HEART HEALTHY LIFE

 

The doctor looked at me in July and said, "Amy...if you don't get your blood pressure under control, you will die of a heart attack just like your dad."

It stopped me dead in my tracks.

I've been battling high blood pressure and an inability to lose weight for 4 years, and I have fully attributed it to having kids.

I was scared of the scale and came up with every excuse in the book.

I ran marathons, changed up diet plans, and felt like I was trying everything yet seeing no change.

So when we got to Kansas and my doctor said those words to me, I was shook.

I've been having readings of 140+ over 90+ for the last year. For those unaware, that is considered hypertension (or high blood pressure).

Normal blood pressure readings should be below 120 and 80.

This is the first time I'm sharing this, because quite honestly...I've been scared.

I felt like the longer I went without saying it, the less true it was.

She told me I had two choices:

1. To start meds right away.

2. To really focus on getting my health right this year and starting meds at our next duty station if it doesn't change. (which I WILL do if it doesn’t change).

I chose the latter.

Cause I'm only freaking 33 years old and I’m just not ready to start blood pressure meds yet!

And also because I felt like this was the kick in the butt I needed to get my health under control.

I needed to hear the words, “YOU WILL DIE, AMY.”

 

I've been saying "I'm trying to lose my baby weight" for almost 3 years now. I joke that eventually I will say "I'm trying to lose my teenage weight."

And I know some will say "you look great Amy!" and to "love the skin you're in" and “you’re perfect to God!” and I promise I am ALL about that.

But here’s the thing I want to scream loud and clear…”YOU DECIDE IF YOU’RE HAPPY OR NOT IN YOUR SKIN. You can choose to want to LOOK better because you know that the underlying concept of that is because you are LIVING healthier. and please don’t let anyone make you feel bad for wanting to make that change about yourself. I know my God wants me to be healthy. It’s not in vain. He says our bodies are our temples and to PROTECT THEM. Have confidence in doing that for yourself.”

I'm not about being skinny. I’m about being healthy.

I’m about loving myself, in my skin, AND seeing my grandkids grow old.

I do NOT want to die early from a heart attack. I am living through the hell of losing my dad when I was only 31 years old and I do not want my kids to lose me at that age. I don’t want to miss out on their kid’s lives.

There’s nothing I wish more than to have my daddy here to watch Everly play soccer this year.

IT KILLS ME INSIDE.

But I won’t let my health kill me.

It’s time for change.

 

I've played sports my whole life, run marathons, trained for figure competitions, and flown helicopters for the Army.

I didn't make it to 33 to start to lose myself now.

So in July I started making significant changes in my life, and I'm gonna be sharing ALL about them here.

Cause in 2 months I've seen more change than I've seen in 2 years.

By being intentional. By staying focused. By not making excuses. By thinking about my HEALTH over what the number on the scale says.

I'll be sharing about vitamins, meals, lifestyle changes, workouts and so much more!

I tend to gain weight when I get more fit because I bulk up easily, but instead of being scared of my overall weight not dropping, I'm now focused on what that number actually means. What it says about my heart.


So who's with me?

Wanna get fit with me so we can watch our grandkids make memories one day?

 
 
  1. GET ENOUGH SLEEP

    You MUST make sleep a priority. Manage your day so that you can ensure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night. If that means you have to say no to a night out or putting something off until tomorrow, do that! Make it a routine and it will become a habit. Listen to these words: if you don’t sleep enough regularly…YOU WILL be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. One study looking at 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night. (Cleveland Clinic)

    Here’s what I’ve been doing: We get the girls down at 7 every night, no exception. Blake and I relax (unless he’s studying) and we try to get some time together from 7-9 ish. During this time I clean up the house a bit (so it’s clean the next morning when I wake up), I prep anything I can for the next morning so I’m not overwhelmed getting the girls ready for school, and then we truly try to have some quality time over a tv show or movie. By 9:30 we are heading to our room to brush teeth and wash faces to get ready for bed. By 9:45 we are laying in bed and we’ll read a little or do some emails for those next 15 minutes. By 10 we go lights out, no exceptions. Our alarms go off at 5 or 6 the next morning so that ensures we get 7-8 hours of sleep every night!

  2. LIMIT STRESSORS

    Probably the hardest thing to do, right? Those who suffer from anxiety and feeling overwhelmed probably get stressed even reading the words “limit stressors.” So much easier said than done. But let me tell you this…if you create margin and boundaries in your life and eliminate items that truly don’t matter, stress will slip away.

    Do what makes you happy. Have hobbies. Truly truly focus on the good and eliminate negative thoughts the best you can. And always always always seek help if you need it! Don’t be scared to ask for it. IT’S OKAY! If you needed that permission today, IT’S OKAY to ask for help.

    We can’t do it all.

    Here’s what I’ve been doing: I have started creating as much white space as possible in my planner. If it’s something I can say no to or move to another space where there’s more free time, I do that. I am consciously spreading out “stressful things” and ensuring they are surrounded by things that make me happy. For instance…I knew this blog post was gonna take me a longgggg time to do. I even had stress about posting the image you see on IG today! So I purposely scheduled nothing for this afternoon so I can have time to unwind and relax! I’ve also been listening to more uplifting music during car drives to truly lift my spirits when I’m in a funk. Both of these have truly worked!

  3. MOVE MOVE MOVE

    Here’s my favorite tip, and the one that I think has truly made the biggest difference in my life the last 2 months. I have been walking 1-2 miles EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    The girls go to school 1/2 mile from our house. We walk there every single morning, and then I walk back. That’s 1 mile every morning. In the afternoons I walk to go pick them up and bring them home. That’s another 1 mile.

    Now I realize that’s a luxury we have to be able to do that, and that obviously isn’t the case for everyone…but here’s the thing. I think when people hear they have to workout or move, they think they need some elaborate gym membership or some crazy at home gym.

    I sat at 137 for the last year. zero movement from that number. Even with running a marathon, even with lifting weights, even with changing diets. Never saw that number move. BUT since I’ve started walking every day (and doing plyometric exercises (body weight exercises at home) I have dropped down to 130 and have stayed there for the last 2 months! 99% of you have the ability to walk. I know it. For many of you, running can be overwhelming and I get that.

    SO JUST MOVE! Get up early and go for a walk with your kids. Walk after school. Walk over lunch breaks. Whatever you can, do it and I promise you’ll see change!!!

    Here’s some other things I’ve been doing:

    I always park my car far away at a store and stop looking for a close up spot. Not only does that save me time, but I get a little exercise every time.

    I also always take the stairs! It’s amazing how implementing little tips like this can make a difference!

    If you work in an office or somewhere that you sit a lot during the day, GET UP AND MOVEEEEEEE. Research shows sitting for too long is bad for your health.

  4. INCREASE ANTIOXIDANTS

    Diets high in antioxidant-rich foods have been linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. As a result, current national guidelines on the prevention of cardiovascular disease recommend choosing foods rich in antioxidants versus taking supplements. (Cleveland Clinic)

    Here’s what I’ve been doing: Guess what? Here’s your excuse to have some more chocolate! One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate had more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than any other fruits tested, which included blueberries and acai berries (Healthline). So instead of having candy on hand, I have a bar of very very dark chocolate on hand and if I get a sweet tooth I’ll take a tiny piece of it. Because it’s so rich it almost always does the trick! Additionally, for Vitamin C, instead of snacking on some candy, I’ve been reaching for citrus fruits, berries, pineapple, and mangos to satisfy my sweet tooth as well! We’ve kept nuts and nut butters on hand, added beans to salsa dips and chosen whole grains/wheat for Vitamin E. We’ve also increased our consumption of sweet potatoes which is another great source. The girls and I have oatmeal almost every morning too which is great source of selenium! We eat seafood (mostly salmon and tuna) as often as we can for this as well. Lastly, for beta carotene, we’ve been eating a lot more steamed broccoli and carrots! All of these are great additions to your pantry/fridge for antioxidants!

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have a more plant based diet, but the truth is being Korean so many of our dishes I grew up on contain meat. I do loveeeee meat and have a hard time cutting it out, but I’ve definitely been stepping away from eating red meats as much as we used to. So while I don’t think we can ever go fully plant based, we are eating less meat now.

  5. CHECK BLOOD PRESSURE REGULARLY

    Keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides in check is important for good heart health. Learn the optimal levels for your sex and age group. Take steps to reach and maintain those levels. And remember to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor. (Healthline)

    Here’s what I’ve been doing: We got an at home blood pressure cuff! This was the first thing my doctor told me to do so I didn’t have to go into her every week. When I see 3 consecutive high readings she asks me to come back in. This allows me to stay on top of my BP and to keep a log for her to see, but it’s also just a great tool to have at home for as we get older and need to monitor it more frequently! Here’s the one we got!!! It was only $29.95, gets great reviews and works amazing!

6. LIMIT SALT INTAKE

Research shows that salt is one of the leading drivers of rising healthcare costs in the United States due to the number of individuals having to be admitted for heart related conditions/diseases. Processed and restaurant-prepared foods tend to be especially high in salt. (Healthline)

Here’s what I’ve been doing: Aside from generally eating healthy at all times, I’ve been completely eliminating take out/fast foods during the week. Not only does that limit the amount of processed foods I eat, but it also keeps my weight down. If we are gonna eat out, I save that for Friday evening or the weekend as a “treat” for myself. I could never eliminate it completely, but this has been a hugeeee step in the right direction for someone who loves chinese takeout haha!! This means that we try to eat healthier meal options all throughout the week, which has been amazing for our whole family. Lastly, we’ve started using a salt substitute for our meals such as Mr. Dash or No Salt! This is imperative if you have high blood pressure or are at risk for heart failure diseases.

7. SMART SCALE

80% of people fail to maintain their health goals. Isn’t that crazy? But you can make it easier for yourself and paint a clearer picture of your health with an easy to use body smart scale that measures weight, body fat percentage, muscle and BMI all in one step. Having a smart scale allows you to set goals and track your results easily with the FitTrack Pro App (compatible with IOS and Android devices) with personalized and private data that is not shared with anyone. It’s a way of seeing what all the data behind the weight on your scale really means! Who cares what that number says! What it means is SO much more important!!!

Here’s what I’ve been doing: I am not scared of the scale anymore. Because I know the numbers that this scale provides me is showing me real time data for my health! I have my baseline information and I am SO excited to see how it improves over the next year and beyond. I love that I have the ability to monitor 17 health metrics from the comfort of my home and don’t have to go to the hospital to get them!

You can use code AMY20 here for 20% off on yours today making it just around $70!!! That is so worth it to me to be able to know more about your health!

8. HAVE GOOD DENTAL HYGIENE

Who would’ve thought your dental health has a HUGE impact on your heart health?! I had no idea! But dental hygiene has always been such an important thing to me and so I’m happy to know it extends beyond my teeth and mouth. Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Studies continue on this issue, but many have shown that bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. These changes may in turn, increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. (Cleveland Clinic)

Here’s what I’ve been doing: I have flossers everywhereeeeeeee around my house, in my car, in my purse, in my diaper bag etc. I am constantly flossing and it is so important to get all up in your gums! My dentists tell me to “hug” my teeth, so that you are truly getting into the gum around each tooth versus just taking the floss up and down. Brush and floss at least twice a day!

These are my favorite! $7 for 270! Great deal and I love that it comes in 3 separate packs making it easy to keep them in your car, bag and at home!

