even just simply love using scents to make me happy, cause I love a good smell when I enter a home! This diffuser is SO easy and also SO pretty!

    What they say : A beautifully designed electric aromatherapy diffuser offers a new and sophisticated way to fill your living space with the scents you love—simply add water and the essential oil of your choice, then turn it on. Through a ceramic resonator, the product uses ultrasonic vibrations to turn the fragrant water into mist, dispersing it gracefully into the air. Best of all, it's designed with a built-in timer and automatic shutoff so you can operate it worry-free.

  9. ELDERBERRY IMMUNE SUPPORT

    Why I love it : We just recently started using these in the last few months, and I am OBSESSED!!!! I have been hearing so much about elderberry and because we are starting to get into cold and flu season, I wanted to make sure we were taking some sort of supplement to ensure we were giving our immune systems the boost they needed! What I love is that they’re gentle enough for both girls to take (approved by pediatrician0, but even so, I just give them half of a gummy every day. Because this is new for their system, and I too have a weak stomach, I don’t want to overload their bodies. So I give them each half a gummy every day and it makes the bottle last twice as long! They taste great and I truly feel like they support their body! I also give Everly a Smarty Pants Probiotic every day as well for gut health cause she has some tummy issues like momma and it’s been amazing to see what it’s done for her!

    What they say : ESSENTIAL SUPPORT Zarbee's Naturals Children's Immune Support* Gummies, for your child when their immune system needs support*. These tasty and easy to chew gummies are for children ages 2+. WHOLESOME INGREDIENTS Our great-tasting Children's Elderberry Immune Support* Gummies provide your child with vitamins A, C, D, E & Zinc. They're made with real elderberry extract, which acts as an antioxidant & gives our gummies their delicious taste. SAFE & EFFECTIVE Our Children's Elderberry Immune Support* Gummies have no drugs, alcohol, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, or gelatin and are gluten free. With natural flavors and colors from naturally sourced ingredients. EASY TO CHEW Our Kid’s Elderberry Gummy is made with vegetarian-friendly ingredients. While other gummies use animal gelatin, we use fruit pectin to give our gummies their soft, springy texture.

  10. CORDLESS VACCUUM

    What I love : Okay here goes, IF YOU GET NOTHING ELSE FROM THIS LIST…YOU HAVE TO GET THIS THING! omggggg you guys. This is my favorite thing in the history of ever. It’s cordless, stays charged foreverrrrrrr and gets into all of the small spaces that are so hard to clean up from crumbs and all the things kiddos and dogs bring into this world! I also love that it is SOOOOO easy to clean and empty! I mean this with all of my being - YOU MUST TRY THIS THING OUT! I can’t get enough of it and literally use it every day of my life!

    What they say : Cord-free, hassle-free! HOLIFE cordless vacuum cleaner is lightweight and portable to use. Weight only 2.2lb, Free your movement and easy to clean stairs, kitchen, inside of your vehicles, hard to reach corners, wall edges without bulky and tangled cords.

  11. STAR LUNCHBOX

    What I love : Guys. I legit searched for a lunchbox for 4 MONTHS for Everly. I came up short. It was the worst thing ever haha! Everything was either too frilly or too masculine and I couldn’t find anything simple yet pretty and also good quality…until this little lady! And I am in love!!!! The bento box also fits PERFECTLY inside which is an added bonus and makes for packing lunches so easy! We truly love this thing and it’s so easy to wipe clean!

    What they say :

    A star-splashed lunchbox complete with a personalizable tag and a snap-close loop that attaches to a backpack is a total back-to-school must.

  12. BACKSEAT HEADREST HANGER

    What I love : Probably the most random thing to see on a mom hacks list, huh? BUT YOU GUYS!!!!!! omg. I can’t even handle how much I love these things! Okay here’s the reasons I say these are must buys. One, it clears up the floors. I am so bad about throwing allll the bags on the floors, and this way I can hang my purse up and easily reach back into it if I need to grab something while driving! Second, I can hang the girls bookbags on the back of the seats and they can easily reach into them to grab their toys while on the go. Three, it WORKS PERFECTLY with that bunny tablet case which rests perfectly inside the hooks, so it also acts as a tablet holder!!!!! They’re incredible. (They’re also great for hanging clothes for on the go so they don’t wrinkle!)

    What they say : No one likes an untidy car interior with plastic bags and kids’ toys rolling around on the floor. Organize your back seat clutter, floor and leg room with these universal headrest hooks that will instantly convert the back of your car seats into a great storage space for hanging your handbag, clothes, umbrellas, hats, coats, purse, kid’s toys, trash or plastic grocery bags and more! KEEP YOUR SHIRTS WRINKLE-FREE: Don’t block your rear view vision by hanging your jackets or dresses over the back window. Thanks to these space saving hooks, you can now enjoy a clear view and keep your shirts wrinkle-free, throughout your travels.

 

So there ya have it! My mama favorites AND everyday hacks that I think every mama needs. Be sure to pin the image above to a pinterest board for easy reference as so many of these items would be GREAT Christmas list items!! (I mean, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if this blog post ended up in your significant other’s email box so they could get a hint huh?) hehe!

Happy life hacking!

XX, Amy

FALL FOOD FAVORITES

 

I have been SO pumped to write this post!

#1, cause I’m a foodie. I love love love yummy food.

#2, cause I’m so excited to share so many recipes that others have mastered so that you can enjoy them with your family too!

#3, cause I just taught myself to bake and cook within the last five years. (When I was 26!) Five years ago I could hardly boil a pot of water let alone boil an egg. Practice and consistency is key! You too can learn to boil water! (hehehe) I hope this inspires you to step out of your (egg)shell! ;)

Disclaimer, we generally eat very healthy in our home - but I also believe in indulging every now and then. I think it’s good for your metabolism to mix things up, but more importantly … I think it’s good for your soul. So many yummy recipes can be altered to meet your diet restrictions and needs, so have fun with the holidays! Make something that’s festive! And if you’re typically picky or very restricted, have fun with baking something and giving it to someone else. I know someone will enjoy it!

p.s. I’m also excited to share our guest blogger today! Kelsey of Klos + Co will be joining us at the end of this entry with 3 AMAZING recipes for you to try with your family!!! Be sure to go give her some love over at her IG here! Thanks so much for pouring your heart (and hands) into those three recipes you shared, Kelsey!

 
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This yummy and EXTRA moist pumpkin bread is from my personal instagram account and was so so easy to make!!! It tasted like starbucks pumpkin loaf! We used it to BOO our neighbors!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 15-oz can 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby's)

DIRECTIONS:


Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Generously grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with butter and dust with flour (alternatively, use a baking spray with flour in it, such as Pam with Flour or Baker's Joy).


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk until well combined; set aside.


In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended.


Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Continue beating until very light and fluffy, a few minutes.


Beat in the pumpkin. The mixture might look grainy and curdled at this point -- that's okay.


Add the flour and mix on low speed until combined.


Turn the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for 65 – 75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Fresh out of the oven,the loaves have a deliciously crisp crust. If they last beyond a day, you can toast individual slices to get the same fresh-baked effect.

 

How adorable is this pretzel mix by Amanda Cruse?! And so simple!

This batch, we used: pretzel sticks, @theskinnypop popcorn, @chexcereal rice cereal, festive sprinkles & drizzled w. @ghirardelli white almond bark. Mix in a large bowl, spoon out onto parchment paper or cookie sheet, let harden for fifteen min & then break up into pieces. Store in a glass canister & snack forever! 

 

Cutest and simplest pumpkin crispy treats from the best blog The Mama Notes!!! We love Caitlin!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package of marshmallows

  • 3 tbs butter (or dairy-free butter alternative)

  • 5 cups of pumpkin cereal

DIRECTIONS:

Over low heat stir marshmallows and butter until completely melted. Immediately stir in cereal and remove from heat. Press into a greased glass baking dish, let cool and then cut into squares.

 

Another yummy recipe from my personal page, and this one is extra special cause we make it every year on my daddy’s Heaven welcoming anniversary. Chicken pot pie was his favorite.

INGREDIENTS:

For crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small (1 1/2 cups)

  • 4 medium carrots, diced small (2 cups)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (15 ounces)

  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons ice water); do not overmix.

  2.  Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or overnight (or freeze, up to 1 month).

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling: In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and carrots and cook until softened, 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add flour and stir to coat vegetables.

  4. Slowly add broth, whisking constantly until sauce is smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in peas. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in chicken and parsley. Pour filling into a 2-quart baking dish.

  5. On a floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Place dough over dish and fold overhang inward while pinching to crimp edge. Cut vents in dough. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling around edge, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

NOTES:

Roll your dough a couple inches larger than your dish: Folding it up and over, pinching as you go, forms a beautiful decorative edge.

To make potpies ahead of time, let the filling cool, then assemble and freeze for up to 4 months. Bake at 425 degrees, 1 1/4 hours (1 hour for small pies).

 
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MUMMY BARK! How cute is this from Creme de la Crumb?!

INGREDIENTS :
• 2 cups white chocolate chips
• 8 oreos
• candy eyes

DIRECTIONS:
1. Chop cookies into quarters and set aside. (Be sure to keep the bits and crumbs that fall aside when you're chopping the cookies).
2. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on half power for 2 minutes.
3. Stir, return to microwave for 20 seconds at a time stirring after each until smooth.
4. Transfer 1/4 cup of the chocolate to a resealable plastic bag and set aside.
5. Set aside the large cookie pieces and add the rest of the bits and crumbs to the white chocolate and stir to combine.
6. Pour chocolate onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Use the back of a spoon to spread chocolate to 1/8 inch thickness. Press reserved cookie pieces into the chocolate.
7. Put the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer for 2-5 minutes until chocolate cools completely.
8. Snip the corner of the plastic bag and drizzle reserved chocolate over the cooled chocolate and cookies.
9. Press candy eyes into drizzled chocolate in pairs to create mummy eyes.
10. Return to fridge or freezer until completely cooled. Use a butter knife to cut into chocolate to break into pieces and serve or store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

 

Jessica Garvin never disappointing, especially with these pumpkin pie milkshakes! Oh yes!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups vanilla reduced-fat ice cream (such as Healthy Choice), softened

  • 1 cup fat-free milk

  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice

  • 3 tablespoons frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

  • Pumpkin-pie spice (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine first 5 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Pour 3/4 cup ice cream mixture into each of 4 glasses. Top each with about 2 teaspoons whipped topping; sprinkle with the additional pumpkin-pie spice, if desired.

 

The prettiest and tastiest pumpkin pie from one of our all time favorite bloggers Heidi, and if you don’t already follow her - you MUST!!!

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CRUST

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup shortening

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cold water

FOR THE FILLING

  • 2 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin

  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  • Prepare pie crust by mixing together the flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour; add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time (you may need only 3 tablespoons, or up to 4 tablespoons). Mix dough and repeat until dough is moist enough to hold together.

  • With lightly floured, hands shape dough into a ball. On a lightly floured board roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. With a sharp knife, cut dough 1 1/2 inch larger than the upside-down 8- to 9-inch pie pan. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer it right-side up onto the pie pan. Unroll, easing dough into the bottom of the pie pan.