9. TAKE SUPPLEMENTS

Garlic and Fish oil to be exact. Garlic is an herb sometimes used to protect against high blood pressure. Proponents suggest that consuming garlic as food or taking garlic extract in dietary supplement form can help treat high blood pressure or stop high blood pressure from setting in. Additionally, fish oil’s capacity to lower blood pressure is well documented. One study of 90 people on dialysis found that taking 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day significantly decreased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to a placebo. (Healthline)

Here’s what I’ve been doing: I’ve been taking a fish oil and garlic supplement every single day. I’ve only been doing it for a month now so likely won’t see any changes yet, but plan to do this routinely now as a preventative measure for heart health! Additionally, we’ve been increasing fish in our diet for omega-3 good fats and also been adding garlic to any meals we can! Two great ways to naturally add it more into our diets.

Here is the garlic supplement I’ve been taking. 1 bottle for $9.99 or 2 for $13.99 which is such an amazing deal!!!

 

10. DRINK TEAS

Hibiscus tea to be exact!! One of the most impressive and well-known benefits of hibiscus tea is that it may lower blood pressure. Several studies have found that hibiscus tea may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (Healthline) But additionally, Hibiscus tea has been known to prevent hypertension, lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels, keep your liver healthy, help with menstrual cramps, help with depression, aid digestion and help with weight management. (My Food Story) So it’s nice to know it has a multitude of health benefits!!! The American Heart Association says drinking one to three cups of green or black tea per day may help lower your risk of heart problems. For example, it’s linked to lower rates of angina and heart attacks. (Healthline)

Here’s what I’ve been doing: Whenever I went to Starbucks I’d generally get a coffee. BUT not anymore. I alternate between very berry hibiscus tea (also much less calories than a flavored latte) and coffees. It tastes amazing!!!! But additionally, I’ve been making it at home too! It tastes sooooo yummy on a cool day. Just a hint of fruity flavor mixed with a hint of traditional herbal tea and I truly feel it warming my heart up every time. I try to drink it 1-2 times a week!

Here’s the one I’ve been drinking and love! First off, look at those reviews!!! I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything with 5 stars and that many reviews! Second, it comes with 100 bags for $14.99! That’s amazing and these will last me sooooo long through the chill of winter too! Hooray!

11. STOP SMOKING

I don’t really need to go into much detail for this…but it was probably the leading factor to why my daddy died. He smoked his entire life (as did much of his generation) and I was sadly around the second hand smoke my entire life too. It truly more than likely has a huge impact on my health now as an adult, so all I can do now is try to overcome the damage done. Second hand smoke is soooo dangerous and after being around it for 18 years, and trying cigarettes myself for a couple years when I was younger, I know I have a lot of damage control to do. So here’s my encouragement to you if you do smoke:

If you aren’t gonna quit, please try to at least cut back. I personally know first hand the addiction, and I know how hard it is to stop. So at least try to cut back. More importantly, if you could care less about cutting back and quitting, think about the years it’s taking off of your life. Think about the damage it’s doing to those around you. Think about what it’s doing to your skin, your teeth, your lungs. It’s a slow killer. I hope I can help you in some way.

Smoking is one of the top controllable risk factors for heart disease. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, the American Heart Association (AHA), National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteTrusted Source (NHLBI), and Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source (CDC) all encourage you to quit. It can make a huge difference to not just your heart, but your overall health, too. (Healthline)

12. LIMIT ALCOHOL

According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily increases your blood pressure, but repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases. Moderation is key! Red wine in particular may offer benefits for your heart. That doesn’t mean you should guzzle it at every meal. The key is to only drink alcohol in moderation. (Healthline)

Here’s what I’ve been doing: I am by no means a heavy alochol drinker, but I do enjoy a glass of wine to unwind and a cocktail every now and then. Margaritas for taco Tuesday (and at any authentic Mexican restaurant) are a must and I enjoy a moscow mule for special occasions. But I have completely eliminated drinking any of these during the week. Blake and I only “treat” ourselves to a glass of wine on Fridays or Saturdays now (unless there’s a special event of course). This has not only helped with the waistline, but it’s also helped any small addiction there was to having wine at the end of the day. When we do choose to drink, we almost always go for a glass of red wine for the reported health benefits and research.

13. EAT HEALTHY

Slicing your saturated fat intake to no more than 7 percent of your daily calories can cut your risk of heart disease, advises the USDA. If you don’t normally read nutrition labels, considering starting today. Take stock of what you’re eating and avoid foods that are high in saturated fat. (Healthline)

Here’s what I’ve been doing: I try to do 99% of my shopping on the outside walls of grocery stores. In doing so, you generally eliminate the processed foods in the center of the store. Now of course, oatmeal, cereals, breads and pastas are typically in the center and we have those too, but the more you can stay to the outside walls of the store, the more you are shopping for fresh items! I also plan our meals for the week every Sunday. This allows me to not make any last minute decisions to eat something less healthy. I do a lot of pinterest searches for “healthy meals” and if I see something I like that isn’t too healthy, I try to adjust the recipe as necessary to make it a healthier version. I’ll continue to share healthy meal options on my instagram too! Another area I struggle is portion control and eating too fast. So I’ve been drinking water before meals to fill me up a bit before I start eating. I’ve been purposely grabbing smaller plates and bowls when I eat to ensure I only eat what’s on that smaller plate and I am consciously eating slower. Both of which have had huge impacts on my weight, I’m sure! Additionally, I stop eating when I get a hint of “being full”. I have a tendency to keep eating when I enjoy something because I just LOVE LOVE LOVE good food. But instead now, I slow down and typically the hunger wears off because I’m listening to my head telling me I’m full.

14. DRINK WATER

Oh, this is the Army girl in me. Whenever we complained about anything the answer was always to “DRINK MORE WATER and you’ll be alright!”

Ha! But the truth is, water truly is the cure for so so many ailments!

So instead of reaching straight for the medicine cabinet or something else to cure whatever it is you’re fighting, try downing a glass of water. It is truly one of the best ways to lose weight!

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

I am HORRIBLE at drinking water, yet when I’m doing it well, I always see significant changes in my overall health and appearance. My face stays clearer, my nails are stronger, my hair is shinier, my headaches are lessened, my waist is slimmer, everything! It’s truly the best medicine! So every time I even think about water, I immediately go chug a glass. That way I’m not having the idea weighing over my head. Cause I don’t do well with those “drink this big bottle of water” cups. I just don’t. I’ll do well for a week or two, but then it’s back to bad habits. This isn’t as hard for me. When I see water or think about it, I drink a glass! And I’ve been drinking more this way. Like right now! Go grab a cup! :)

I also alwayssss have a reusable cup in my car that ONLY water goes in so it stays clean. Every time I go to Starbucks or anywhere that serves water, I ask them to fill it up! Not only does this keep water on me at all times, but it also reduces plastic waste!

15. TRUST THE PROCESS AND BELIEVE IN CHANGE

As one of my best childhood friends and former collegiate athlete Terrance Withers says “ Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was your body.”

BELIEVE YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE AND WATCH IT HAPPEN.

I am tired of making up excuses.

I am tired of saying MY BODY CAN’T DO THAT.

I am tired of hearing “you will die!”

BELIEVE THAT CHANGE CAN HAPPEN, trust the process and be patient, know that it will take time and let’s get healthier together.

 

So…who’s with me? Leave a comment below, message me on Instagram on this post or pin this image to Pinterest so you can always reference back to it!

XOXO, Amy

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-heart-tips

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/5-things-to-do-every-day-to-keep-your-heart-healthy/

FATHERS DAY IDEAS AND GIFT GUIDE

LOOKING FOR SOME LAST MINUTE FATHER’S DAY IDEAS?!?!? We got ya covered! All but a couple of these things are available on Amazon Prime so you can get them in two days!

So for all of my fellow procrastinators, we got your back. :)

 
 

But here’s our philosophy. We don’t EVER want you to get anything that you won’t use. We try so so so very hard to curate items that you WILL use and that will make your life easier! We also NEVER want to bring you anything we don’t believe in and use ourselves. So I can 100% say we use these items and love them!

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CLICK ON THE TITLE OF THE ITEM AND THE PRICE AND IT WILL TAKE YOU DIRECTLY TO THE LINK FOR EASY SHOPPING.

 
 
 
  1. Osprey Child Carrier Hiking Backpack - $290.00

    What I say:

    Want an item that you’ll use for at least 4 years? Wanna invest in something that’s not just for your hubby but for your whole family? Wanna get an item that will allow you to get out, explore, be comfortable and (shed a few pounds while you’re at it?) THIS ONE’S FOR YOU!!! We’ve been using ours for 3 years now and it is HANDS DOWN one of our favorite out door must have gadgets. It forces us to get out, go hiking and make memories which we love!

    What they say:

    Lightweight aluminum frame fully supports the load and provides a stable platform to set the child carrier down. With 6 inch/15cm of torso adjustment, the poco ag Series can be quickly and easily custom Fitted to a variety of adult users while on the trail. The adjustable double halo harness and child seat is surround by a fully framed and padded Cockpit for safety. The built-in sunshade deploys quickly and easily from a dedicated zippered pocket. Max Load: 48.5 pounds. The adjustable fit-on-the-fly hip belt offers 5 inch of extension on each side for a comfortable ventilated custom fit and superior load support

    Want a cheaper version that still gets rated well? Here’s one for $100!!!!!

 
 
 

2. Bike Trailer and Kid’s Helmets - Trailer $99 and Helmets $19.99 (other colors available for both!)

What we love: Okay this is 100% the one I’m most excited to share because it is our FAVORITE FAMILY ACTIVITY TO DATE!!!!!! We found this bike trailer through multiple blogs that suggested it and OH MY WORD they weren’t kidding. $99?!?!?! what?!?!?! To take both kiddos out and get a workout and have fun as a family?!?! You betcha!!! The trailer hooked up to our bikes with no additional items to purchase required, the girls LOVEDDDDDDD IT MORE THAN ANYTHING THEY’VE EVER DONE WITH US, and it is hands down one of my favorite purchases ever. SO SO GOOD.

On top of that, we got the girls two new bike helmets that they too are obsessed with. They come in multiple colors ARE ONLY $19.99 and are the coolest way to put a bunch of vinyl stickers on for a cool collected look! How fun is it to collect stickers on vacations and that remind you of special things about your kiddos?!?!? Here’s my favorite way to get stickers!

What they say: Lightweight steel construction trailer with durable quick release 16 inch steel wheels. Safely and comfortably transports 2 children (up to 100 lb max payload). Large front and side windows provide a bright, airy cabin for your little rider. Foot guard tube protect passenger's feet, and a padded five-point safety harness comfortable holds your child in place. Folding design with quick release wheels makes for easy transport and storage.

 

3. MY DAD IS AMAZING BOOK - $5.99

An adorable CHEAP book that is so precious for youngster dads. For only $5.99 it’s the perfect, simple, affordable item for your papa bear.

 

4. YETI mug - $24.99

What we love: We’ve had these for a few years and both love them. I actually got this for him a few years ago and we love the simple sleek design as well as the affordable price point. It keeps our coffee hot or cold so much longer and we’re just asking ourselves why we didnt get these sooner! Also, dishwasher safe woohoo!!!

And it comes in tons of color options!!!!!

What they say: The YETI Rambler 14 oz Mug is the toughest, most over-engineered camp mug out there. The full-loop TripleGrip Handle is comfortable for wider hands, so you can fit your mitts fully around your morning joe. Thick gauge 18/8 stainless steel makes for stronger, more durable drinkware to resist dents and dings. Double-wall vacuum insulation keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot until the last sip. No sweat design say adios to damp or frostbit fingers. And of course dishwasher safe.

 

5. Ratcheting Multi-Bit Screwdriver - $23.96

What I love: This is 100% my second favorite MUST HAVE item on this list. GAHHHHH we use this nearly every week for something. It stays in our everything drawer and is the best multipurpose screwdriver ever invented. The quality is superb (the reviews are great), it works for anything and everything you ever need to unscrew and has the best ratcheting mechanism built into it which makes putting ikea furniture together super easy. HAHA! For this price, this is a fathers day must have. All of the bits stay conveniently in the bottom of the screwdriver so there’s no missing any pieces!

What they say: Ratcheting action for fast, easy two-way operation. 28 tooth ratchet provides 225 inch lbs. of torque. Dual composition grip for comfort. 13 different tips to fit any job. Convenient bit storage.

 
 

6. Quest Wagon - $89.99

What I love: WE USE THIS ALLLLL THE TIME. We take it on every vacation and use this more than the stroller when we’re on vacation. Because of the heavy duty wheels, we can take it camping and onto the beach with ease and the price point is SOOOO much better than a lot of the others on the market. We’ve had it for almost 3 years and it’s still practically brand new with ZERO wear and tear. The girls love it and Hadley naps in it when we’re on the beach. She also sleeps in it sometimes in hotel rooms if we make it super cozy! It works great for that! It also helps when we’re carrying all of our luggage to and from wherever we are going. HIGHLY recommend this specific one if you are in the market for a wagon!

What they say: Carry everything you need in one simple trip with the Quest® Outdoor Beach Wagon. Whether hauling your camping or fishing gear, or coolers and beach chairs, its durable large wheels roll through dirt, sand, gravel, and uneven trails. The bottom of the wagon features a removable cover and mesh lining so its takes seconds to get rid of debris, dirt, and sand. The Outdoor Beach Wagon folds into a compact size for easy storage.

 
 

I hope you found something you loved and remember these would also be great ideas for an anniversary, birthday or Christmas! So be sure to pin any image in this post so you can come back to it for easy reference! Hope this made your Father’s Day shopping a bit easier!

Happy Memory Making!

XX, Amy

SUMMER BOOK READING LIST

 

I wasn’t planning on updating last year’s summer reading list (you can find it here) until I realized there were SO many other great summer books to add to our collection!

We’re big fans of displaying books for the current season or holiday on our shelves (linked here) and the girls love changing them out so often! When we aren’t displaying them, I keep our “nicer” books in a locker until their appropriate season comes around. I’ll do this until they’re older and really know how gentle they must be with the books. BUT we exposed them to nicer books early to truly teach them how delicate they are, and it’s been great for us!

This season’s books are all about gardens, the sun, family adventures, the outdoors and of course water! We hope you enjoy!

 
 
 
 

***P.S. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CLICK THE TITLE OF THE BOOK AND PRICE AND IT’LL TAKE YOU DIRECTLY TO THE AMAZON PRIME LINK! I’VE ALSO INCLUDED THE DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK AS WELL.

 
  1. JABARI JUMPS - $13.21

    Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.

    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.

 

2. 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!

 

3. PEARL - $13.52

"Rich colors wash over the pages of Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Molly Idle's story of a young mermaid who learns that even small actions can achieve big results." - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor

Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Molly Idle dazzles with an original mermaid tale about how small, persistent actions can achieve great things.

Sometimes the tiniest light can shine the brightestLike the other mermaids of the deep, Pearl longs to care for the endless beaches, coral reefs, and towering kelp forests of her vast ocean world. So when her mother asks her to tend to a mere grain of sand, Pearl is heartbroken. It takes all her patience and determination to discover how even the littlest mermaid can transform the world.

Caldecott Honor-winning author and artist Molly Idle has masterfully crafted a modern classic in this mesmerizing tale about the immense power of small actions.

 

4. MERMAID SCHOOL - $12.32


Starting school is always exciting... especially when you're a mermaid! From schools of fish to the A B Seas, this whimsical underwater tale puts a fun twist on what to expect on the first day of school.

It's Molly's first day at mermaid school, and there's so much to learn! Follow the mermaids as they count clamshells, recite the A B Seas, and make new friends. They even enjoy story time about children who walk on land! At the end of the day, it's time to sing the goodbye song and head home. With sweet, rhyming language and a peek into a fantastical undersea world, Mermaid School touches on all the major moments children will experience on their first day. And don't miss the mermaid school handbook in the back of this book for more mermaid fun!

 

5. OVER AND UNDER THE POND - $10.98

In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered...over and under the pond.

 

6. AMELIA EARHART - $6.33

In this international bestseller from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Amelia Earhart, the American aviation pioneer.

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.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children.

Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

 

7. THE LITTLE GARDENER

Celebrate the tender story The Little Gardener with a beautiful new cover in the updated 2018 edition!

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.

 

8. YELLOW KAYAK - $10.90

A child and his beloved best friend go on a grand sea adventure in this magical picture book by the author and artist who created If I Had a Little Dream.

You just never know what a new day will hold if you are brave enough to find out. On one quiet afternoon, a boy and his special friend’s unexpected adventure bring joy and excitement and sights never imagined. And the best part of any adventure is returning home with stories to tell and you best friend at your side.

 

9. LOVE THE EARTH - $12.32

The final book in the New York Times bestselling trilogy, following Touch the Earth and Heal the Earth. by Julian Lennon, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, philanthropist, photographer, and bestselling author.

Jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go anywhere on Earth! This time, Lennon’s book immerses children into an interactive and unique journey where they can:
 

  • Plant milkweed gardens and soar with the butterflies.

  • Build schools where girls and boys will be safe to learn and follow their dreams.

  • Clean the oceans and beaches and help endangered dolphins, turtles, and whales.

  • Explore the planet, meet new people, and help make the world a better place!

    The Flier’s mission is to transport readers around the world, to engage them in helping to save the environment, and to teach one and all to love our planet. Just press a button printed on the page and use your Imagination Power to make the Flier glide through the air or transform into vehicles that will help those in need.

    An inspiring, lyrical story, rooted in Lennon's life and work, Love the Earth is filled with beautiful illustrations that bring the faraway world closer to young children. The book includes words to a special poem written by Julian Lennon, specifically for Love the Earth.

 

10. TODAY - $14.15

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.

 

11. TOMORROW I’LL BE BRAVE - $12.75

Journey through the beautifully hand-lettered messages by award-winning illustrator Jessica Hische. This uplifting and positive book - now a New York Times best seller - encourages kids to promise that tomorrow, they will try new things, do their best, and be brave.

Tomorrow I'll be all the things I tried to be today:
Adventurous, Strong, Smart, Curious, Creative, Confident, & Brave.
And if I wasn't one of them, I know that it's OK.

Journey through a world filled with positive and beautifully hand-lettered words of widsom, inspiration, and motivation. As this book reminds readers, tomorrow is another day, full of endless opportunities--all you have to do is decide to make the day yours.

 

12. WHALE IN A FISHBOWL - $12.32


A moving, poetic story about a whale in captivity who longs for the ocean . . . because whales don't belong in fishbowls, do they?

Wednesday is a whale who lives in a fishbowl smack dab in the middle of a city--it's the only home she's ever known. Cars whizz around her and people hurry past; even the sun and moon circle above. But if she leaps high enough out of her bowl, Wednesday can see it: a calm bit of blue off in the distance. When a girl in a paisley dress tells Wednesday "You belong in the sea," the whale starts to wonder, what is the sea? Readers will cheer--and get all choked up-- when, one day, Wednesday leaps higher than ever before and sets in motion a breathtaking chain of events that will carry her to her rightful home. Touching, and ultimately uplifting, here is a story about a lonely creature longing to be free--and longing to find someone just like her.

 

13. NATIONAL PARKS IN THE USA - $20.40

Take a tour of America's great outdoors and discover the beauty and diversity of its most iconic and majestic national parks. Packed with maps and fascinating facts about the flora and fauna unique to each of the 21 parks portrayed, this lushly illustrated coast-to-coast journey documents in large format the nation’s most magnificent and sacred places—and shows why they should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Explore Florida's river-laced Everglades, travel down the white water rapids of the Grand Canyon, trek across the deserts of Death Valley, and scale the soaring summits of the Rocky Mountains with this book that brings you up close to nature's greatest adventures.

Divided by region (East, Central, Rocky Mountains, West, Tropics, and Alaska), a pictographic map at the start of each section shows the locations of the parks to be covered. Each park is introduced by a stunning, poster-worthy illustration of one of its scenes and a summary of its makeup, followed by individual illustrations of the animals and plants that make their homes there.

Captions provide captivating information about the wildlife. Did you know that Everglades National Park is home to marsh rabbits who paddle through its swamps searching for herbs, flowers, and other plants to nibble on? Or that the pronghorn antelope of Badlands National Park are the continent’s fastest land animals, sprinting up to 60 miles per hour to escape predators like bobcats and coyotes?

“Can you spot this…?” page at the back challenges you to find a pictured critter or plant for every letter of the alphabet.

The parks include: Acadia, Badlands, Big Bend, Biscayne, Bryce Canyon, Channel Islands, Death Valley, Denali, Everglades, Glacier, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Hawaii volcanoes, Isle Royale, Mesa Verde, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Virgin Islands, Yellowstone, and Yosemite.

 

14. NATURE’S DAY - $13.74

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.

 

15. THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE - $14.06

Following the wild success of The Big Book of Bugs and The Big Book of BeastsThe Big Book of the Blue is the third installment in Yuval Zommer’s beloved series. Alongside everything the young oceanographer needs to know, Zommer’s charming illustrations bring to life some of the slipperiest, scaliest, strangest, and most monstrous underwater animals.

The book opens by explaining how different types of animals are able to breathe and survive underwater, and the different families to which they belong. Subsequent pages are dedicated to specific creatures, including sea turtles, whales, sharks, stingrays, and seahorses, and show varied life in specific habitats, such as a coral reef or deep sea bed. The Big Book of the Blue also explores the underwater world thematically, looking at animals in danger, learning how to spot creatures at the beach, and discovering how to do our part to save sea life. Beautiful and filled with fascinating facts, young, curious readers won’t be able to tear their eyes away from the page.

 

If you loved this blog post, be sure to pin an image in this post or this image here so you can always reference it! And so it can spread over Pinterest so others can see it too! Thanks so much for reading, and we sure do hope your summer bucket list adventures are going SWELL!

Happy Memory Making!

XX, Amy

SWEET SUMMER BUCKET LIST UPDATED

 

Every year we share our bucket list for the summer, fall and winter and our Summer Bucket List (updated) is here! This is a free downloadable printable that you can print at home or at your local office supply store!

Here’s my encouragement: this is not a “do everything here” bucket list. This is a list of ideas and inspiration for you and yours to make memories this summer. So whether you do one item or all 50, we hope lots of memories are made in your sweet homes and beyond! Nothing here is crazy wild, just simple and full of love.

Happy memory making!

 
 
 

And here are some pictures from our summer bucket list adventures thus far! We’ll continue updating it throughout the summer as we mark items off our list.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you want to reference this list in the future, be sure you pin this image above or any image within this post! That way you can come back to it!

Thanks for following along on our family adventures!

MOTHER'S DAY GADGET MUST HAVES

 

The post is finally here! A few days ago I shared my Mother’s Day Gadget Essential Must Haves in my Instagram Stories and they were a big hit! They’re now saved in my “Mama Must Haves” Highlights if you wanna see these bad boys in action! (It’s that pink button all the way to the left).

 
 

But I’ll share them here cause I realize not everyone is in a season of spending or in a position to add anything to your home! As always, please never be tempted to purchase anything just cause I share it. I do truly try to share items that are generally cheap or affordable, and I always try my hardest to share items when they’re on sale!