  • In a large bowl, beat pumpkin with evaporated milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt with an electric mixer or immersion blender. Mix well. Pour into a prepared crust. Bake 40 minutes or until when a knife is inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.

 

One of our favorite pictures of another one of her gorgeous pies, from one of our favorite people. We love you Casey!

INGREDIENTS:

2 batches of homemade pie crust (or 1 if you roll it out very thinly!)
7-8 small granny smith apples, peeled, sliced, and cored
1 stick butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:


1). Place the peeled, cored, and sliced apples in a large bowl. Set aside.

2). Preheat oven to 425F.

3). In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the 3 tbsp of flour and mix well, forming a paste. Add the water, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and mix well. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat to a simmer for an additional minute.

4). Remove from heat and reserve about 1/3 cup of filling for pie crust. Add remaining filling to apples. Toss well.

5). Pour apples into prepared pie crust, mounding slightly. Top with second pie crust (lattice design, etc). Brush the remaining 1/3 cup caramel filling over the crust.

6). Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil. I lightly spray the foil so it does not stick to the pie. Place the pie on top of a cookie sheet (to catch any drips) and bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 50 minutes (remove the foil the last 10 minutes to let the crust brown), or until done. The pie is done when the crust is golden-brown and the apples are soft when pierced with a fork.

7). Allow the pie to cool before serving. 

 

Nothing overly complicated here, just the SWEETEST little BOO pancakes by the incredibly inspiring Raven Vasquez!

Get you some letter cutters from Amazon, like these, and cut out homemade or Bisquick pancakes! And the best part is, you can do this for every holiday! We also love using the cutters for cookies too!

 

This is from my personal account and it’s my all time favorite fall recipe! Butternut squash soup!!

It’s the perfect soup for cool days and it’s always such a hit! You can make it sweet or spicy too! Just by adding different flavors! This recipe is super tailorable which I love!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large butternut squash

  • 2 carrots

  • 3 stalks of celery

  • 1 large onion

  • 5 cloves of garlic

  • 6 sage leaves

  • 6 sprigs of thyme

  • 1 sprig of rosemary

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper powder (or less, if you do not want a little kick)

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Peel, pit and chop the butternut squash into 1 inch squares. Add to a large roasting pan.

  3. Chop the carrots, celery and onions in big chunks and add to the pan.

  4. Peel the garlic and add cloves whole.

  5. Add the herbs, red pepper powder, salt and pepper. Add olive oil and toss to coat.

  6. Roast for 1 hour (or up to 1 hour and 15 minutes, if the veggies are not yet soft).

  7. Once the vegetables and herbs are roasted, add to food processor with 1 cup of vegetable stock and puree. Remove the stems from the herbs before pureeing.

  8. Pour mixture into a large saucepan. Add the remaining vegetable stock and stir well.

  9. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.

 

The CUTEST ghost pretzels from the beautiful Kendra of Hen and Co ! Super simple and only three ingredients!! (you can add whatever embellishments you want!)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (16 oz.) package Vanilla CANDIQUIK® Candy Coating

  • Pretzel rods

  • Mini chocolate chips (sprinkles and eyes for more designs!)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt Vanilla CANDIQUIK in tray according to package directions.

  2. Dip ½ of each pretzel rod in the melted CANDIQUIK; allow excess coating to drip off and place on wax paper.

  3. Before coating has set, place two mini chocolate chips on as the eyes. For the mouth, cut off the tip of a mini chocolate chip and place on the pretzel with the bottom side facing up.

 
 

These ADORABLE ghost cookies are from my girl Haley of Indy and Pippa. Co! Are they not the cutest?!?!?! She actually got this cutter from the Target Halloween section, but I’ll share my all time favorite rolled sugar cookie recipe here that is sooooo easy to frost and make cute like these!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter

  • 2 cups white sugar (I use 1 1/4 cup and we still love them!) 

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 5 cups flour

  • 2 tspns baking powder

  • 1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

  • Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Here's my all time favorite cream cheese frosting!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter

  • 8 oz. cream cheese

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  • Beat softened butter and cream cheese until well blended.

  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.

 

THE FOLLOWING BY KELSEY KLOS:

Fall is here, or at least that is what I hear/ see every day on instagram. Fall is definitely my favorite season, leaves changing, the holidays upon us and of course, pumpkin EVERYTHING. I unfortunately don't get to experience all the perks of the season. Living in the Virgin Islands fall means, it gets even hotter, I have MAJOR FOMO of pumpkin patches and cozy sweaters and my pumpkin spiced lattes are homemade and iced (no Starbucks for me).

As soon as September hits, I have to get creative to make our home feel like fall. Obviously my regular coffee becomes pumpkin flavored and I defuse all the fall oil blends. But the biggest way to incorporate the season is in the kitchen.

I'm starting with treats for the girls! The first recipe I've been making for my daughter, Denver for breakfast for almost two years, and have been meaning to share. They are mini pancake muffins- great for an easy snack and a quick breakfasts. I used my normal recipe but added a fall twist.

All you need:

Mini muffin tins 

Pam non stick spray

1 packet of Bisquick pancake mix 

1 cup of water (I substitute milk for more protein)

Baby food (this is where I sneak in fruits and veggies! I usually use the leftover baby food packets my girls don't finish) For this recipe to add a fall twist, I used sweet potato and squash.

Cinnamon (add nutmeg and pumpkin spice for fall flavors).

Preheat the oven to 350 and mix together the above ingredients. Spray your muffin tins with Pam and scoop the batter into the tins! I use a melon baller for an even scoop. Bake for 10-15 or until they are done in the middle. I honestly never time these I just use my nose and a toothpick!

And that's it! I put them all into a ziplock and they last us about a week! So great to pair with fresh fruit in the morning, or make it extra special with a little powdered sugar and maple syrup!

 

The best thing to pair with these muffins would obviously be pumpkin spice milk, right!? Inspiration by The Ever Co t shirt I thought I'd whip up some pumpkin spice milk for the girls, while I have my latte.

It super easy, bring your choice of milk to a boil in a saucepan. Add nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of pumpkin purée. Constantly stir to dissolve the purée. Once it has a light orange color let cool and refrigerate. Serve cold!

I added some fun paper straws with a little ribbon to make hem extra festive!

You can also start with heavy cream, so the same processes and you have creamer for your coffee!

 
 

Now for the adults! 

My favorite thing to make in the fall is chili! It makes the whole house smell amazing and SO yummy! Of course, it has to be a rainy day for me to pull off or it's too hot! I really like this recipe because I like to use what I have on hand, substitute for what you got!

What you'll need:

A large pot

A small saucepan 

Choice of meat: we use either chicken (1 breast per person) or jimmy dean sausage (1 tube)

Tomato sauce or salsa (1 jar)

Chili flavor packet 

Veggies of choice. We prefer warm colored peppers, fresh corn, green beans, carrots. This can be as easy as you make it- frozen or canned veggie work just fine. If you have the fresh produce (and the time) go for it.

Beans* optional- we don't prefer them.

Spices: salt, pepper, basil, thyme, cinnamon

Rice or corn bread, which ever you prefer to serve your chili over.

Cheddar cheese and Sour cream for garnish

Another perk of this chili is you can start cooking it as early as you'd like! I really love putting in on the stove at nap time that way when everyone gets their second wind at 5pm I'm not stuck in a hot kitchen.

Coat the big pot in EVOO and put over medium/ high heat.

Add the meat and cook. Add 1/2 the chili packet, olive oil and water to prevent the meat from getting dry. When the meat is almost cooked through add any veggies that need cooked. This is where I add any fresh produce to get a nice brown on them. Then dump in the rest. The jar of sauce, the rest of chili packet, canned veggies, spices to taste, etc.

let simmer!

Cook rice as directed in a small sauce pan before serving. Shred cheddar cheese then finish with sour cream and serve!

Really the best part of fall is the weather gets cooler so you can snuggle your family and little tighter!

Cheers and happy fall y'all!

Xo

Kelsey

 
 
 

pro tip : If you loved any of these recipes, be sure to pin the image above so you can always reference this blog post for fall food favorites in the future! It’ll stay right on your pinterest board for easy reference!

Thank you so MUCH Kelsey for these yummy recipes and to all the others for sharing your gorgeous pictures with us online! You’re truly all so inspirational!

Hugs and Happy Baking, Amy

PLAYROOM FAVORITES

 

I have to admit that one of my all time favorite rooms in the house is the girls’ playroom.

I love that the room is surrounded by windows and there’s always so much natural light for the girls to play.

We’ve also loved that the playroom is now on our bottom floor! This allows the girls to play while mama cleans and makes dinner and it’s simply a win all around!

I always get so many questions on their playroom, so I am sharing the first half of their playroom here! I will soon blog the other side as well as a “playroom inspiration” post, because there is TONS of playroom inspo all over pinterest! You can check out my “kiddos” board here which has so much inspiration!

So here she is! The girls’ shared playroom!

 
 
 

A few notes before we get to some links below!

  • The hubs built these shelves!!! And guess what? We did a blog tutorial that you can read HERE! You can also see what they looked like in their old playroom. I truly do miss them in that spot, BUT the location now is so much more practical!

  • I always get tons of questions about the girls baskets! The sources are all answered below! But along with that, I always get asked what’s in them! So here’s a list from top left to bottom right:

    • DVDs, remotes, dog toys, Gathre washable play mats, play food for kitchen, play appliances for kitchen, baby dolls, blankets, building blocks and tiles, dinosaur toys and cars.

  • I linked a smaller kitchen below, but here is the link to our corner play kitchen here! It would be such a great Christmas present for your kiddos!!! Fair warning, it took us 3 hours to put together BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!!! It’s the most used toy in our house! Couldn’t recommend it anymore! (I shared about how we painted all of the hardware below!) The girls are 4 and 2 and both equally love it!

  • I’ve thrifted a ton of their kitchen appliances/ flatware and it’s my biggest tip! You can find the cutest items for the play kitchen at thrift stores!

  • The kitchen wooden retro style play food IS FINALLY back in stock!!! You can shop that here for the first set and here for the second!

  • The girls aprons are from one of our absolute best friends Haley of Indy and Pippa Co!!! She is releasing some tonight but be sure you’re following her here to get updates should they sell out!!!

  • Finally, the weaving you see above the kitchen was a DIY! You can find my tutorial here, but an even better video tutorial is available in my “DIY highlights” icon on my personal instagram page here!

 
 
 

I’ll share links below for some of my all time favorite playroom items! If there’s anything you see that isn’t linked, please let me know!!! As always, you can click on the name of the item and it will take you to the direct link for the item!

  1. WOODEN PLAY MIXER - The girls use this SO much and love that it’s just like mama’s big mixer! They "mix cakes and cupcakes” all the time!

  2. BABY DOLL STROLLER - Not gonna lie, we may need to get the girls another one of these cause they fight over the one we have! ha! But it’s cause they just love it so stinkin much. The quality is incredible!

  3. PLAY TABLE - We’ve had this for 4 years and it’s a favorite! So durable but also super light! I just painted the bottoms of the legs of ours pink to go with our decor more!

  4. BELLY BASKET WITH POMS - We clearly have a thing for rattan and belly baskets. I hope they never go out of style, cause if so…I’m in trouble hehe! We typically get all of our bigger baskets from Home Goods, TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but ALL of our smaller baskets are from our favorite belly basket shop We Are Broots!

  5. PLAY KITCHENETTE - I linked a smaller version here but above I linked the one we have! Either one is amazing if you redo all of the “hardware!” All you have to do (BEFORE YOU PUT IT TOGETHER) is spray paint all of the pieces! We used normal rustoleum spray paint from Home Depot or Lowes and we highly suggest using a rose gold or copper! It makes the kitchen look so modern and we love it! To dry, we put wire hangers in the pieces to hang them up to ensure they’d have a smooth finish! (pro tip thanks to the handy hubs).

  6. WASHABLE RUG - Our newest piece finally arrived and it is INCREDIBLE!!! Guys, I’ve been wanting a rug in here that didn’t get too dirty but that was still cute and matched the decor AND I FOUND IT! This Lorena Canals rug is MACHINE WASHABLE!!!! We can literally pick it up and throw it in the wash whenever we want! SOLD!!! and the price point is SO reasonable! Can’t beat that.

  7. HIPPO ROCKER - I have the pink piggy rocker, but sadly they are sold out! I equally love this hippo rocker just as much and the girls seriously love going on “piggy rides” on theirs!

  8. WOODEN PLAY COFFEE MACHINE - My favorite kitchen appliance, and the girls too. They make me morning coffee and it’s truly the cutest thing ever! We love this play coffee machine!!!

 

I hope that answered any questions you may have! But if it didn’t, be sure you send me a message on my instagram so I can get back to you quickest!

Hugs and happy playing!

XX, Amy

HALLOWEEN KIDS BOOK READING LIST

 

Of all the holidays / seasons - I am most inspired by the colors of this time of year. And these books SCREAM fall colors! Gimme all the orange, pinks and blacks!

You can read more about why we love children's books soooo much here, (which also takes you to our favorite summer book's reading lists), but let's just get right to it. 

 
 

Here's our collection of my favorite kid's Halloween books that I think every little kiddo needs in their collection! The best part? They're all available on Amazon Prime! (gotta love that 2 day shipping!)

I love to display the current season or holiday books on these Ikea shelves here in our girls' shared bedroom! (we have 3 x 45 1/4 shelves). They're so good right?!? They're the PERFECT display shelves and you can't beat the price! 

FOR ALL OF THE BOOKS LISTED BELOW, YOU CAN CLICK THE PRICE LISTED NEXT TO THE BOOK TITLE AND IT WILL TAKE YOU DIRECTLY TO THE AMAZON LINK (AND YOU CAN EASILY ADD IT TO YOUR WISHLIST THERE!)

 

1. TRIANGLE : $14.39

Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks. . . . With this first tale in a new trilogy, partners in crime Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen will have readers wondering just who they can trust in a richly imagined world of shapes. Visually stunning and full of wry humor, here is a perfectly paced treat that could come only from the minds of two of today’s most irreverent — and talented — picture book creators.

 

2. THE SCARIEST BOOK EVER : $12.74

Reader beware! This is the scariest book ever! Or so claims its melodramatic ghost narrator. You can go ahead and turn the page, but don't expect him to come with you. Anything might pop out of that black hole in the middle of the forest. What do you mean it's just a bunny? Well, it's probably a bunny with big fangs. Watch out, it's--picking pumpkins with its friends, you say? Actually, despite the ghost's scare-mongering, none of the animal characters in the illustrations seem scary at all. . . . What's up with that? Many delights, such as surprises after the page turn, an alarmist narrator, and punch lines to anticipate make this book a scream for both kids and parents.

 

3. GHOSTS : $14.27

A playful, delightfully illustrated book that sets the record straight about ghosts. Ghosts are not sheets with holes dragging around a ball and chain. Indeed, they're just as colorful and diverse as humans. Here you'll meet the ghost of the chimney, the TV, the kitchen, and the library, to mention just a few.

 

4. CAT'S NIGHT OUT : $15.19

From two cats waltzing to twenty cats in a conga line, dancing felines take to the streets, the fire escapes, and the rooftops in this charming concept picture book that is part counting and part introduction to music, dance, and rhythm. The short rhyming text makes it a perfect read-aloud treat, and with vivid illustrations from a breakout DreamWorks animator, readers and listeners alike will be thrilled to see what happens one night on Easy Street when a pair of cats start to groove to the beat.

 

5. PLUME : $16.20 

In this lovely book, young readers are introduced to a variety of beautiful birds, from the familiar chicken to the exotic ibis. But lurking in the background of every page is a cat, who also seems very interested in the birds.

With its funny illustrations and engaging concepts, this clever counting book will invite readers to linger over every page.

 

6. VAMPIRINA BALLERINA : $9.14

Oh, to be a ballerina! It's a challenge for any little girl, but even more so if you happen to be a vampire like Vampirina. First of all, you have to find a class that meets at night. Then you have to figure out how to perfect your form when you can't see yourself in the mirror? And then there's wearing pink (not the most flattering of colors if you happen to be undead) and that nagging urge to take a little nip out of the other dancers. And worse of all? STAGE FRIGHT!!!

 

7. NO SUCH THING : $14.36

One cool day in late October, Georgia noticed something weird. Objects would move around the house and sometimes they even disappeared. Now, some people may have wondered (especially at this time of year) if this was the work of something spooky? But not clever Georgia! She has all the explanations and none of the fear! Join her in debunking the spookiest of ghoulish and ghostly mischief in this Halloween adventure!

 

8. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE : $12.45

Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Maurice Sendak's Caldecott Medal-winning picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children's books of all time. A must for every child's bookshelf.

Introduce a new generation to Max's imaginative journey with this special anniversary edition. Let the wild rumpus continue as this classic comes to life like never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak's artwork.

 

9. MAKE FRIENDS WITH A GHOST : $12.59

What do you do when you meet a ghost? One: Provide the ghost with some of its favorite snacks, like mud tarts and earwax truffles. Two: Tell your ghost bedtime stories (ghosts love to be read to). Three: Make sure no one mistakes your ghost for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you aren't looking! If you follow these few simple steps and the rest of the essential tips in How to Make Friends with a Ghost, you'll see how a ghost friend will lovingly grow up and grow old with you. 

A whimsical story about ghost care, Rebecca Green's debut picture book is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and the timeless theme of friendship.

 

10. GILBERT THE GHOST : $15.45

Spartacus goes to ghost school like all the other ghosts, but he's a special ghost: he doesn't like to screech in a scary way, he doesn't want to haunt and was always polite. What will happen to Spartacus when he's sent by the Head of school to the Abandoned Tower? A warm picture book by bestselling author-illustrator Guido van Genechten about a friendly and special ghost.

 

11. THEY ALL SAW A CAT : $12.95

The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws . . . In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?

 

I hope you can find joy in the little moments today. 

Like throwing all the comfy pillows on the ground, curling up with those babies, and reading a story of magic and hope.

Hold those babies closer for me. They keep our passion alive here at The Ever Co.

XOXO, 

Amy

FALL BUCKET LIST

It's finally here! My favorite blog post of the year : Fall (Halloween) Bucket List!

We go into full Fall mode on September 1st here to squeeze every bit out of this magical time of year that we can! From pumpkin painting to roasting pumpkin seeds to decorating your front porch with fresh pumpkins and mums, here you'll find a mixture of everything to help you celebrate every day like it's a holiday. 

So grab a cup of PSL (pumpkin spice latte), a hot cup of tea or some warm apple cider, cozy up with your favorite flannel throw, light a fall scented candle and join me as we look into a season full of bucket list adventures! 

You can download the bucket list here to print it out at home (or blow it up at an office store)! Then you can laminate it and mark items off the list as you make memories this fall. 

 
 

Create magical costumes via Becky Kimball

 

Winterize your garden via Makelle Ahlin

 

Watch spooky movies (Hocus Pocus is a fave!) via Jessica Garvin

 

Collect new mums via Katie Westphal

 

Make ghost pretzels via Kendra Henderson

 

Hay ride adventures via Caitlin Teal

 

Pumpkin carving sink baths via Melissa Brookes

 

Halloween coloring via Katie Prouty

 

Homemade cinnamon rolls via Caitie Newms

 

Dreamiest porch ever via Kindred Vintage

 

Searching for unique pumpkins via Kayla Sampson

 

Pumpkin patch adventures via Celeste Wright

 

County fair cuteness via Sarah Schneider

 

Pumpkin painting via Brittney McNutt

 

Pumpkin carving and display goals via Jessie Pennington

 

Farmers market fresh flowers via Liz Marie Galvin

 

Camping and glamping adventures via Sarah Schneider

 

Sweetest pumpkin painting via Amanda Rydell

 

Pumpkin seed picking and roasting via Amy Hawthorne 

 

Mum picking adventures via The Shine Project

 

Paper bat decorating perfection via Jessica Garvin

 

Outdoor movie night adventures via Between You and Me Signs

 

Butternut squash soup making via Amy Hawthorne

 

Spooky book reading via Stephanie Kursar

 

Spider web magic via Jessica Garvin

 

Perfect pumpkin finds via The Vintage Exchange

 

Simple fall decor via Hooray Everyday

 

Yummy spooky brittle via Albionfit

 

Family pumpkin carving via House of Lu

 

Spookiest pretty porch display via Urban Outfitters

 

Trick or Treating adventures via Cassidy Compton

 

Gorgeous apple pie via Casey Wiegand

 

Yummiest pumpkin pie via Heid Matson

 

Spooky books and Halloween jammies via Sarah Anderson

 

Leaf jumping adventures via Elsie Larson 

 

BOO cookie cutters via Raven Vasquez

 

Sweetest Halloween jammies cuddles via Calli Fox

 

Ghost pretzels via Stephanie

 

Fall wardrobe goals via Jessica Oakes

 

Pumpkin spice latte bliss via Jessica Garvin

 

Remember always, that as much as we want you to make memories and celebrate life with those you love most, never accept quantity over quality. Make the memories you make count. Chase after the quality of each adventure versus the quantity of adventures you create. So if you finish all 50 of these or just 2, make them count.

xoxo, Amy

HALLOWEEN PAJAMAS

I'm a sucker for cute, comfy and festive pajamas. Let's face it, we basically live in pajamas so I love finding ones that go with the current season or holiday we're in! 

I just found some of our newest jammies for the fall and Halloween, and I HAD to share these great finds with you! 

Plus, they're almost ALL on sale right now for Labor Day!!! So it's time to stock up now. 

***all are linked directly by clicking on the title of the pajama. Happy shopping and lounging! 

 
 

SUMMERTIME FAVORITES

Can't believe our very first Ever Co summer is coming to an end.

To say farewell, we've rounded up our favorite summer items for 2018.

If you follow my personal page on instagram, you probably saw most of these in action all summer long! Cause here's the thing, I will never share products with you that I don't believe in and that I wouldn't use for our family!