These items specifically are my must have items for mamas. I use nearly all of them every day of my life. These would make perfect gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, Christmas etc! So be sure to pin and save this post for the future! (It’s easy to send to your significant other, parents or in laws too, hehehe!)

Let me know if you have any questions!

 
 
  1. Headrest Hooks - These are the simplest, cheapest, oddly needable (is that a word? nope) gadgets ever. We hang them on the back of our headrest and I hang bags from them or the girls put their tablets in them while we’re traveling! They declutter the floor and are magic!

    And these are the tablet cases we use as well!

  2. Hair Mist Spray Bottle - This little bottle is the easiest way to make your babes look like they had their hair wash, without actually washing their hair…hahah! Silly much? But truly, I maybeeee wash my girls’ hair once a week. On the days I don’t, we just spritz their hair with this little bottle and it just lightly mists their hair! It then makes it soooo much easier to brush! I love that this doesn’t drench their hair though since it’s a fine mist!

  3. Straightener - I SWEAR by this straightener now, I really only use it to give smooth soft beachy waves, and it is the best for that. It gets super hot, has multiple temp settings based on how healthy your hair is and my hair never gets caught in the edges like it does with a ton! BUT the best part? It has a built in safety mechanism that allows it to immediately shut off should you accidentally leave it on when you leave the house! GENIUS!!!!! (and puts my anxious mama heart at such peace).

  4. Essential Oil Diffuser - I’ve been using Young Living oils for quite some time now, but I haven’t invested in their diffusers quite yet. So in the meantime, I use this AMAZING $20 diffuser that changes into the prettiest colors and offers a LOT of mist!!! We almost use it as a humidifier too cause it puts off so much mist! The lights are bright so it can even work as a nightlight!!! Our whole house smells yummy when we diffuse oils with this one.

  5. Espresso Machine - Okay I said I included two splurges and this is one. But…I drink WAYYYYY less espresso based beverages at Starbucks now cause of this guy! Was it expensive? Yes. But it’s cut back my Starbucks consumption drastically which makes it completely even out! In the end, it was an investment piece worth the investment. AND THE DRINKS ARE FABBBBB. You can see it in action in my Mama Must Haves highlight on my IG linked above!

  6. Luggage - The other splurge is this luggage. I’ve always thought it was so beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, but I’ve truly fallen in love with these pieces. They are lightweight, have a lifetime warranty, the carry ons have a built in phone charger and they’re just very functional. I also love the built in lock on the suitcases as well!

  7. Blowdryer - To go along with the straightener, my hair has NEVER been so shiny and I 100% owe it to this blowdryer. I don’t know what it is, but it truly makes my hair even healthier. It doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty too.

  8. Cordless Vacuum - IF YOU GET NOTHING ELSE HERE, YOU MUSTTTTTT MUSTTTTTT MUSTTTTT get this cordless vacuum. It is LIFECHANGING. My husband, our nanny and I all use this EVERY SINGLE DAY because it’s quick and easy to clean up little messes from kiddos. BUT I also love that I can quickly grab it and take it into the car! We take it on roadtrips and it makes the final cleanup when we return home SOOOO much easier!!!

  9. Egg Boiler - My second mama must have is THIS GUY!!!! If you or anyone in your family likes hard boiled eggs or makes them a lot for special occasions, yall THIS IS IT! You MUST watch the video tutorial I did in my highlights, cause it’s just crazy I haven’t had one of these my whole life.

  10. Wine Preserver + Stopper - I NEVER NEVER NEVER finish my wine if I’m drinking it alone. It takes me a few days to finish the bottle. and I don’t know why we didn’t get this sooner. It preserves your wine by giving it an air tight seal and on day 3 my wine still tastes fresh!!!!

  11. Wine Opener - Next to this thing. WHATTTT were we doing without this? If you are a wine drinker and don’t have this to open your bottles, look no further. Never have to hurt your hand turning a screw into a cork again!

  12. Wine Foil Cutter - andddddd yes this is my 3rd wine gadget. Also this guy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally gotten the foil into the wine or just ripped it off in an ugly fashion. This solves all of those problems!

  13. Outlet Charging Station - And finally, this. We are never searching for chargers or open outlets cause we keep this right by our “throw everything in there” baskets by our mudroom drawer. It makes charging so easy for us! From phones to tablets to computers, we can charge it all at once in one place!

 

If you wanna make sure you can reference this post in the future, be sure you pin this image above!

Happy gifting! XX, Amy

TRAVEL TIPS PART 2

If you’ve followed along with our blog, you know I LOVE great (HONEST) product reviews, tips and tricks for time management, life hacks and all things that just make life easier, happier, less stressful and safer as a mother.

 

I wrote this “Traveling Tips” Blog post last year, and it’s been one of the most read ones. There’s everything from what to travel with, to the best activities to keep your kiddos busy in the car and airplane, to easy ways to stay with your routine while traveling and more. If you are traveling with littles and need any car and airplane tricks, it’s all there!

 

But I’ve come back to add even more! And now I want to share my 8 all-time favorite car accessories that have WHOLEHEARTEDLY made life as a mother easier, safer and more enjoyable!

 

 

1.    Our Graco® 4Ever DLX for Graco®  car seats.

 

Here’s why: A MUST HAVE FOR YOUR BABY REGISTRY! The Graco® 4EverTM DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat is America’s #1 selling car seat. Need I say more? I’ve looked everywhere, and every single website I go to it gets amazing reviews, and I’m just wishing we would’ve gotten them sooner cause then we wouldn’t be on our third seats! What’s even better is it’s now upgraded with new features to help mom. This car seat offers mom longevity and convenience with four modes of use from 4-120 lb, and it’s the only car seat to go from rear-facing to backless booster, making it the only car seat you’ll ever need! Here are some additional new features! The new integrated belt lock-off makes seat belt installation easy and secure (which can truly be such a pain with some car seats!) The Rapid Remove TM cover lets mom remove the cover WITHOUT UNINSTALLING THE SEAT! Sold! Hands down my favorite part cause I hate taking car seats apart! The seat also has the new Protect Plus Engineered TM which is the most rigorous combination of crash testing that helps protect little one from frontal, side, rear and rollover crashes.

And there is NOTHING more important than our babies’ safety.

 

2.    Our perfect to travel with IPAD COVER

 

Here’s why: I am so incredibly pleased with this purchase that we’ve had for almost two years, because they are cute, functional and also work perfectly with another item I’ll show for in the car! They fit straight into the headrest hangers and allow the girls to keep their heads up instead of looking down at their tablets while traveling. 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!

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.

 

 

3.    Our DROP STOP - CAR SEAT GAP FILLER

 

Here’s why: 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!

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.

  

4.    Our BENTO BOX - double option BENTO BOX - single option

 

Here’s why: THESE MAKE EATING WHILE TRAVELING A BREEZE! 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!

Based on traditional bento boxes, the 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, the 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.

 

5.    Our CORDLESS VACCUUM

 

Here’s why: If you follow my personal Instagram, you now I am constantly raving about my cordless vacuum haha! This is my favorite thing in the history of ever. We leave one right in our mudroom so it’s easy to take straight out to the car, clean up crumbs and to get into all of those hard to reach places WITHOUT having to drag a cord around everywhere! LIFE CHANGING!!! 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!

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.

 

 

6.    Our BACKSEAT HEADREST HANGER

 

Here’s why: 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 in your car. 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!)

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.

 

 

7.    Our tiny travel stroller.

Here’s why: When traveling with the girls (especially if we aren’t going to be walking or out for long) we essentially just use a single umbrella stroller that’s less than $30 for our girls if they’re not walking (and this one is our favorite that we HIGHLY recommend) It is truly so easy to travel with in both the car and airport! And we love that it takes up no room! We are actually going to buy another so we just have two super simple (and cheap) umbrellas to use while traveling! And if they get messed up, so be it! They only cost the equivalent of 5 coffees! Hehe! Stroller is designed for a child up to 40 lbs. There’s a 3-point safety harness to keep baby secure. There’s extended sun canopy and rear hood provide more sun coverage than most umbrella strollers. There’s cool-climate roll-up exposes mesh for increased air circulation and creates a head rest. And we love the storage basket that holds all baby's necessities.

 

So there ya have it! My 7 MUST HAVE car accessories that I couldn’t live without! Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram if you know of any other cool gadgets that make traveling a breeze!

 

 HAPPY TRAVELING!

XX, Amy

 

SPRING READING LIST

Finally! Our much anticipated Spring Reading List (and Easter Book favorites) is here!

You can see our Summer Reading List faves here, our Halloween faves here (where you can also see the link to our shelves), our Christmas faves here, our Valentines faves here, our St. Patricks faves here, and our Black History Month faves here!

You can also read more about why we love books so much in our Summer Reading List blog post. They’re near and dear to our hearts. This year for Spring, we decorated with all things flowers, bunnies and the great outdoors! Enjoy!

To find the link to a book, simply click on the book title as you scroll through this post and you will be taken directly to the Amazon Prime link! Yay for fast shipping in time for Easter baskets!!

 
 

Here are our books styled on our shelves! The girls loveeeeee them.

P.s. Their pajamas are found in our Easter Basket roundup here! The Easter headbands are from The Daydream Republic and their necklaces are Coral and Cloud!

 
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  1. That’s Me Loving You - $13.96

    From the author of the New York Times bestselling author of I Wish You More comes a book that promises continuous love and makes the perfect gift for fans of Emily Winfield Martin's The Wonderful Things You Will Be and those looking for something new to add to their shelves next to the classic The Runaway Bunny.  
    Wherever you are,
    Wherever you go,
    Always remember
    And always know. . . 
    That feeling you always have in your heart?

    That's me loving you.
    Amy Krouse Rosenthal captures parents’ desire to be ever-present in this simple and touching poem offering reassurance of their love. Signs of affection can be found in the natural world around us—from a soft breeze to a shimmering star. 

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2. The Swing - $7.23

"How do you like to go up in a swing?" 

Delightful images by Julie Morstad bring to life Robert Louis Stevenson's classic poem The Swing. Share this gorgeous board book with your baby or toddler and revel in the magical images and words.

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3. Dear Bunny - $15.81

A little girl writes to her bunny, telling him all the things she likes when they're together, from how he blows on her porridge to cool it down to playing in the park and holding hands at the zoo. As they adventure the world, they see big things, small things, creatures, colours and wonderful surprises wherever they go, but at the end, the little girl realises that the thing she loves most is her bunny! With a simple message about learning to be grateful for the things we have, most especially our loved ones, this is an ideal bedtime picture book.

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4. The Good Egg - $16.19

A #1 New York Times bestseller!

From the bestselling creators of The Bad Seed, a timely story about not having to be Grade A perfect!

Meet the good egg. He’s a verrrrrry good egg indeed.

But trying to be so good is hard when everyone else is plain ol’ rotten.

As the other eggs in the dozen behave badly, the good egg starts to crack from all the pressure of feeling like he has to be perfect.

So, he decides enough is enough! It’s time for him to make a change…

Dynamic duo Jory John and Pete Oswald hatch a funny and charming story that reminds us of the importance of balance, self-care, and accepting those who we love (even if they are sometimes a bit rotten).

Perfect for reading aloud and shared story time!

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5. Today

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.