Let us know in the comments below if you have any other summertime favorites!

***you can click on the title of the item and it will take you directly to the link to shop!

 
 

1. KID'S PICNIC TABLE : We love this set because the girls can eat dinner outside on it, we can paint on it, play playdoh on it and all the in between! The style is very up to date too! Our suggestion (and what we did) is to stain the table and seal it so it is weatherproof and holds up better over time! We've had it all summer and have had no issues! 

2. ADULT HEART FLOAT : I'm a sucker for cute floats and we've had this one for a couple years now! It's the perfect float to travel with and is easily washed, folded and stored away until next summer! 

3. WOMEN'S STRIPED BATHING SUIT : My ALL TIME FAVORITE bathing suit and it's sooooo cheap!!! I have never felt so comfortable in a bathing suit. I highly recommend this one! I got my normal size of Small but could probably go with a medium too for a little more butt coverage hehe!

4. PORCH CANOPY : We are quite obsessed with our porch canopy! We leave it up from spring to fall and it's the perfect way to add a little shade to our porch without having to build an overhead. We also love that it doubles as a tailgate or bake sale or yard sale tent and can be moved around if needed! 

5. DONUT POOL : We've had this for two years and it is still in the BEST shape and still our favorite summer item of all time. There's just something so cute and sweet about swimming in a blow up donut pool! We wipe it down after a few days with a sponge and dish soap to ensure it doesn't mold. 

6. SINK OR SWIM FLOAT : Again, I'm a sucker for cute floats. This was a new addition this year and it's moving right up there as one of my favorite purchases of all time! 

7. WATER BEADS : We canNOT get enough of these!!! We've been playing with them alllll summer long and they are so good for sensory and tactile development! Our little Everly (who has developmental delays) spends HOURS on our porch playing with them. We also love that it gets her outside and she plays with her little dinosaurs in the beads! 

8. WATER TABLE : To go along with the water beads we HIGHLY suggest this water table! We've had it for 2 years now and seriously LOVE IT OH SO MUCH! It's easy to clean and maintain, the perfect height for kids, and acts as the perfect basin for water beads! (and sand if we get brave one day hehe)

9. BABY RAINBOW SWIMSUIT : This was a last minute buy but for the price...it couldn't be beat! 

 

And here's some pics of us enjoying some of these items this summer! 

 

wearing the striped swimsuit here, girls are in Kortni Jeane and Indy and Pippa co.

 

donut pool and canopy tent shown here

 

water table and water beads with the neighbors

 

kids picnic table with the donut pool and canopy tent

 

We truly do hope you've had the best summer EVER!

xoxo, Amy

LABOR DAY SALES

GUYS. I'm all about a sale. I rarely buy anything at full price! Anyone else?!

I have been eyeing so many things at Abercrombie, H&M and American Eagle lately just hoping they'd go on sale, and guess what?!?!? Their Labor Day Sale is already live! 

I wanted to share these finds with you first before they sell out!

So happy shopping!

***All items are linked below if you click on the title of the item! 

 
 
 
 
 
 

KID'S SUMMER READING LIST

 

It's taken me all summer to blog this.

So it's only fitting that with 8 days left on The Ever Co's summer calendar I am finally blogging our all time favorite kid's summer books! 

 
 

My mother in law was a kindergarten teacher and has graciously handed down so many children's books to our family. They are one of my most treasured possessions for my girls because she and her late mother hand wrapped nearly every single one for the classroom. Inside so many I find little notes and dates and signatures of "Robyn."

But ironically, I have always been an avid children's book collector for many many years. She knows this and was so honored to pass them down to us. We love you Nona!!! 

I've just always been so drawn to the whimsical illustrations and simple, yet powerful messages that children's books have to offer. The stories of magic, promise, hope, joy, strength, resiliency and community. 

I love that they're typically all reasonably priced and the easiest gift for other children! If I gift a book, I always write a little note in the cover, because you never know what that special handwritten note could mean to somebody someday.

One day, I actually plan on writing a little note to my girls in every single book they own. Maybe on a night that we read the book I'll write something funny they did. Or something that the book reminds me about their childhood. Nevertheless, handwritten notes are a lost art. Never stop writing them.

Fun fact: I hope to write and illustrate children's books myself one day! 

But until that day comes, here I am hoarding all the books for every magical season every year brings! 

So here's our collection of my favorite kid's summer books, that I think every little kiddo needs in their collection! The best part? They're all available on Amazon Prime! (gotta love that 2 day shipping!)

I love to display the current season or holiday books front and center on these custom built in bookshelves the hubby built in our girls' shared bedroom! They're so good right?!? We're so lucky to have our handyman. 

for all of the books listed below, you can click the price listed next to the book title and it will take you directly to the Amazon link (and you can easily add it to your wishlist there!)

 

1. Today : $13.56 hardcover 

Every day is full of endless possibilities - especially TODAY!
The simplest moment has the potential to become extraordinary in this beautiful book by Julie Morstad. From getting dressed, to having breakfast, to choosing ways to go, Today has a little something to delight everyone.

 

2. Amelia Earhart : $8.36 hardcover

When Amelia was young, she liked to imagine she could stretch her wings and fly away like a bird. As a grown woman, she set a new female world record for flying up to 14,000 feet. She also flew across the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, and eventually undertook the most dangerous mission of all: to fly all the way around the world. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the aviator's life.

 

3. Wendell the Narwhal : $13.62 hardcover

Everyone in the ocean can make music, except for Wendell the Narwhal. His big, pointy horn can't go "pop" or "clappy clap clap" or even "whoosh". Will Wendell find a way to join in with symphony of sea creatures?

 

4. Jabari Jumps : $13.71 hardcover

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

 

5. Smart About Sharks : $13.96

It’s time to learn about the sea’s most feared (and most misunderstood) residents: sharks!
Owen Davey returns to nonfiction to explain the mysteries of those denizens of the deep. Some deadly, some not-so-deadly, and almost all just generally misunderstood. Exciting and detailed illustrations fill the page and educate young readers about these thrilling residents of the sea! Delivering information with the same whimsical text and brash illustration that saw his previous book win the affection of the Wall Street Journal, Smart About Sharks is sure to have teeth!

 

6. The Little Gardener : $12.56

There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was).
In this gentle, beautiful tale, Emily Hughes, the celebrated author of Wild, departs from the larger than life Wild-girl of her debut to pursue a littler than life Gardener, in a story that teaches us just how important it is to persist and try, no matter what the odds.
With delicately woven tapestries of illustrated magic, Hughes once again transports us to a world not unlike our own, while still brimming with fantasy and wonder.

 

7. National Parks : $8.99

Every area of the world can be mapped out for adventure, and brilliant babies love the sophistication of traveling by train.

 

8. The Moose Belongs to Me : $14.39

Wilfred is a boy with rules. He lives a very orderly life. It's fortunate, then, that he has a pet who abides by rules, such as not making noise while Wilfred educates him on his record collection. There is, however, one rule that Wilfred's pet has difficulty following: Going whichever way Wilfred wants to go. Perhaps this is because Wilfred's pet doesn't quite realize that he belongs to anyone.
A moose can be obstinate in such ways.
Fortunately, the two manage to work out a compromise. Let's just say it involves apples.

 

9. How to Be a Wildflower : $11.36

A fresh perspective, an outdoor exploration, a new adventure about to begin—How to Be a Wildflower is the book to celebrate these and other wide-open occasions. Encouraging self-discovery through encounters with nature, beloved artist Katie Daisy brings her beautiful paintings and lettering to this collection of things to do and make, quotes, meditations, natural history, and more. A recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie, a prompt to hike by the light of the moon, a place to press flowers: every page inside the charming textured two-piece case invites readers to wander, gather, savor, and ponder the natural world around them. For every wild and free spirit—and those who aspire to be—this is a field guide to living life to the fullest.

 

10. Wild : $13.04

In this beautiful picture book by Hawaiian artist Emily Hughes, we meet a little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth—she was taught to talk by birds, to eat by bears, and to play by foxes. She is unashamedly, irrefutably, irrepressibly wild. That is, until she is snared by some very strange animals that look oddly like her, but they don't talk right, eat right, or play correctly. She's puzzled by their behavior and their insistence on living in these strange concrete structures: there's no green here, no animals, no trees, no rivers. Now she lives in the comfort of civilization. But will civilization get comfortable with her?

 

11. Nature's Day : $16.99

This first book of nature helps young readers to discover the world of wildlife on their doorstep. Beginning in spring, this book revisits nine different places, including the farm, the back yard, and the woods, during each of the four seasons through the year and explores the changing scenery and animal life found there. Informative and fun text teamed with gorgeous, decorative illustrations make this the perfect book to celebrate each season with.

 

I hope you can find joy in the little moments today. 

Like throwing all the comfy pillows on the ground, curling up with those babies, and reading a story of magic and hope.

Hold those babies closer for me. They keep our passion alive here at The Ever Co.

xoxo, Amy

OUR SHOP STORY

The week The Ever Co went from being a full time hobby to a full time job.

and also the week I had to personally make the decision to sink or swim.

Here's our story.

Thursday, August 16, 2018: We were prepared to launch a new line like every other limited edition line we'd launched for the previous 8 months since our little shop came to be. 

Except this time, I could tell something was different. The feedback I was getting from our community at The Ever Co was CRAZY. I was gaining an abnormally high number of followers by the minute, and I could tell this was going to be a very successful Back to School / early fall launch.

But what I didn't know was how successful it would be.

We launched four designs and in total, 520 shirts were purchased in a combined total of 8 minutes.

 

The shirt that changed our business. 

 

You would probably think that we were poppin' bottles of champagne and celebrating huh?

You hear all the stories of shops having their "moment". Their claim to fame per say. And quite honestly, our tees went on a mini viral spree. The instagram algorithm which has worked against small business owners for soooo long was actually working for me and spreading our tees like wildfire. Honestly? Who knows how many shirts would've actually sold had the stocked inventory  been "unlimited." We'll never know. 

But my celebration never happened.

and honestly, it was quite the opposite.

From the moment we sold out of 520 shirts at 10:02 pm on Sunday August 19th, 2018, to the moment my tired wet eyes finally fell asleep the next morning at 2:00 a.m., I sat in my office and cried.

Not quite the success story I imagined.

But I wanna share why this hit me so hard, and try to explain a little about the business model we are aiming for here at The Ever Co.

My hope is that in sharing these words you will understand why we have limited quantities, why we more than likely will always have limited quantities and why my heart was so crushed to sell out so fast. You've watched this business go from dream on a paper napkin to full blown reality, and it's an honor to share this story with you. 

 
 

On June 4th, 2018 I officially became a "stay at home mom." 

Up until then, The Ever Co was truly just a hobby. I put in minimal time to the business, but in June I knew I needed to start pouring my heart and soul back into a community I was so eager and passionate to Found last December. 

What I didn't realize was that our little Everly was going to be diagnosed with Austim this year and that there would be so many other huge life changes for our family that would be continuous competing requirements with my desire to jump in head first to this business. 