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6. Honeybee - $9.88

Buzz from flower to flower with a sweet honeybee in this timely, clever, and breathtakingly gorgeous picture book from critically acclaimed author Kirsten Hall and award-winning illustrator Isabelle Arsenault.
Bzzz…
What’s that?
Do you hear it?
You’re near it.
It’s closer,
it’s coming,
it’s buzzing,
it’s humming…
A BEE!
With zooming, vibrant verse by Kirsten Hall and buzzy, beautiful illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault, this celebration of the critically important honeybee is a honey-sweet treasure of a picture book.

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7. Yoga Bunny - $9.98

Relax and unwind with Yoga Bunny!

It's a perfect day for yoga, and Bunny is practicing his poses and wishes his friends would do yoga with him! But Lizard is too tired, Fox is in a rush, and Bird has the hiccups. Will Bunny ever be able to get his friends to slow down and realize that yoga just might be the solution to their problems?

Akin to I Am Yoga by Susan Verde, Yoga Frog by Nora Carpenter, and Good Night Yoga by Mariam Gates, Yoga Bunny helps readers wind down as they learn beginning yoga poses, from downward dog to tree pose. Brilliant author-illustrator Brian Russo shows readers just how relaxing yoga can be.

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8. National Parks in the U.S. - $20.40

Explore Florida's river-laced Everglades, travel down the white water rapids of the Grand Canyon, trek across the deserts of Death Valley, and scale the soaring summits of the Rocky Mountains with this book that brings you up close to nature's greatest adventures.
Divided by region (East, Central, Rocky Mountains, West, Tropics, and Alaska), a pictographic map at the start of each section shows the locations of the parks to be covered. Each park is introduced by a stunning, poster-worthy illustration of one of its scenes and a summary of its makeup, followed by individual illustrations of the animals and plants that make their homes there.
Captions provide captivating information about the wildlife. Did you know that Everglades National Park is home to marsh rabbits who paddle through its swamps searching for herbs, flowers, and other plants to nibble on? Or that the pronghorn antelope of Badlands National Park are the continent’s fastest land animals, sprinting up to 60 miles per hour to escape predators like bobcats and coyotes?
“Can you spot this…?” page at the back challenges you to find a pictured critter or plant for every letter of the alphabet.
The parks include: Acadia, Badlands, Big Bend, Biscayne, Bryce Canyon, Channel Islands, Death Valley, Denali, Everglades, Glacier, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Hawaii volcanoes, Isle Royale, Mesa Verde, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Virgin Islands, Yellowstone, and Yosemite.
A book to be treasured by children and adults alike, National Parks of the USA serves to inspire the adventuring naturalist in all of us.

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9. Bunny Roo - I Love You - $7.99

In a gorgeous picture book that’s playfully sweet and visually captivating, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr and talented new illustrator Teagan White celebrate the many ways parents make their new babies feel at home.
The world can seem like a big, bewildering place for new babies—fortunately, their mamas know just how to soothe and comfort them. Through enchanting scenes portraying all kinds of mama animals looking out for their little ones, the mother in this story reassures her baby, and young children everywhere, that their caretakers will always love them and keep them safe. This beautiful picture book has the feel of a classic and its heartwarming premise should make it a family favorite.

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10. Cat and Bunny - $9.98

From the heartwarming text to the adorable illustrations of little kids dressed as animals, there's so much to love about Mary Lundquist's debut picture book, Cat & Bunny. Cat and Bunny. Bunny and Cat.

It's always been just the two of them—daydreaming, having adventures, playing their special game. Until the day someone else asks, "Can I play?"

Mary Lundquist captures all the charm and magic of first friendship in her winning debut picture book.

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11. How To - $14.48

This imaginative ‘how to’ book explores whimsical ways of doing a host of different tasks, including ‘how to wonder’,  ‘how to see the breeze’, and ‘how to be brave’.  With text and images by award-winning illustrator Julie Morstad, this book will be beloved by all ages. How to read this book? That is up to you!

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12. You Belong Here - $14.54

The stars belong in the deep night sky, and the moon belongs there too, and the winds belong in each place they blow by, and I belong here with you. So begins this classic bedtime book, richly illustrated by award-winning artist Isabelle Arsenault. The pages journey around the world, observing plants and animals, everywhere, and reminding children that they are right where they belong. A beautiful title for new babies, adoptive families, and children of all ages.

You are a dream that the world once dreamt,
And now you are part of its song.

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13. The Little Gardener - $16.15

Celebrate the tender story The Little Gardener with a beautiful new cover in the updated 2018 edition!
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.

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14. Hungry Bunny - $12.85

It's fall, which means it's the perfect time for mama's apple pie. The only problem? These apples are hard to reach! But Bunny has some ideas. Young readers will delight in using the red ribbon to help Bunny reach new heights and pick those tasty apples. But the fun doesn't end there! Readers will also rock the book back and forth and turn it round and round for a one-of-a-kind roller-coaster adventure on Bunny's way home. Claudia Rueda shakes up the reading experience once again in this delightful sequel to Bunny Slopes.

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15. Wil Spring Be Early? - $9.98

Crockett Johnson's charming book about a groundhog searching for signs of spring is now back in print! First published in 1959, this edition of the funny story about a Groundhog Day mix-up features refreshed cover artwork ready to delight a whole new generation of readers.

With slightly more text than Harold and the Purple Crayon, this book is great for beginning readers or for reading aloud with little ones. Pair it with Crockett Johnson's Time for Spring for even more snow-turned-to-springtime fun!

16. We Are The Gardeners - $11.99

In We Are the Gardeners, Joanna and the kids chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden. From their failed endeavors, obstacles to overcome (bunnies that eat everything!), and all the knowledge they've gained along the way, the Gaines family shares how they learned to grow a happy, successful garden. As it turns out, trying something new isn't always easy, but the hardest work often yields the greatest reward. There are always new lessons to be learned in the garden!

You and your children can learn all about the Gaines family's story of becoming gardeners in Joanna's first children’s book—starting with the first little fern Chip bought for Jo. Over the years, the family's love for gardening blossomed into what is now a beautiful, bustling garden.

Julianna Swaney’s illustrations bring the Gaines family garden to life with colorful, whimsical watercolors and invite you to enjoy the beauty of a thriving garden.

 

If you loved this blog post, or want to be able to reference it in the future, be sure to pin this image above or any image in this blog post for easy reference in the future!

Happy Reading!

XX, Amy

EASTER BASKET FAVORITES

 
 

It’s officially been the longest break I’ve taken from the blog, but I’M BACK!

I’ve rounded up my favorite Easter Basket favorites from both big box stores (like Amazon, Target, Walmart) and from small shops that I’ve found on Instagram! You can simply tap the title of the product to be taken directly to the Instagram shop or to the store’s website to check out what they have!

What I love is that many of these ideas are also GREAT for other holidays, gift options and stocking stuffers! So be sure to pin this blog post to reference it in the future if you need a gift idea for a little one!

Happy Easter Basket making!

 
 
 

First up, BIG BOX STORE ideas!

Above, you can see all of these items in the girls’ joined Easter basket. These are products I’ve tested and believe in! Not just sharing for no reason. I am a believer in practical items that the girls can use for a long time! (just added to a cute basket to doll them up a bit, hehe!)

  1. Bunny Lunchbox - cutest little lunch box for boys and girls! Insulated and fits a lot! I also love that its easy to spot clean with soap and water! (other colors available too, but my girl LOVES bunnies!)

  2. Jammies sets - I love a good quality, affordable set of simple basic pajamas, and I LOVE that these come in a million colors to choose from! The price is great for a simple basic set too! (and amazon prime is a bonus, of course!)

  3. Instant Printing Camera - LOVE this as a gift for any holiday / season of the year, but it’s small enough to fit in a basket. I love it cause it’s a great time of year to gift it right before all of the summer adventures that’ll be made! It’s like a polaroid camera, just not so vintage. ha!

  4. Best water cup EVER - Let me tell you, the girls have dropped these a million times and they still look brand new, but I’m SO in love with all the colors they come in! They’re stainless steel, easy to clean and keep their water cold! Win win!

  5. Bouncy Balls - no matter how old, the girls LOVE bouncy balls. We love these the most because they aren’t super hard so if they accidentally get hurt, they don’t hurt their little faces/bodies. I get the big set and before a road trip or airplane trip we give them a new one to play with! They love them so much!

  6. Kinetic Sand - I RAVE about this stuff constantly, and any holiday we go through, I tend to get a new bag for the girls because it is OUR MOST played with activity! Amazing for fine motor skills, very limited mess and so much fun!!!

  7. Toothbrushes - It is a tradition to get the girls a new toothbrush every Easter and Christmas for baskets / stocking stuffers. Practical and a fun tradition!

  8. Chalk - But this is our favorite brand! It’s a great price, comes in the BEST fun colors, draws sooooo well and the best part is that the company has a great mission.

  9. Doodle pads - we LOVE taking these on road trips and airplanes. They’re easy to put inside a bag and the girls can use so much imagination with these!

  10. Bandaids - kinda like toothbrushes, these are another must have for Easter and Christmas for us!

  11. Quality leggings - we’re in that fun transitional period called spring, and I love these simple basic leggings that come in various colors and are super cheap! (size up if concerned about sizing)

  12. Burp cloths - whether you use these for what they’re meant for or simply just want them for the gorgeous pattern (me) they’re a stunning addition to a basket. We actually use them as baby doll swaddles and they work perfectly!

  13. More pajamas - these are the ones I raved about during Christmas time, and they are the softest jammies the girls own! I sized up for longer wear and they’re amazing quality and a great price!

  14. Peppero - these are the only sweets going in the girls baskets, and they love them! I am half Korean, so the girls are a 1/4 so we love these Korean treats!

  15. Water Beads - just like kinetic sand, water beads are a must have for indoor and outdoor play! But especially since we are getting into outdoor playing season, you must try these out. Great for sensory play and fine motor skill development!

These are the pajamas listed in the # 2 link. Everly is 4 wearing a size 5 and Hadley is 2 wearing a size 3. I always size up for longer wear. Their faux Birkenstocks are linked here and are soooooo cute! The bows are from Indy and Pippa and the purses are from Little Moon Leather which will both be linked below in the shop small basket!

 

These are the pajamas linked in # 13. Sooooo comfy and soft!

 

This is a look at the leggings listed in # 11. Both girls are wearing the 3-5. Tees from Jean and June!

 
 

And now for the small shop Easter Basket finds! I am A BIG BELIEVER in shopping small and supporting small business because now we are one! So be sure to check out these shops for ideas for any future gift giving needs! You’ll fall in love with the ladies behind these shops too!

 
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And here’s some closeup shots of the shop small basket!

 
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If you wanna be able to reference anything in the future, be sure to pin one of the images above so you can come back to it! At the end of the day, we pray that we never forget the meaning of the season and how important it is to remind our littles to not get lost in the Easter Basket goodies.

Thank you and God Bless!

VALENTINES BOOKS AND PAJAMAS

 

I think my most anticipated blog post every season are the book roundup ones, and I am totally okay with that because they are the most fun for me to do!

I have always loved childrens’ books, and it is so fun to now share that passion and love with my girls!

Each season (holiday) I decorate our book wall with new books to match that season or holiday.

Here you can see my Summer Book Reading List roundup.

Here you can see my Halloween Book Reading List roundup.

Here you can see my Christmas Book Reading List roundup.

And now, here begins my Valentines roundup!

Our book wall. Shelves are linked here ($12.99 each) and you can see more of our book wall @amylouhawthorne.