It's all taken so much energy from me - more than I realized I had. And every single morning I open my eyes, thank the Lord for another day here on this Earth, place my feet on the ground and pray for energy and grace to get through another day living selflessly for so many people I love. 

(side note: I wrote a post on Time Management Hacks if you're interested in reading it. It's saved me time and time again.)

So I've continued to just give as much as I could to this business while not jeopardizing time with my family. That's a choice I've made and will always make. The hubby and those two little girls will always always come first.  I've heard too many stories of entrepreneurs losing their relationships because they poured too much of themselves into their businesses. Cause their hustle couldn't stop hustling. And I never want that to be the case for me. I think that's why I dream of doing something that the family can be involved in. One day, our little pumpkin patch or Christmas Tree farm dreams will come true. 

 
 

In making that decision though, I've had to make some major business decisions as well. While Blake is still equally the co-founder of The Ever Co, he's also still an active duty army pilot, which means understandably he doesn't have nearly as much time to put into it as myself. He handles all of the day to day financial management, inventory input, buyer analytics, shipping material purchases, product photography, and actuary type risk management data analysis. (ha!) 

I've had the honor and burden of single handedly running the other 80% of this business. You can call me a 

  • marketing strategist
  • brand and content curator
  • graphic designer
  • merchandiser 
  • social media manager
  • customer service agent
  • community outreach coordinator
  • inventory manager

And this is what EVERY SINGLE small business owner has to decide when the moment comes.

When is it time to outsource some of these duties? When is it time to ask for help? When is it time to allow yourself to grow while being able to stay true to who you are and what your brand was intended to be.

So many decisions came pouring in this weekend. And while Blake was sleeping cause he had to be up early for work the next morning, I sat in my office and cried big ole alligator tears that poured straight onto the keyboard I'm typing this on right now. 

How did we get here so fast? What am I supposed to do?

Quite honestly, this weekend was the first time since I started putting pen to paper a year ago to make this business happen that I wholeheartedly believed in myself. Believed that this could really be it! This could be my "job" for the rest of my life. The Ever Co could actually retire us.

the first time I truly believed I could swim. 

But ironically, it was also the first weekend that I doubted everything I was doing. That I started questioning if I was in way too deep.  If we were growing too fast and couldn't keep up. 

the first time I truly believed I would sink. 

It's crazy that your heart and mind can go to completely opposite ends of the spectrum in a moment like this. But every single possible thought of success and failure crossed through my mind and I felt like I was drowning in my own thoughts. 

I sat on my phone and read nearly 300 messages from people asking why we sold out. why a pre-order didn't have unlimited stock. when we were gonna restock. why their carts had items in them and then the items sold out before they could check out. and the list goes on. I then read another 100 emails echoing the same thoughts.

i was sinking fast.

I hopped on my phone and texted two of my closest friends and business partners Haley of Indy and Pippa Co and Blake of Jean and June. 

and I just said, "help." I feel defeated.

For the next hour at 10:00 pm they assured me that I was okay and they gave me the boost of confidence I so desperately needed in a moment I felt all alone. They continued to remind me that I was doing everything I could and didn't know this would happen.

But they both continued to say something that will resonate with me until the day The Ever Co no longer exists: You are doing ALL YOU CAN while not jeopardizing time with your babies and hubby. 

And they were so so right. That was all I needed to hear to start swimming out of deep waters into shallow territory.

i started to swim again.

I hopped back on Instagram and carefully wrote some defensive messages about why our shop is the way it is, and instantly started receiving so many messages of encouragement. It was as though everyone knew (without knowing) that I was really having a hard time. The messages of encouragement flowed in and finally by 2 a.m. I was able to close my eyes and look forward to the joy He so graciously brings anew every morning.

 
 

So a night that I should've been celebrating, I felt defeated.

And here's why.

I am a people pleaser by nature. I've been that way for my entire life. I've gotten sooooo much better at it over the years (mostly since meeting Blake and being in the Army), but I'm still a pleaser by nature.

And it's not because I want to necessarily make everyone happy and make everyone love me. Quite honestly it's just cause when I care about something or someone, I care about them hard. I am so passionate about the things I love, and when they hurt, I hurt. When they worry, I worry. When they're disappointed, I'm disappointed. So I'm overly passionate about this community because I truly LOVE you all. I want to serve you, because you allow me to pursue my passion. 

I wrote a blog post when I first started the blog called "Redefining profit" and the main theme was that I didn't care how much money we made. My promise was to always pursue the people.

you. 

So when all of the messages started pouring in of disappointment for selling out too fast, I felt like I let an entire community down. I felt so painfully defeated. The anxiety that I deal with daily started pouring in the floodgates and I was sinking. fast. 

I started questioning how I could've done everything better instead of being down right grateful for 520 orders. 

but joy comes in the morning.

And I woke up this morning feeling revived. Blake and I had a "business meeting" hahah! for about two hours and I placed another huge order of shirts to get us through fall. 

i'm swimming again. 

So here's the deal.

I don't think we're gonna change much about our business model. For now. I know that for this season that we're in - it's what's right for our family. I can't risk it for them.

Our shop was founded to inspire you to celebrate holidays and create family traditions with those you love most. 

Our tees were created to inspire you to ACT. To get out and make memories with your loved ones.

Because each of our tees has a distinct purpose and correlates with a specific event or holiday, we release them in limited quantities because they are unique to a certain time of the year. 

We did this to limit the amount of dead stock we would maintain. Our goal was to sell through 75% of our inventory every month so we wouldn't have to maintain a lot of stock on our shelves as we move to the next holiday. In doing this, it allows us to continuously bring you new trendy and hip designs for every season and occasion! So if you don't snag one one launch, you can hopefully get one at another. 

Being that we are a Military family, this is CRITICAL for us. We cannot maintain a lot of stock because we are constantly moving. It's just not smart for us. 

Additionally, we are a live debt free kinda family. Both in and out of the business. We pay for everything on our credit cards and ensure we are able to pay it off every month to build up our credit while maintaining no debt. Every month, we then put 40-50% of our paycheck into savings or investments. We've implemented these same principles into our business and are doing everything we can to remain debt free. In doing this, we are only using the money made from previous launches to reinvest into the company to fund future launches + more! 

So the better our sales do, the more we can bring you in the future. 

Because our shirts are made custom for our shop from scratch right here in the USA, our turnaround time is very long. From the moment I pay for an order, it takes 4-6 weeks to have the fabric cut, sewn, dyed, screen printed and sent back to me to send to you! I am extremely involved in the process and keep an eye on the timeline throughout it all to try and get the shirts as quickly as possible, but I also know that it's because we are getting the BEST quality organic cotton shirts and so every minute and day that we wait is worth it because of the quality. 

However, with this timeline, that also means we have to "front" the costs of all tees. Even if we do a pre-order, we are paying for the tees up front because of the timeline. This is specifically why our pre-orders also have "limited stock". We will continue working to announce and release pre-orders sooner so that customers are actually able to front the costs for their own tees, but that will all be a work in progress. The end goal will be to have unlimited pre-order stocks. 

So... for now we will continue releasing limited quantities at each launch and based on the response and time available we will do a "pre-order" sale shortly following the launch.

 
 

We just started all of this 8 months ago. We just ask for so much grace upon grace as we continue learning to swim over and navigate these new waters. 

And if you can put your trust in me, I promise we will continue to learn and be the best Ever Co tribe leaders we can possibly be. 

I pray that this blog post (which was probably way too long and way more than you wanted to know-story of my life) brings some light to our shop and how it came to be. I hope that it will answer questions in the future if we run into this again. 

I also pray that I don't have a night like that again. I know that there will be so many sink or swim moments for our Ever Co journey, but I hope every time we find ourselves in that rip tide:

we're able to swim.

And lastly, If you're a small business owner and are reading this, are you sinking or swimming? I pray with every ounce of my being that this post gives you a little boost of encouragement to reevaluate your passion and your purpose. Don't over hustle the hustle. Keep reminding yourself why you started and who you serve. 

there you will find shallow waters.

there you will swim. 

xoxo,

Amy

 

 

 

 

PARTY PLANNING STRATEGIES

 

I remember two years ago reading an article on Forbes that said being an "event coordinator or planner" was the fifth most stressful job in the country. This was only surpassed by the military, law enforcement, firefighters and airplane pilots.  I looked up the article again, and the same Forbes article for 2017 still ranked it as the 5th most stressful job.

It was that same year that I started dreaming about the possibility of Blake and I owning an event venue one day. Somewhere in the mountains, with a small pumpkin patch and/or Christmas Tree Farm on the property too. We have big dreams, let me tell ya.

But the reality of knowing that "event planning" was so stressful really scared me. And it still does, if I'm being honest.

I  know how incredibly stressful it is to plan the girls' birthday parties (with a total of 20 guests in attendance), so I can't even imagine planning a party for 100-200 +. 

However, there's something about event planning stress that's always stuck out to me - the outcome is 99% of the time SO WORTH it. Seeing the smiles on my girls' faces; hearing the guests say how much they've loved the parties; looking at all the pictures of the party and seeing how it all came together - to me, that's always made the stress so worth it.

But what if I said it didn't have to be as stressful? What I've realized is that the things that make party planning so hard is not giving myself enough time.

procrastination is a buzz killer. 

So, what if I said by just implementing a few steps each month, you can plan a dream party in five months versus cramming it into a few short last minute weeks?

It's possible friends and I'd LOVE to share my "Five Month Party Planning Strategies" with you! 

You can download the full file here for easy reference on your own desktop computer, but I'll also walk you through each step here!

So get ready, grab some coffee or tea, and let's start planning the best party EVER!

 
 

You can download our overall checklist here and print it off! We suggest laminating it and storing it away so you can use it over and over again for parties. Simply use a dry erase marker (or permanent) over the laminate and mark off items as they're completed. 

 
1 step party plan copy.jpg
 

If you really wanna overachieve, download our full party planning strategy PDF booklet, go to Office Max or Staples and get it laminated and binded, then use this as your party planning booklet! You can write straight on the sheets for each of your parties and make notes as you complete each task! 

 
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I truly hope someone can implement some of these steps while party planning! And I also pray that we can all make party planning a little less stressful by being proactive and intentional in alllll of the things that go into making a party so incredibly magical for those we love most.

Remember, don't stress out. Give yourself five months to plan the best party EVER!

xoxoxo, Amy

BIRTHDAY PARTY INSPIRATION `

If you're needing some birthday party inspiration you're in the right place! 

We've curated a selection of our all time favorite birthday parties and we hope you find something that you love! 

You can visit the links above each pic to see the amazing sources and to see more pictures from the celebrations. Enjoy browsing! 

 
 

P.S. if you haven't seen our "Five Month Party Planning Strategies" post, you have to check it out here! There you'll find a step by step guide to planning the best party EVER in five months so you aren't stressing and cramming at the very end! 

You can also see our DIY balloon garland tutorial here.

More party inspo can be found over at our PARTIES pinterest board here!

 

PARTY ONE : SPACE JAM.

  • source: LENZO
  • what we love: the crescent moon balloon, the whimsical star backdrop and the neutral palette! 
 

PARTY TWO : FIESTA.