 
 

JUST A REMINDER THAT FOR ALL OF THE BOOKS BELOW, IF YOU SCROLL OVER THE TITLE OF THE BOOK NEXT TO THE NUMBER AND CLICK THE LINK WILL TAKE YOU DIRECTLY TO THE AMAZON PRIME LINK TO SHOP! YOU CAN ADD THEM TO YOUR WISH LIST THAT WAY AS WELL TO GET IN THE FUTURE!

 
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1. Coco Chanel - $11.96

What they say : Following the death of her mother, Coco spent her early life in an orphanage, where she was taught how to use a needle and thread. From there, she became a cabaret singer, seamstress, hat maker, and, eventually, the world's most famous fashion designer. 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 designer's life.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : It teaches self love and self worth and that no matter where you come from, you deserve happiness and joy.

 
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2. I am Enough - $14.24

What they say : I Am Enough is the picture book everyone needs, and it's now a New York Times bestseller and the picture book winner in the Goodreads Choice Awards! This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo. This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : It teaches this: We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.

 
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3. A Little Princess - $9.15

What they say : Adams and Oliver team up again to teach literary-minded tots the importance of friendship in A Little Princess: A BabyLit® Friendship Primer. Each page introduces Sarah’s friends with text from the original novel, A Little Princess, showing little ones that friends can be found in surprising places.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : A book that simply teaches the power and authenticity of true friendship and loving they neighbor.

 
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4. Part of My Heart - $19.99

What they say : A simple and heartfelt children's book about a baby heart and where it came from. This sweet story is perfect for explaining to preschool children the emotional truth of how a new baby is made and what they mean to the parents. Also makes a charming Valentine's Day or new baby gift.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : The best way to explain to young kiddos how love is the spark that makes a baby and how special babies are to moms and dads.

 
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5. Romeo and Juliet - $9.99

What they say : Get swept away by Little Master Shakespeare’s tale of two star-crossed lovers in Romeo & Juliet: A BabyLit® Counting Primer. Count friends, kisses, love letters, and roses in this charming retelling of Shakespeare’s famous story of young love. Since parting from such a lovely little book will certainly bring feelings of sweet sorrow, you may find yourself re-reading 'till it be 'morrow!

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : One of the most popular stories of love of all time matched with the cutest simplest illustrations. Need I say more?

 
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6. Love is a Truck - $11.98

What they say : Graphically appealing two-color illustrations pair perfectly with a spare, rhythmic ode to beloved trucks of all kinds - from fire trucks to dump trucks to ice cream trucks, the sweetest trucks of all - and to the kid who loves and collects them, Love Is a Truck follows Love Is a Tutu (our ballet-inspired ode to tutus and toe shoes) in our Love Is series. A smaller square format with thick, sturdy pages, make these little picture books perfect for young readers, ages 2-6, and for reading aloud again and again.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : The cutest book for little kiddos who love their toy trucks! Love doesn’t have to just be between people. Love is a universal language!

 
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7. Love is a Tutu - $11.65

What they say : This beautifully designed and playfully illustrated novelty board book is the perfect starting point for tiny ballerinas and parents alike. Sweet and spare rhymes prance across the pages, engaging the reader with real ballet terms and plenty of pink. Parents and toddlers together will sigh Bravo as they turn off the light.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : The perfect book for littles who love to dance and twirl around in pink!

 
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8. Beautiful - $13.39

What they say : Every girl is unique, talented, and lovable. . . .Every girl is BEAUTIFUL.
Much more than how one looks on the outside, true beauty is found in conquering challenges, showing kindness, and spreading contagious laughter. Beautiful girls are empowered and smart and strong!

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : Another book to teach the power of loving yourself and knowing you are beautifully and wonderfully made!

 
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9. Edie - $13.98

What they say : Edie is a funny, well-intentioned force of nature who leaves a trail of damage wherever she goes. Olivia meets Fancy Nancy.
Edie is EVER so helpful. In fact, helping is one of the things she's best at! Some might even say she's too good. 
Whether it's helping her family wake up bright and early with an extremely loud song, brightening up the walls of her house with lots and lots of colorful paint, or styling grandpa's hair in the latest fashion . . . while he's fast asleep, sometimes Edie needs to be reminded not to be quite so helpful. Perfect for fans of Olivia, Fancy Nancy and Eloise -- a joyful celebration of good intentions gone wrong.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : Just the sweetest book with the cutest illustrations that teaches every kid that it is such a joy to be helpful and that it does not go unnoticed! Even if they mess up. ;)

 
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10. Paris - $6.36

What they say : "This sophisticated and eye-catching introduction to shapes using the landmarks of Paris brings something special to a concept board book." - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor
Introducing Hello, World, an exciting new board book series that pairs early learning concepts with colorful, stylish illustrations of cities around the world.
Paris is a treasure trove of fascinating shapes: there are triangles at the Louvre Museum, rectangles at Notre-Dame Cathedral, arches at the Arc de Triomphe, and stars in a beautiful Parisian night sky. Explore shapes all over Paris in this gorgeous board book!

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : A book about shapes and the City of Love?! What could be more perfect for Valentines! But even better…this price is unbeatable!!!!

 
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11. Love Is - $10.48

What they say : Perfect for any fond gift or tender moment, this story of a girl and a duckling who share a touching year together will melt hearts old and young. In this tenderly funny book, girl and duckling grow in their understanding of what it is to care for each other, discovering that love is as much about letting go as it is about holding tight. Children and parents together will adore this fond exploration of growing up while learning about the joys of love offered and love returned.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : The sweetest book that teaches a lesson of caring for and loving those things that matter most to us. The sweetest story of friendship!

 
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12. Bunny Roo I love You - $7.99

What they say : In a gorgeous picture book that’s playfully sweet and visually captivating, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr and talented new illustrator Teagan White celebrate the many ways parents make their new babies feel at home.
The world can seem like a big, bewildering place for new babies—fortunately, their mamas know just how to soothe and comfort them. Through enchanting scenes portraying all kinds of mama animals looking out for their little ones, the mother in this story reassures her baby, and young children everywhere, that their caretakers will always love them and keep them safe. This beautiful picture book has the feel of a classic and its heartwarming premise should make it a family favorite.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : The sweetest book for a mama and new baby. A story of love for littles and the bond between mother and baby.

 
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13. Bloom - $12.75

What they say : Elsa dared to be different, and her story will not only dazzle, it will inspire the artist and fashionista in everyone who reads it. By the 1930s Elsa Schiaparelli had captivated the fashion world in Paris, but before that, she was a little girl in Rome who didn’t feel pretty at all. Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli is the enchanting story for young readers of how a young girl used her imagination and emerged from plain to extraordinary. As a young girl in Rome, Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) felt “brutta” (ugly) and searched all around her for beauty. Seeing the colors of Rome’s flower market one day, young Elsa tried to plant seeds in her ears and nose, hoping to blossom like a flower. All she got was sick, but from that moment, she discovered her own wild imagination. In the 1920 and '30s, influenced by her friends in the surrealist art movement, Schiaparelli created a vast collection of unique fashion designs—hats shaped like shoes, a dress adorned with lobsters, gloves with fingernails, a dress with drawers and so many more. She mixed her own bold colors and invented her own signature shades, including shocking pink.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : A book that teaches the power of searching for beauty all around. A lesson of loving what inspires you and going after your dreams!

 
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14. The Pink Umbrella - $12.59

What they say : Perfect for fans of Amélie, this is a charming story about the power of friendship, love and pink polka dots to turn rainy days into sunny ones and sadness into joy.
When it's bright outside, Adele is the heart of her community, greeting everyone who comes into her café with arms wide open. But when it rains, she can't help but stay at home inside, under the covers. Because Adele takes such good care of her friends and customers, one of them decides to take care of her too, and piece by piece leaves her little gifts that help her find the joy in a gray, rainy day. Along with cute-as-a-button illustrations, The Pink Umbrella celebrates thoughtful acts of friendship.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : A story of love and friendship that teaches us that we all have gloomy days and the sun doesn’t always shine, but friends can lift each others’ spirits up and the sun will always rise!

 
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15. The Wonderful Fluffly Little Squishy - $15.42

What they say : Eddie is five and a half, and thinks she is the only one in her family who isn’t really good at something.  So when she hears her little sister say “birthday—Mommy—fluffy—little—squishy,” it’s extra important for her to find this amazing present before anyone else does.  So, gregarious, charming, clever little Eddie goes all around the neighborhood to all her fabulous friends—the florist, the chic boutique owner, the antiques dealer, and even the intimidating butcher—to find one.  It’s a magical adventure that draws on Eddie’s special gifts, ones that she herself learns to appreciate.

Why I think it’s perfect for Valentines : My favorite story. The story that shares how much our littles just wanna make us happy and make us smile. Now THAT is love.

 
 

Now for pajamas! I tried really hard to find pajamas that were “valentines-y” per say, but I realized that coming off the holiday season, so many of us are just trying to save money and not spend spend spend! So, I’m doing something a little different this season and bringing you cute + comfy + CHEAP pajamas that I found on Amazon that work PERFECT for Valentines! The “girls” ones come in a soft pink, dark pink and purple color which are all perfect for Valentines! But what I love even more is they are so comfy, can easily be sized up to last a longggg time AND they’re cheap! The girls are 2 and 4 and actually both in the size Large 4-5 here. I sized up for extended wear and they work because the wrists and ankles are tight enough to keep them on but loose enough to stretch and grow with them. The “boys” options are more on the cool color side and would be perfect for other holidays, but regardless they are amazing pajamas for all year long so I had to share! I will definitely be getting these in more colors and recommend them for your littles!

Here they are linked here AND ONLY $15!!!

 
 
 

If you loved this post or want to reference it in the future, be sure to pin this picture! You can come back to it at any time to find the best love books for kids and these comfy pajamas! Thanks for reading!!!

XOXO, Amy

HOLIDAY HOME TOUR

It has truly been so fun sharing our home with you and your family this season. With this being our final Christmas in this sweet little North Carolina home, I wanted to make it extra special for our family. I added little touches of Christmas everywhere throughout our home and the decorations even ventured upstairs this year which was so fun to do! So here is a little peek into our home for the holidays. My biggest tip : do whatever makes your house feel like home. However much, however little, do what makes your family feel the joy and believe in the magic of this season.

Thanks for checking our our home and Merry Christmas!

 
 
A wonderful Holiday treat: Bagel crisps + creamy brie + Trader Joe’s sugar plum jam.  Favorite holiday plates from Anthropologie last season,  but these are cute too!

A wonderful Holiday treat: Bagel crisps + creamy brie + Trader Joe’s sugar plum jam.

Favorite holiday plates from Anthropologie last season, but these are cute too!

 
My little coffee stealer.

My little coffee stealer.

 
Add a fun DIY orange garland in your kitchen for instant holiday spirit.

Add a fun DIY orange garland in your kitchen for instant holiday spirit.

 
Messy + beautiful.

Messy + beautiful.

 
Sisters, sisters.

Sisters, sisters.

 
Our holiday book collection was so fun this year! and so were the girls Christmas jammies. You can find the  book selection here  and the  jammies here.

Our holiday book collection was so fun this year! and so were the girls Christmas jammies. You can find the book selection here and the jammies here.

 
These were such a fun DIY. We add to our collection ever year with about 10 new ornaments. This is a DIY I learned from Aubry from  Hello Maypole  and is so easy! Just plastic or glass ornaments, pour a little over a tablespoon of acrylic paint into the ornament and shake shake shake until the paint covers the inside. I then added pretty little ribbon adornments to them all!

These were such a fun DIY. We add to our collection ever year with about 10 new ornaments. This is a DIY I learned from Aubry from Hello Maypole and is so easy! Just plastic or glass ornaments, pour a little over a tablespoon of acrylic paint into the ornament and shake shake shake until the paint covers the inside. I then added pretty little ribbon adornments to them all!

 
The sweetest magical moment from Hadley’s second birthday celebration. Twinkle lights + balloons + magic.

The sweetest magical moment from Hadley’s second birthday celebration. Twinkle lights + balloons + magic.

 
And here’s our 4 year olds birthday dream come true. Waking up to balloons over her bed was magical! And we also add to our paper snowflakes collection each year too!

And here’s our 4 year olds birthday dream come true. Waking up to balloons over her bed was magical! And we also add to our paper snowflakes collection each year too!

 
Our mantel is easily a favorite. It changes often, but it’s typically a mirror or large picture surrounded by trees. You can find the sources on my IG but  most stockings are found here  and  the mirror is here.

Our mantel is easily a favorite. It changes often, but it’s typically a mirror or large picture surrounded by trees. You can find the sources on my IG but most stockings are found here and the mirror is here.

 
Such a sweet moment captured on self timer of me reading my girls books.

Such a sweet moment captured on self timer of me reading my girls books.

 
Displaying vintage ornaments may be my favorite decor of all time. Just dreamy.

Displaying vintage ornaments may be my favorite decor of all time. Just dreamy.

 
Love the sweet smell of cinammon + cranberries + orange slices + nutmeg + rosemary + clove in our home over the holidays. Just bring to a boil then simmer.

Love the sweet smell of cinammon + cranberries + orange slices + nutmeg + rosemary + clove in our home over the holidays. Just bring to a boil then simmer.

 
Adding twinkle lights to the girls room was easily their favorite part of holiday decorations!

Adding twinkle lights to the girls room was easily their favorite part of holiday decorations!

 
The coffee wall was quite magical this season. Our neighbors came over and enjoyed some hot cocoa with us too!

The coffee wall was quite magical this season. Our neighbors came over and enjoyed some hot cocoa with us too!

 
Home Alone on REPEAT!

Home Alone on REPEAT!

 
Fresh garland in alllll the rooms. A classic.

Fresh garland in alllll the rooms. A classic.

 
These sweet girls just love this open area in front of our tree. This is typically where the train finds itself and it’s like my childhood all over again.

These sweet girls just love this open area in front of our tree. This is typically where the train finds itself and it’s like my childhood all over again.

 
This is our guest bedroom! and it’s been so sweet having guest enjoy teeny decorations in their room this season.

This is our guest bedroom! and it’s been so sweet having guest enjoy teeny decorations in their room this season.

 
Our formal tree is in our dining room and the girls have loved looking at these twinkling nights every single night and dancing like sugar plum fairies.

Our formal tree is in our dining room and the girls have loved looking at these twinkling nights every single night and dancing like sugar plum fairies.

 
Another look at our holiday book wall and the girls are wearing the best little antler ears from  Indy and Pippa Co here!

Another look at our holiday book wall and the girls are wearing the best little antler ears from Indy and Pippa Co here!

 
This is the girls’ playroom  (which most sources can be found here!)

This is the girls’ playroom (which most sources can be found here!)

 
We’ve loved sipping hot cocoa and stringing cranberries this season too!

We’ve loved sipping hot cocoa and stringing cranberries this season too!

 
and our  #HawthorneGirlsChalkArt  game is going strong.

and our #HawthorneGirlsChalkArt game is going strong.

 
GUYS! this pic was featured on  ANTHROPOLOGIE! do whattttt?!?! dream come true.
 
we have a tradition to “feed the animals” when they come out of ornament world hibernation. The girls love doing this so much!

we have a tradition to “feed the animals” when they come out of ornament world hibernation. The girls love doing this so much!

 
Probably my favorite capture of the entire season. Oh that evening light peeking in through our sunroom. Just magic.

Probably my favorite capture of the entire season. Oh that evening light peeking in through our sunroom. Just magic.

 
The girls’ twinkle lights in their room at night are so dreamy!

The girls’ twinkle lights in their room at night are so dreamy!

 
My office even got a little holiday spirit. But don’t pay much attention to my poor little plant! hahahah!

My office even got a little holiday spirit. But don’t pay much attention to my poor little plant! hahahah!

 

And there ya have it. A look around our home. This is our bedroom and just adding a simple wreath and twinkle lights completely transformed this area into my dreamland.

Night night!

 

Thank you so incredibly much for taking a look into our home for the holidays! If you loved this post or wanna reference it in the future, be sure to pin an image or this image above for an easy reference in the future!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and thank you for being part of our community!

XOXO, Amy

THE ULTIMATE KIDS' GIFT GUIDE

 

IT’S HERE! AND JUST IN TIME FOR BLACK FRIDAY, SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY AND CYBER MONDAY SPECIALS!!!

I’ve created an ultimate shopping list gift guide for kiddos age 0-10 “ish” and most of these items have both boy and girl options available! So even if the picture looks like it’s for a boy or a girl, there is likely a boy or girl option also available! So be sure to follow each link to check out the other options. Most of these are on MAJOR sale this weekend only! You can shop easily by clicking the item title below! Also, many of these items are from small shops like ours, so we LOVE being able to support small business!

Happy shopping for those littles in your life!

 
 
  1. Smithsonian Dinosaur Book - We always check this book out from our local library and I found it for a great price, so Everly will get a big surprise this Christmas. She LOVES learning about the dinos in this amazing book!

  2. Cuddle and Kind Mermaid - For every doll purchase, 20 meals are donated to children! A beautiful doll with an even more beautiful purpose!

  3. Banwood Bike - Dream bike. #AmIRight? Enough said haha.

  4. Little Belle Fairy Nightlight - Also the DREAMIEST nightlight! Can’t wait to get this in for the girls. They love fairies and this one is just pure magic.

  5. Moses Basket - Hadley LOVES baby dolls, so she’s going to love putting her babies to bed in this basket.

  6. Fawn Design Mini Bag - The mini bag is the perfect bag for little girls to twin with their mama!

  7. Oli Ella Shopping Basket - The prettiest basket that kids can use to “grocery shop” in play kitchens or to store toys in!

  8. The Daydream Republic Sunglasses - Been wanting these forever. I mean…the girls have been wanting these forever. ha!

  9. TrioKid Stroller - We have the pink Vivi of this and the girls are constantly fighting over it because it’s just THAT good. Gotta get another so they each have one hehe. And the price for the quality is UNREAL.

  10. Patagonia Jacket - A staple. The comfiest, softest, best quality jacket that lasts for so long cause it just fits that well. Also comes in so MANY COLORS!

  11. Picasso MagnaTiles - The girls have a smaller package of these and it’s just not enough. These are THE BEST TOYS we own. They are amazing for sensory processing and the best quality and what we love the most is they grow with the kids. They play with them and imagine with them for hours!

  12. Bravery Magazine - The sweetest, prettiest magazine to teach our girls to be BRAVE!

  13. Kerri Makes Plates - Can’t recommend these personalized plates enough. We have them for almost every holiday and they are truly to die for. AND SAFE IN DISHWASHER!

  14. Dinosaur Hooded Towel - Everly loves dinos and I’ve been searching for one of these forever. She can use this for YEARS!

  15. Anywhere Chair - Can be monogrammed and the cover is machine washable! Win win!

  16. Jet Kid’s Suitcase - So excited for this. The kids can ride on it in the airport AND they can be set under the seat to extend the seat on an airplane for kids to put their legs on! Brilliant!

  17. Tubby Todd Bathwash - Our all time favorite bath products. HANDS DOWN. Our girls have very sensitive skin and it’s the only products we can use that they don’t have issues with. We love all of their stuff!

  18. Fjallraven Kanken Backpack - Everly’s backpack for school and it’s truly the BEST! Pretty, amazing quality, waterproof and washes well.

  19. Smallable Canopy - The perfect addition to a bedroom or playroom to bring the magic! Would be gorgeous in a reading nook!

  20. Range Rover - Hands down the girls all time favorite Christmas gift. We have this one in white, and the review are absurd. They are all about it coming damaged in the mail, and that happens with large items. If it does, just ask for a new one! We love our little range rover!

  21. Rey To Z Hats - The cutest personalized hats for the whole family!

  22. Amelia Earhart Book - We are pilots. This book is gold. :)

 
 

If you loved this gift guide, or want to reference it in the future, would love for you to pin this image to a board on pinterest so you can come back to it later! Thanks for stopping by friends! And HAPPY HOLIDAY SHOPPING!

XOXO, Amy

THANKSGIVING MEAL ROUND UP

 

So let me be really real here. I made this for myself, cause I want something easy to reference every year for Thanksgiving! And now I have it! It’s simple and perfect for the traditional Thanksgiving must haves. But I am all about sharing things that work for me with you! So that’s why I’d be remiss not to share this easy to follow guide for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

All you have to do is print this printable off, mark off all of the recipes / corresponding ingredients that you don’t need, add any additional recipes or substitutions, mark off all of the items you already have in your fridge or pantry and then get to shopping! I like doing all the dry items for grocery pickup and then I go get the frozen/fridge items and fresh items myself! If you’re really fancy, you can even print this off and laminate it for use year after year! Just leave it in a recipe book or in that kitchen “everything drawer” that everybody has and easy peasy lemon squeezy!

So here ya go; here’s my ultimate Thanksgiving shopping list guide!

YOU CAN PRINT IT STRAIGHT FROM THIS DOWNLOAD HERE!

 
 

***NOTE THAT THESE RECIPES ARE GENERALLY FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR TO SIX. YOU WILL NEED TO DOUBLE FOR LARGER FAMILIES OR FOR GATHERINGS.

 

MASHED POTATOES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup milk

  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes; drain.

  • In a small saucepan heat butter and milk over low heat until butter is melted. Using a potato masher or electric beater, slowly blend milk mixture into potatoes until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

TURKEY

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 fresh turkey

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme

  • 1 whole lemon, halved

  • 1 onion, quartered

  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise

DIRECTIONS:

  • THAW TURKEY DAY PRIOR

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.

  • Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.

  • Roast the turkey about 2 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 20 minutes.

  • Slice the turkey and serve.

 

HAM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bone-in ham

  • 1/2 cup whole cloves

  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple rings in heavy syrup

  • 1 (4 ounce) jar chopped maraschino cherries

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

  • Place ham in a roasting pan. Score the rind of the ham with a diamond pattern. Press a clove into the center of each diamond. Drain the juice from the pineapple rings into a medium bowl, and stir in the brown sugar. Coat the ham with this mixture. Arrange the pineapple rings over the outside of the ham. Place a maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple ring, and secure with a toothpick.

  • Bake uncovered for 4 to 5 hours, basting frequently with the juices, until the internal temperature of the ham is 160 degrees F (72 degrees C). Be sure the meat thermometer is not touching the bone. Remove toothpicks before serving.

 

HOMEMADE STUFFING

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion

  • 9 cups soft bread cubes

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; saute onion in hot butter until onion is soft, 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Put bread cubes in a large bowl. Season bread with salt, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, and black pepper. Add onion mixture to bread cubes; stir. Pour bread mixture into a large casserole dish and cover the dish with aluminum foil.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden and hot, about 1 hour.

 

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE (OUR FAVORITE MEAL SO WE DOUBLE THIS RECIPE BELOW)

INGREDIENTS:

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed (equals 2 cans or 1 frozen bag) 

  • 3 tablespoons butter 

  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms, chopped 

  • 3 tablespoons flour 

  • 1 cup chicken stock 

  • 1 cup half-and-half 

  • 1 can fried onions

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, season with 2 tablespoons salt, and blanch the green beans for 5 minutes. Shock the green beans in a bowl filled with ice water, then remove and set aside to dry.