 

PARTY THREE : ALOHA ONE.

  • source: Meg McMillin
  • what we love: the orange color mixed with neutrals and the Aloha theme!
 

PARTY FOUR : OH BABY.

  • source: Jessica Garvin
  • what we love: the theme is so cute for kiddos who love babies! and the vintage high chairs.
 

PARTY FIVE : BOHO BLISS.

  • source: Hooray Mag
  • what we love: the boho vibes and shades of pink are gorgeous on this simple spread. 
 

PARTY SIX : FLORAL LOVE. 

  • source: The Party Shop
  • what we love: the use of a statement furniture piece is a perfect centerpiece! 
 

PARTY SEVEN : COLORFUL ZOO.

  • source: Oh It's Perfect
  • what we love: these colors are everything! and the little touches of animals make it so fun. 
 

PARTY EIGHT : MINI MERMAID.

  • source: Sarah Schneider
  • what we love: the mermaid theme is magical! and Sarah's style is so effortlessly perfect.
the ever co birthday party inspiration
 

PARTY NINE : PARTY ANIMAL.

  • source: Hello Tiny Love
  • what we love: well everything! but the party hats on the mini figurines are the best! 
 

PARTY TEN : DINO BASH.

  • source: Hello Fashion Blog
  • what we love: this dino cake is everything! and the balloons for this dino party are amazing too. 
 

PARTY ELEVEN : FAIRY MAGIC.

  • source: Johanna Siren
  • what we love: the fairy wings and whimsical decor is simply magical! one of our favorites.
 

PARTY TWELVE : SPACE ODYSSEY.

  • source: But First Party
  • what we love: the use of balloons at this party is out of this world!!! (pun intended).
 

PARTY THIRTEEN : SIMPLY STUNNING.

  • source: Scotlyn Rae
  • what we love: the simplicity of this boho chic backdrop is seriously stunning! 
 

PARTY FOURTEEN : HAPPY CAMPER.

  • source: Stephanie Kursar
  • what we love: we love that the party is named after the birthday girl! and camp themes are perfect.
 

PARTY FIFTEEN : BELIEVE IN UNICORNS.

  • source: Home of U and Me
  • what we love: the use of this space is absolute perfection! and the ice cream cone horns!
 

PARTY SIXTEEN : BOHEMIAN BASH.

  • source: Danni Lee
  • what we love: the pallet boards and pillows give this birthday the best boho vibe!
 

PARTY SEVENTEEN : ONE IS FUN.

  • source: Vitaliya Chern
  • what we love: the use of a pallet board backdrop with greenery is our #1 favorite party tip!
 

PARTY EIGHTEEN : GIRLS ROAR TOO.

  • source: Amber Baldwin
  • what we love: dinosaur themes for girls is the best party yet. we love the colors too!
 

PARTY NINETEEN : WOODLAND WONDERS.

  • source: Bertie Does
  • what we love: these colors are everything! and so is the subtle woodland theme!
 

PARTY TWENTY : ROCK ON.

  • source: Blog Lovin
  • what we love: the neutral colors and rock on theme are so unique! love that it's gender neutral!
 

PARTY TWENTY ONE : SWEET SUMMER. 

  • source: Karissa Abbott
  • what we love: the macrame and massive balloon arch are everything!!!
 

PARTY TWENTY TWO : MAGICAL RAINBOWS. 

  • source: Elisa Jobe
  • what we love: rainbows are sooo in right now, so this setup is simply dreamy! 
 

We hope you love all the inspo! Be sure to tag us on Instagram in your parties! 

And pin this image so others on Pinterest can find this blog post too!

 

 

XOXO, Amy

EASY DIY FAUX WEAVING

I've had this awkward space above our living room TV (which mind you sits at an awkward angle cause Blake insisted on there being NO glare on our tv from the window-insert eye rolling emoji here, ha!) that I've been searching for the perfect piece for! We had a West Elm faux taxidermy giant deer head up there, but I'm kinda out of the animal head phase if I'm being honest. 

So, I decided to dig up my rusty craft supplies and get to work!

I knew this way I'd be able to create the perfect sized piece with just the right amount of boho!

I began looking online at different DIY faux weaving tutorials cause I was not excited to build a weaving kit and spend days working on a weaving project. Luckily, I stumbled across the BEST tutorial from A Beautiful Mess, and I just tweaked their tutorial a bit to come up with my own! 

 
 

And guess what?!?!? I had EVERYTHING in my home already, spent a total of 3 HOURS making it, used about $20 of craft supplies and never left the comfort of my living room! The best part about this tutorial is you can literally customize the size, color and texture to fit any space in your home that needs a little update! 

(sorry in advance for the horrible lighting in the pics. I am soooo impatient and had to do this at night time when the girls were asleep!)

 
 

STEP 1 : GATHER SUPPLIES. 

  • yarn for tassels (I have sooo much yarn in my craft room and I just grabbed the colors I knew I wanted to use to match our living room, which is generally neutral with a touch of pink). I also suggest using the thick chunky yarn cause it looks very chic, has a more "store bought" look, it's cozy AND it's easier to do cause it's so thick! It also adds so much texture!

  • small felt balls or a thick yarn that can be placed to look like weaving at the top of the piece (they used felt ball garlands in the A Beautiful Mess tutorial, but I just used a chunky yarn)

  • a rug (like in their tutorial) or anything that's a solid color that has some firmness to it to act as the backdrop. You can also use a latch hook mat if you'd rather tie than use hot glue guns. I actually used a hard piece of particle board for mine cause it was the perfect size!

  • wooden dowel rod (like they used) or I LOVE using copper rods from Home Depot or Lowes! I love the mid century modern look the copper gives! Also some string or wire to hang the weaving.

  • hot glue, glue gun, scissors

  • wall anchor or a pretty hook (I got ours from Hobby Lobby and love that it adds some dimension)!

Here's our sweet Bella who would NOT get off the comfy yarn hahaha! 

 

STEP 2 : MAKE TASSELS.

For the size of my art, which was roughly 3 feet x 2 feet, I made about 40 tassels, but remember I also used very chunky thick yarn. For thinner yarns with less volume, you'll likely need upwards of 70 tassels. This also depends on how big you want your piece.

The tassels are the most time consuming part, but even so it only took me about 2 hours to make! I just binged Netflix with the hubs and listened to him make fun of me for spending so much time making "shag rugs for the wall." ahhahah! We had a blast lol. 

You can see the A Beautiful Mess tutorial here, but I will do a tassel tutorial soon! I feel like I've mastered them and will share a video as soon as I can! 

This is also a great time to figure out the color layout of your tassels and if you'll have enough for the space you're wanting to fill. 

 

STEP 3 : GLUE TASSELS TO THE BACKDROP.

This parts so fun! This is when all of the time you spent on making the tassels finally pays off and you get to see your weaving come to life! I can't wait to see the creations you come up with!

Tips: Make sure you spread out the tassels on the bottom layer, because the layers above them will "fill in dead space". My suggestion is to spread out the tassels on the backdrop and if there's too much dead space you may need to make more tassels. I ended up filling in a few areas at the end of the project. It's easier to go back in and fill in spaces than to not have enough yarn, so start out wider and fill in as needed. Does that make sense at all? Ha!! 

You'll only have to glue the top "ball" portion of the tassel. Everything else on it will hang loosely. 

Here's a look at the particle board I used as my backdrop too btw! (And Bella creepin on the comfy chunky yarn again)

 

STEP 4 : GLUE TOP FAUX WEAVING.

This part may take a few tries, but essentially you will either glue the felt balls down (like in their tutorial) or use chunky weaving and puff it up randomly to make a "weaving" look. It's really hard to explain in words, so hopefully this pictures shows you what I mean haha! 

 

STEP 5 : SECURE ROD AND STRING TO TOP.

Here's a closer look at the copper rod I used at the top of mine. Again, just hot glued it to the particle board! I then had Blake drill two holes on the sides of the weaving and I strung heavy copper electrical wire to the art! 

 

And here's the finished piece! I hung it in another spot to get a good picture of it with the girls, so you can see it styled a couple different ways! 

 
 
 

Andddd...here she is in her new home!!! I absolutely love it and keep smiling at it every single time I pass it. It's also the very first thing we see as we walk down the stairs in the morning!

Blake keeps saying "Amy, I love the new shag!" hahahah! oh, my life. ;) 

 

Happy crafting!

xx, Amy

DIY HOUSE SHELVES

You asked, and you shall receive! Our DIY House Shelves' plans are finally here!

Note*** We did not include actual instructions for putting the shelves together, so this is not a beginner project. We simply included all of the measurements and materials we used for anyone who knows how to work their magic with a saw! 

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below and we will get back to you ASAP!

You can download the PDF here to print at home and take with you! 

HOUSE SHELF PLANS 2018 copy.jpg
 

And here's a look at all the pics that made these bad boys famous! 

 
 
 

 

Can't wait to see your projects! Be sure to tag us on instagram @theeverco or @amylouhawthorne!

FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES

The week of the Fourth is such a sweet holiday for our family, because we always know Blake and I will have time off from any military obligations and can truly spend quality time together. 

It's been so nice to have daddy home and to enjoy celebrating America!

Here's a look into our week and all of the fun family traditions we have. We have LOVED following along with all of your traditions on Instagram and seeing you make memories with your loved ones! 

We started the week with a little dance party (to Party In the USA) to kick off our long week of fun!

 

On the night of the Fourth, we had our annual (tiny) front yard fireworks! We started doing this three years ago when Everly was just a baby and have loved having mini fireworks just for our little family!

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We also enjoyed some more fresh farm picked watermelon and drew the cutest fireworks chalk art! You can see more of my chalkart under the #hawthornegirlschalkart hashtag on Instagram! 

Funny story about this pic...I am the most horrible watermelon cutter ever. If I concentrate REALLY hard, I can make it look decent...but I can fly a helicopter; just don't ask me to cut your watermelon. Ha! So, this time I just cut big pieces off and we ate out of it with spoons. And let me tell ya, it was just as delicious + juicy! 

 

With all the time off work, hubs and I took the girls out back and we had a blast playing ALL DAY in our little blow up pool! I grew up playing softball, and Blake's just a great athlete, so we spent a few hours throwing the ball in the backyard while the girls played monkey in the middle! 

 

Then came the fun part! Every year, for the past three years, our incredible neighborhood has thrown a huge Fourth of July celebration.  We have a huge Easter egg hunt and Friendsgiving (for Thanksgiving) as well. We live in a neighborhood pretty far out in the country, so it's a very small secluded one, surrounded by trees and the simple sweet sounds of nature! But it allows all of us to be more like family. We help each other out during deployments, take care of each other's dogs and kids, do house projects together, and the list goes on. I know because of this neighborhood I will never ever settle for a neighborhood we don't love again. 

This neighborhood means so much to us. Not only have we made the most incredible memories here with the best of friends, but we've also raised the girls here. It's the first house Blake and I have remodeled and truly poured our hearts into. We will be moving around December of this year, and our hearts are already trying to prepare for so much change and sadness that comes with moving every few years with the Army. We're just ever so hopeful that we'll find another neighborhood, just like this, where we too can start a new tradition of annual Fourth of July parties. We're so excited to continue this tradition somewhere else! 

For the party the house with the biggest acreage rents a huge bounce house/water slide and all the neighbors pitch in money. They also are the ones that buy all of the huge fireworks and we all pitch in money for that too. Their backyard is huge so all the dads tag team to put on the BEST fireworks show ever! It's truly incredible what a few thousand dollars and a bunch of great neighbors can throw together. Everyone brings food so it's potluck style and we all wear glow in the dark necklaces and it's basically a big Fourth of July kid friendly rave! It's truly the best time ever. We're gonna miss it oh so much. 

Here's a look into our very own backyard fireworks show! 

 
 

I also made these super yummy stuffed sweet peppers which is our favorite appetizer to make for Cinco de Mayo and Fourth of July festivities!

Ingredients:

  • 2 x bag sweet bell peppers
  • 1-2 8oz. cream cheese
  • 1 roll sausage (flavor of choice)

Directions:

  • Cut peppers in half and clean. 
  • Cook sausage until brown and add in cream cheese.
  • Stuff all peppers with mix. 
  • *You can sprinkle breadcrumbs or shredded cheese on top if you want.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
 

We ended the week with baking some good ole Fourth of July cookies to give to our brand new neighbors! You can find my favorite recipe here! 

 
 

Thank you for following our holiday celebrations and we sure do hope they inspire you to create traditions and make memories with those you love! 

SUMMER BUCKET LIST

 

To put it simply, we created this business to inspire you, wherever you are, to create family traditions with those you love most and to make memories that will last forever.

Every holiday, and every season, we aim to bring you a bucket list of sorts to inspire you to do just this, and we are finally ready to bring you our first HUGE seasonal bucket list to celebrate:

THE BEST SUMMER EVER! 

 
 

Here are some of our favorite pictures in celebration of these bucket list items! The owner's of each image are tagged below their pic, and you can also see more at our Instagram account or through the #thesweetestsummerbucketlist hashtag! 

 

Backyard pool party with  @amylouhawthorne

Watermelon eats with @brittneymcnutt

Water park hangs with @ashwisdom in our Vacay Vibes tee! 

Hammock relaxing with @underthesycamore

Finding lifeguard shacks with @House_of_lu

Road trippin with the @inhonorofdesign family

Beach hangs with the cutest floats and @jessiepennington

Collecting seashells with the cutest girls of @lovesarahschneider

Strawberry pickin with The Ever Co founder @amylouhawthorne 

Ice Cream cones with the gorgeous girls of @jlgarvin

Beach photoshoots with the best family @haleyrring

Baseball games with the cutest kids of @graceandsalt

 

To thank you for joining us on this journey, we've included a free printable of our bucket list as well as a fully customizable bucket list for you and yours!!! Be sure to share with us if you print and use it! We can't wait to see you making memories! 

 
 
 

We truly hope you're inspired to make memories and create traditions of your own! Happy bucket list adventuring! Be sure to tag #thesweetestsummerbucketlist so we can see your adventures! 

STRAWBERRY PICKIN

Every year we go to the strawberry patch around Memorial Day weekend. Blake and I started going many years ago, but now it's the SWEETEST tradition to do with our little family tribe!

Strawberry patches never disappoint for littles, and they yet again had a BLAST! 

And after we bring all our berries back home, Blake always makes the yummiest homemade strawberry shortcake from scratch. So thankful he has a sweet tooth too. :) 

The girls tasted one and they were a little sour hehe

little Hadley Rae

and our little Everly Brynn

One of my favorite pics. Loved walking down these strawberry rows with my girls. 

How are these our girls? So grateful. 

These two! 

We'd always rather be outdoors. 

 

We found a yummy watermelon too! 

We hope you make lots of memories with those you love most. Memories that are sure to last forEVER. 

xx, Amy + The Ever Co

OUR AUTISM JOURNEY

I'm really bad about putting off stories I want to share. I still haven't written out my girls' birth stories, one and three years later-can anyone else relate? But I've learned that the longer I wait to share these stories, the less I remember. The more the beautifully exquisite details start to fade away.  And I want to stop doing that. I want to share these stories when they're raw and real. When the infinite details are still so vividly fresh in my mind.

 
 

So here we are on Mother's Day, 2018. 

And here's her story. Here's the story of our sweet Everly being diagnosed with Autism.

She was born on December 1, 2014. It wasn't until she was around two that we started questioning if she was behind.  I was very optimistic as a new mother.  I was a "she will learn when she's ready," and "she's just a little slower speaking" than others kinda mom.  I never EVER thought something was actually wrong until she turned two and I realized she wasn't talking as much as other kiddos her age.  I also attributed all of her other "off behaviors" to being a young little girl.  It's really really hard those first couple years. I can attest to that.  How do you know if they're just a little slower to develop or if there's something actually wrong? I get your fears mama! It's so so hard to know! But here's our story and what lead us on our journey to finding answers. 

  • She was (and is) very delayed in speech. We cannot hold a conversation with her. 
  • She would (and does) constantly point and grunt at objects to let us know she wants it.
  • She made (and still does make) very little eye contact. 
  • She made (and still does make) weird facial gestures and awkward, repetitive body movements. 
  • She was (and is) always hyper. Not just "being a toddler" hyper. OVERLY hyper. 
  • She was (and is) very independent and typically doesn't want to/care to play with others.
  • She was (and is) not bothered when she hurts another child or adult. 
  • She takes a long time to respond to her name, as though she is deaf or zones us out. 
  • She didn't (and doesn't) like any change to her routine. She's very bothered by it. 
  • She was (and is) very into specific items and those items alone.
  • She was (and is) very aggressive towards other children and adults.
  • She has an EXTREMELY short attention span and doesn't follow directions well. (insert at all)
  • She is overly adventurous and fearless. She doesn't cry often when she gets hurt.
  • She is very picky about colors and order and sorting. 

This list may seem exhaustive and some of the items may seem "normal" for a three and a half year old, but when there's been little to no improvement for almost a year and a half, it's a different story.

So from two to three we just watched her. I knew my time in the Army would be coming to an end soon, so we didn't make any life altering changes. We just watched her and hoped there'd be improvement. 

This was our year of denial.

Blake and I rarely spoke about her delays. Part of it was anxiety. Part of it was denial. And honestly, part of it was embarrassment. I don't think ANYBODY wants their children to be delayed. We aren't ashamed of feeling that way. It's natural to want your children to be normal and to excel developmentally! 

Eleven months later.

It was November of 2017. We were making numerous transitions between sitters/nannies and because of my work schedule and the holidays, I was spending a lot more time with Everly and at home.  It was truly my first time seeing her around other kids her age in over two years. We'd been around kids at play places and at birthday parties, but I hadn't seen her around this many kids her age, well...ever.

On December 8, 2017, Blake and I made the decision to take her in for a three year checkup. Not required, but just to get her pediatrician's advice. It was Hadley's first birthday, and seven days past Everly's third birthday. 

After about an hour of paperwork and back and forth conversations, she said the words we weren't ready to hear: "Have you ever been screened for autism? Your daughter most certainly needs extensive developmental therapy."

It took Blake and I a couple days to really let our new reality sink in. This was the first time we were told by a medical professional that something was indeed wrong. 

We were immediately approved for speech therapy, but they wouldn't allow us to start Occupational Therapy (OT) or Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy until we saw another developmental specialist. 

If anyone is familiar with the military referral process/system to see civilian providers, it is an extremely exhausting and tedious process. We first were sent to UNC Chapel Hill, and told by their doctors that we could not be seen until August 2018...8 months later. We then were referred to nearly ten different providers until I gave up and said I was going to find someone myself.

During the month of February, I became Everly's biggest advocate.  I drove from Fayetteville to Raleigh to Durham to Chapel Hill to Charlotte to Wilmington and all over the state practically.

During this time we actually declined an initial diagnosis because it seemed to early on in the process. We didn't feel she'd be seen enough or by the "right people." If I'm being completely honest, with the rising incline of an autism and developmental delay diagnosis, we didn't want to jump the gun. We wanted to be patient with the process. We'd heard too many stories of kiddos being diagnosed "just because" there was no other answer, and we didn't want to be that statistic. Whether it's true or not, we still wanted to be patient. So we set out for more. 

That was when l I landed upon the Doctor who I know without a shadow of a doubt the Lord was holding us out for. 

I contacted Developmental Pediatrics of the Carolinas in Concord, NC and after a VERY long paperwork process, we were scheduled to meet with Everly's new developmental doctor on April 30, 2018. 

It was the day after we returned from a week and a half trip across the country to Blake's parents. We were exhausted, through and through. But, the day had finally come.

 
 

We started the day at 7 a.m. and drove three hours to Concord, NC for a 10:15 appt. Unfortunately, due to being on vacation prior, Blake couldn't afford to take another day off work because he's in command. So it was just E and I. 

We were checked in and within three minutes taken back for vitals.

The sweet physician's assistant was so kind to us. Everly was being herself and not the easiest in a confined environment, but the ladies and gentlemen in this field know patience if I've ever seen it. 

After the vitals, she looked at me and said, "what do you want to come out of this appt? Do you have an end goal?"

Ugh, my heart sank, my eyes filled with tears and I broke down at such a simple yet profound question. 

I responded, "I just want to get her the help she needs, if she needs it. I just don't know what to do anymore." And she said "that's what we're here for."

We went into the appt and within five minutes Dr. Stegman walked in. I was already aware of his extensive resume and he came highly recommended from hundreds upon hundreds of families walking a similar journey. I knew we were in good hands.

For the hour and a half we were in that office with him, I don't know that I've ever felt more pressure.  Not intentional pressure, but I knew so much was going to come out of this appt.  I knew the magnitude of this diagnosis or lack thereof.  I wasn't searching for a diagnosis, I just wanted to get her help. 

Prior to the appt he had me fill out a ten page questionnaire with social, cognitive and behavioral type questions on a "1 being the least, 10 being the most" scale type thing. He said on that alone she met the pillars of autism, but of course they don't just go off of a questionnaire.  It just helps to see what parents and caretakers see. He kept us in there for an hour and a half to make the observations himself. He's been doing this for 30 years. I knew I could trust this man. 

At the end, he looked at me and said, "okay mom, you ready?" 

 
 

Phew. I wasn't.

The next thirty minutes are honestly quite a blur. I remember crying and holding Everly. I remember him handing me kleenex and saying, "Everly scored a 79/100 today. This puts her with a diagnosis of mild to moderate autism.  She's bordering moderate based on my notes and observations. She's also being diagnosed with global developmental delay. She is currently testing at a 22-27 month level. In her mind, she's barely 2 years old." He then went on to say that 1/3 of his patients seem to outgrow their symptoms by the age of 10. 1/3 of them seem to get worse by the age of 10. 1/3 of them have no change and continue to develop delayed for the rest of their life.

He looked at me and said, "you're doing everything right mom. But hopefully this helps you understand why things are so hard. Normal kids want to please their parents. They know that kids are supposed to behave because their parents want them to. But our special autistic kids don't understand that concept." (insert ugly alligator tears!)

I can't really explain the feeling that washed over me except that I was grateful and heartbroken all at once. Grateful for a diagnosis that would allow us to get the help Everly so desperately needs to thrive. Grateful for a doctor and his team who truly care about their patients more than I could ever hope for. Grateful that the Lord had us wait for them. Grateful that the Lord lead me out of my active duty Army career when he did so that I could be with her every moment of every day. Grateful that suddenly our little Everly made so much more sense to us, even though our situation became more complicated. 

But also heartbroken. 

Heartbroken because Everly was now qualified as "different." As "special." Heartbroken that she had and still has NO idea what this diagnosis has done to her future. Heartbroken for her childhood to be stripped by daily therapy sessions, when she could be outside playing with other kids or at school. 

It hit me as we were walking out of the clinic that it was April 30th. The very last day of "Autism Awareness Month." And now, a day etched in my memory forever. 

As soon as we got into the car, I broke down. I called Blake and told him everything, and we both cried. It was one of the most raw and real conversations he and I have had in our entire nearly seven years of marriage.  He shared a story with me that he hadn't yet shared. He told me about a podcast he was listening to a few weeks prior. He said a lady in her forties or fifties was talking about her autism journey, and how it made her the smartest lady on the planet! That she's now a doctor with tons of degrees and the diagnosis never slowed her down, but made her so uniquely special and smart. He cried telling me this and said, "As soon as I heard that, I knew I was hearing it for a reason. I had a feeling this was going to happen." We both burst into tears. We then spoke about the song we've dedicated to Everly. "True Colors" by Justin Timberlake from the movie Trolls. Every time we hear it, we just hold our little girl. 

You with the sad eyes
Don't be discouraged, 
Oh I realize
It's hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
The darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

Show me a smile then
Don't be unhappy
Can't remember when
I last saw you laughing
This world makes you crazy
And you've taken all you can bear
Just, call me up
'Cause I will always be there

And I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful

We can't help but shed tears every time it comes on, and friends...I kid you not. While we were on the phone, it starts playing in my car.

God... WE HEAR YOU! WE KNOW YOU ARE NEAR! 

 
 

Everly and I then drove to Ikea. For two hours we walked aimlessly around the store, eating pizza and ice cream and just being together. It was my first Ikea trip (of about 100) where I bought nothing. I just let her wander freely and I just watched. It was like an out of body experience watching her unknowingly walk into a new life.  We walked passed the play center, where I was hoping I could let her go and be wild and free. Then I read the sign that said kids must be toilet independent/trained. Yet again, my heart was crushed. I don't know when that day will ever come.

I wanna share some things that have been on my mind. Some things that are raw, vulnerable, ugly and embarrassing. But mostly, things that are true.

  • Anxiety rips me apart wondering if I should've put her in daycare right away to be around other kids her age. Would that have helped her develop? It breaks me to my core. 
  • Anxiety rips me apart wondering if she watched too much t.v. before she was two and if that had a lasting impact on her speech. It breaks me to my core. 
  • Anxiety rips me apart wondering when I will ever be okay with having to put her into a special needs class. Honestly...I'm so embarrassingly scared of that. It breaks me to my core. 
  • Anxiety rips me apart wondering when she and Hadley will ever get along. We can't leave them alone. She puts bruises and draws blood constantly. Hadley (HER OWN FREAKING SISTER) is scared of her. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart because she hurts other kids and adults and they sometimes don't get to see the sweet, innocent, pure Everly that we get glimpses of. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart because she's going to be a flower girl for one of my best friend's weddings in July. Will she ruin the wedding? Of course not. But my mama heart worries so much because we never know what kind of day she'll have. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart wondering when she will ever potty train. Dr. Stegman asked if she knows what it means to be wet or dry? Ummm, NO! She has NO idea. He said it could take years then. When will she ever be able to play in Ikea by herself. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart that Hadley is leaps and bounds above Everly. She's truly outsmarting her and she's two years younger. I don't ever want that to affect Everly's confidence. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart because Dr. Stegman said Hadley is twice as likely to develop autism because of Everly. And that though she is developing well now, it could suddenly stop at any point. That fear breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart because Everly has no idea what it means when someone asks her "what's your name" or "how old are you?" She's 3.5 and looks like she should be able to answer those things! I can't blame people! But it's so sad when she just looks away when they ask that. She has NO idea. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart reading all of the "you should change this in her diet" forums and "you should supplement this or use this oil" posts. I CAN'T DO ALL OF THAT! It's too much for me right now. I can hardly take care of myself. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart when someone says "Everly will be fine! She's going to outgrow this!" I know the friends and family who say this mean well. But Blake and I know she will be fine. This is not a death sentence. But these words sting so so so bad. Nobody sees the full story. There's a reason we are going through all of this. There's a reason one of the best Autism doctors in the state (who's been doing this for 30 years) diagnosed her with autism. She does need help. And for whatever reason, those words break me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart that I got out of the Army to have more freedom. To be able to focus on our family business and to grow myself spiritually and physically. Yet now I'm taking Everly to therapy nearly every day of the week. This wasn't in my playing cards. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart when we see gravel or rock.  She has an infatuation with rocks that knows no bounds. She will throw an hour long tantrum and scream as though her dog died when we pull her away. One too many people have witnessed this. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart not knowing how to explain her to other kids and parents at school or on playdates. I don't want to introduce her by saying "Hi this is Everly and she has autism!" It doesn't define her, yet we feel so obligated to explain to others who she is and why she is how she is." It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me to my core when I feel a sense of jealousy wash over me when I see kids her age acting "normal." I feel so guilty when I feel this way, but it's so hard not to compare. There's absolutely NO shame in wanting your child to be "normal." That's natural. But still, it breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me to my core when people say, "oh but she's so beautiful!" as though her beauty (and yes, SHE IS OUR BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS!) takes away her delays. As though it erases all of the other troubles. It breaks me to my core.
  • Anxiety rips me apart wondering if this will affect her ability to play sports.  Sports are such a huge part of mine and Blake's life, and we've looked forward to her playing sports almost more than anything. How will this affect her? It breaks me to my core. 
  • Anxiety rips me apart knowing how many bullies I faced as a child. For my teeth. For my Walmart shoes. But this? Not this. It breaks me to my core. 
  • Anxiety rips me apart because I haven't spoken to daddy about this. I never got to cry into his arms. I never got to hear him tell me how much he loves her, just one last time. And GOSH THAT BREAKS ME TO MY CORE. 

Every night before bed, since Everly was born, I've whispered prayers into her ear, rubbed the baby hairs that sit across her face, and sang "Amazing Grace" three times through. It's our routine every single night. The last couple weeks have been so special. She needs those five minutes with me. I need those five minutes with her. But for the last week, out of nowhere she's started rubbing the little hairs that lay across my face while I sing to her. It's as though she's telling me, "Mama, it will be alright. I'll always be your Everly, and you'll always be my mama."

Everly Brynn Hawthorne, no matter what diagnosis this world may throw your way, I know without a shadow of a doubt that you are destined to shine. That your true colors will shine bright and the Lord will guide us through this journey of uncertainty. You are mine and I am yours. Forever and ever, my Ever. 

Love, momma

 
 
 
 

Lastly, I can't thank my husband enough for this photoshoot. It is truly one of my most cherished shoots ever. So candid and natural. Just me and my girls where we love to be most. LOVE YOU HUBS! Thanks for an amazing mother's day! 

XX, Amy

KENTUCKY DERBY AND CINCO DE MAYO TRADITIONS

 

Being a Kentucky girl, we ALWAYS celebrate Derby day! But when it falls on Cinco De Mayo, it is a super duper extra special treat for us here at The Ever Co!

 
 

Blake, our Ever Co papa bear, LOVES LOVES LOVES him some Mexican food, and for Derby I always make an antipasto platter with Kentucky bourbon sliders! 

 

Rug: Rugs USA

Table Runner: Anthro (similar available at Target!)

 

So today, we're having our traditional Derby food for lunch and our taco bar for dinner! 

 
 

This morning we started the day with a milk bath for the girls and let them both take their horses in! They loved it so much cause typically their horses stay downstairs in the toy bin.  They're both not old enough yet to understand the Kentucky Derby, but they do both love horses! 

MILK BATH RECIPE:

  • 1-2 cups milk of choice (breastmilk, cows milk and powdered milk all work)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1-3 drops lavendar oil
 

Hair Clip: Ryan and Wren

 

We then turned on our ALL TIME FAVORITE show, SPIRIT: Riding Free on Netflix! Everly is absolutely obsessed with the show and Hadley just ADORES dancing to the intro song!

After some screen time, we always try to go outside to play before naps. We let the girls take their horses outside (something we also typically don't let them do) and it was precious watching them play with the horses after watching the show.

 
 

We gifted Everly her very first Spirit + Lucky set today and we think we've started a new tradition of giving the girls a new toy horse every Derby! It'll be so fun to see their collection grow over the years and it'll be something they look forward to every year...that is until they start asking for a real horse! :) 

 
 

During nap time, Blake and I watched Seabiscuit, one of our favorite movies! Tonight we plan on watching Warhorse to end the night after the girls go down to bed. 

A couple hours before bed we FINALLY got to watch the main event! The Derby!!! It is always so much fun watching the horses every year, and I can't wait to take the whole family to the Derby in real life one day!

After the Derby, we finished the night with the girls watching CoCo and eating our dinner which you can read about below! Our dinner was all about Cinco de Mayo. We just love making these traditions with our family. 

Now on to the food! 

For lunch, we made our traditional Derby appetizers/ lunches: antipasto cheese platters and Kentucky Bourbon sliders! (with a side of margaritas. :) 

Here's what I always get for my cheese boards! 

  • Smoked Gouda Triscuits
  • Ritz Crackers
  • New York Garlic bagel crisps
  • Salame
  • Proscuitto
  • Minced Garlic
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Capers
  • Kalmata Olives
  • Garlic dip
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Feta
 
 

Here's the ingredients + instructions for the sliders!

  • Roast Beef or Beef Brisket (I used the Jack Daniels Beef Brisket from Walmart!)
  • American Cheese
  • Mayo
  • Hawaiian Rolls

For dinner, we made our traditional Cinco de Mayo taco bar! (with a side of margaritas yet again. :) 

 
 

Here's what I always get for our taco bar! 

  • Hard and soft taco shells
  • Multigrain tostito chips
  • Green Peppers, onions, red peppers (for fajitas)
  • Fajita chicken and beef
  • Ground beef or turkey
  • Corn
  • Salsa
  • Hot Sauce
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacomole
  • Refried Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Mexican Rice

We sure do hope you've had just as much fun with your family celebrating both Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby! Next year, if you don't already, maybe you can incorporate some of these traditions with your family! We're big believers in celebrating everyday like it's a holiday and creating traditions that'll last forEVER! 

I'll end with some cute pics that we got of our little Hadley bug wearing her Derby gear. :) 

 
 
 

Hat: Target last year

Outfit: Thrifted

Shoes: Old Navy

 

xx, Amy + The Ever Co