  • Melt the butter in a large cast-iron pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and some salt and pepper, and cook until just softened. Add the flour and stir to coat the mushrooms. Add the chicken stock, whisking vigorously to smooth out any lumps. Whisk in the half-and-half. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust with more salt and pepper as needed. Add the green beans, then pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  • Bake for 30 minutes. Let the casserole rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with fried onions to lend some extra crunch. Serve.

 

CORNBREAD + ROLLS

Going easy here. I love the Target Krusteaz Gluten Free Honey Cornbread. Not doing homemade this year. And we typically do Pillsbury Grands Rolls or fresh bakery rolls.

 

CRANBERRY

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice. Stir in the cranberries, and cook until they start to pop (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

 

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE (THIS IS WHAT WE CONSIDER OUR DESSERT SO WE DON’T GO TOO HEAVY ON SUGARY MEALS)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups sweet potato, cubed

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.

  • In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish.

  • In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.

  • Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

 

CROCKPOT CREAM CHEESE CORN (NOTE THAT THIS IS A LONGER RECIPE SO WILL NEED TO BE STARTED WITH THE TURKEY OR EVEN PRIOR)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/4 (16 ounce) packages frozen corn kernels

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a slow cooker, combine corn, cream cheese, butter, milk, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Cook on High for 2 to 4 hours, or on Low for 4 to 6 hours.

 

MAC + CHEESE BAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni shells

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine

  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour

  • 2 cups milk not skim

  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

  • 2 cups of shredded cheese I like sharp cheddar and Swiss

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil; add a generous sprinkling of salt the pasta.

  • While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a skillet or pot large enough to hold the pasta when it's done.

  • Add the flour and stir over medium heat until the mixture is lightly browned; 1-2 minutes.

  • Add the milk and whisk to remove any lumps and add the salt and pepper.

  • Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. About 6 minutes.

  • Stir in the cheese and whisk until smooth and melted. Turn off the heat.

  • When the pasta is almost done but still firm, drain it and add to the sauce.

  • Stir the pasta into the sauce and bake in a greased 2 quart dish (or an 8x8 pan works pretty well) 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbly. You can also skip baking it if you want it super creamy and just put it under the broiler to brown the top (keep an eye on it) and then serve. 

 

GRAVY (AGAIN NOT DOING ANYTHING HOMEMADE HERE, USING THE MCCORMICK TURKEY GRAVY PACKETS)

 
 

I hope this helps you for your Thanksgiving shopping this season, and for many seasons to come! If this was helpful, be sure you pin one of these images to your pinterest board for future reference! And make sure you let me know in the comments if there’s another recipe you love that I didn’t include on the printable! I always love trying new recipes!

 
 

Hugs and happy baking! oh and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! WE ARE SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU!!!

XOXO, Amy and The Ever Co Family

HOLIDAY READING LIST

 
 
 

Another much anticipated blog post is here! Our Halloween book post was SO popular, so we’re bringing the same format to you this Christmas season! Below you’ll find all of our favorite holiday inspired books!

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 Christmas 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 BOOK TITLE AND IT WILL TAKE YOU DIRECTLY TO THE AMAZON LINK (AND YOU CAN EASILY ADD IT TO YOUR WISHLIST THERE TOO!(

 
  1. The Nutcracker

    With this colorfully illustrated board book version of the classic Christmas-time ballet, Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver present a new holiday favorite, The Nutcracker: A BabyLit® Dancing Primer. This board book features soldiers marching, mice prancing, snowflakes swirling, dolls bending, and buffoons skipping as a way to introduce basic movement terms to babies and toddlers.

 

2. Olive, the other reindeer

Olive is merrily preparing for Christmas when suddenly she realizes "Olive... the other Reindeer... I thought I was a dog. Hmmm, I must be a Reindeer!" So she quickly hops aboard the polar express and heads to the North Pole. And while Santa and the other reindeer are a bit surprised that a dog wants to join the their team, in the end Olive and her unusual reindeer skills are just what Santa and his veteran reindeer team need.

 

3. The Christmas Wish

Long ago, a brave little girl named Anja wanted to be one of Santa's elves. So she leaves a note for her family and helps her elderly neighbor prepare for the holiday, then she straps on her skis, and heads out into the snowy landscape. From a red bird to a polar bear to a reindeer, a menagerie of winter animals help Anja make her way to Santa. A generous trim-size, matte cover, extraordinary photographs, and foiled title make this a special book for the holiday season.

 

4. Once Upon a Snowstorm

The story of a father and his son who live by themselves in a cosy cabin in the woods. But, one day they are separated out in the beautifully falling snow. The boy is lost and falls asleep. When he wakes up he is surrounded by blinking eyes, a rabbit, a fox, an owl and all manner of other creatures have surrounded him! But with a bear hug he and the woodland animals become best of friends! But soon he misses his dad and so the animals bring him back home. The father opens up his heart and home, and lets nature and love envelop their previously lonely existence.

 

5. Little Penguins

Snowflakes? Many snowflakes. Winter is coming. So begins this ever-so-simple story. As the snow starts to fall, the excited penguins pull out scarves, mittens, heavy socks, and boots, and Mama helps them bundle up. But when it’s time to go out, one timid penguin decides to stay home. Filled with waddling baby penguins, playful text, and delightful illustrations, this book feels like a young picture-book classic in the making.

 

6. The Mitten

When Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, he goes on without realizing that it is missing.
One by one, woodland animals find it and crawl in; first, a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny brown mouse and what happens next makes for a wonderfully funny climax.
As the story of the animals in the mitten unfolds, the reader can see Nicki in the borders of each page, walking through the woods unaware of what is going on.

 

7. Pick a Pine Tree

Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree.

 

8. The Little Reindeer

An enchanting Christmas story about a magical yet unlikely friendship between a little girl and a lost reindeer sure to be a Christmas classic lovingly told and illustrated with red foil highlights and interactive die cuts.
When a jingling sound wakes her from her sleep, a little girl’s dreams come true when she meets a lost reindeer in the forest. They set off on a magical adventure and it becomes a Christmas never to forget. Nicola Killen’s evocative illustrations are sure to enchant in this beautiful book with die cut pages, foil, and flashes of festive red.

 

9. Mice Skating

This mouse doesn’t want to stay in the house . . . even if it’s cold outside!
For most field mice, winter means burrowing down and snuggling in. But not for Lucy! She loves snow crunching under her paws and wearing a fluffy wool hat. And most of all, Lucy loves to skate, and she’s just ACHING to show off her new skill with her friends. After all, a winter wonderland is twice as nice when you have friends to enjoy it with. But the other mice just don’t understand—and after a disastrous indoor snowball fight, it looks as if they never will. Can Lucy find a way to make the other mice come out and “mice skate” too?

 

10. The Little Gift of Nothing

Mooch the cat desperately wants to get his friend Earl the dog a gift for the holidays, but Earl already has everything he needs. "What do you give a guy who has everything?" Mooch wonders. Then it dawns on him: nothing! But it turns out nothing is harder to find than you'd think...

 

11. Snow Sisters

When snowflakes fall, two sisters react very differently. One is excited and the other is wary. The first sister spends the morning outdoors, playing until she's all tuckered out. Meanwhile, the second sister stays indoors, becoming ever more curious about the drifts outside. Soon, they switch places, and spend the second half of the day retracing each other's footsteps. But each sister puts her own unique spin on activities like sledding, baking and building.

 

12. The Wish Tree

Charles wants to find a wish tree. His brother and sister don't believe there is such a thing, but his trusty companion Boggan is ready to join Charles on a journey to find out. And along the way, they discover that wishes can come true in the most unexpected ways. 

 

13. The Great Spruce

Alec loves to climb trees—the little apple trees, the wide willow trees, even the tall locust trees. But his favorite is the great spruce, with its sturdy trunk and branches that stretch up to the sky. Alec’s grandpa planted it as a sapling years and years before Alec was born, and every Christmas, Alec and his grandpa decorate the tree together, weaving tinsel and lights through its branches, making it shine bright.
But one day, a few curious men from the nearby city take notice of Alec’s glistening great spruce, and ask to take it away for their Christmas celebration. Though it’s a huge honor, Alec’s heartbroken at the idea of losing his friend. With great courage and creativity, Alec comes up with a plan to save his favorite tree in this joyful holiday tale.

 

14. First Snow

In this beautiful book from debut creator Bomi Park, a young girl wakes up to the year's first snowy day. From her initial glimpse out the window to her poignant adventures—rolling a snowman, making snow angels—the girl's quiet quests are ones all young readers will recognize. Simple, muted text and exquisite, evocative art conjure the excitement of a day spent exploring the wonder of snow—and the magic that, sometimes literally, such a day brings. As subtly joyful as a snow day itself, this book will find its home in the hearts of young adventurers everywhere.

 

15. Olivia Helps with Christmas
Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure Dad sets up the tree, watch Mom make the Christmas dinner, oversee the care with which the stockings are hung, and, of course, OPEN HER PRESENTS! Whew, being helpful during the holidays is exhausting!

 
 

If you loved this post and want to reference it in the future, be sure you pin the images above so you can easily reference it in the future! These would make for great Christmas presents and are just too pretty to pass! Happy reading friends!

xoxo, Amy

HOLIDAY JAMMIES

The most requested blog post for the holidays is here!

Our “Halloween jammies” blog post was so popular (which by the way-lots of those are on sale if you wanna snag some a size up for next year!), and y’all are begging for Holiday jammies! So here it is! The best holiday jammies I’ve found for kiddos (both boys and girls) plus some extras for mamas and papas that are just so so good!!!

 
 
 

AND BONUS! Here are some favorites for the adults! Many of these have matching kiddo versions, so you can dress the whole family! Just follow the link and search for the matching sets!

 
 
 

My number one favorite Holiday jammies EVER!!!! They’re pricey but the quality is amazing, you get 2 in the pack, they can be worn year around AND THEY’RE GIRLY DINOSAURS which aren’t always the easiest to find! YES YES YES!!!

 
 

Here’s a few more I found later in the season that are also must haves! AND ON SALE! The red and grey thermals are here, and the pink snowmen ones are here!

 
 
 

And some more for the adults! Also on sale! 1, red striped jumpsuit is here, 2. THE most comfy pajama pants are on sale here! and 3. The cutest charcoal year round grey jumpsuit here! OH and here’s some awesome mens’ styles HERE and HERE!

 

If you loved our jammies’ roundup, be sure to pin this image below so you can easily reference it and so others can see it too! We are so grateful for your support!

XOXO, Amy

MAMA'S CHRISTMAS LIST

I’ve been so excited to share with you my favorite Christmas list items this year!

Most of these items are very reasonably priced, but there is maybe (okay yes) one big splurge on there if you’re a coffee drinker. And honestly, this is more of a family present if you’re wanting to make an investment to have Starbucks-like drinks in your home!

I personally own 6 of these items, so they’re coming to you highly recommended. The other 6 are actually on MY Christmas list! (wink wink Blake. ;)

I hope you love these as much as me, and if there’s anything else you love and have on your list, share in the comments below! I’d love to see what you’re asking Santa for this year!

 
 

***EACH OF THESE ARE EASILY ACCESSIBLE AND CAN BE ADDED TO YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING LIST JUST BY CLICKING THE LINK WITHIN THE TITLE OF EACH ITEM!

 
  1. COMFIEST PILLOW EVER (SO I’VE HEARD)

    What I love: I have heard from SOOOOO many people that this pillow is amazing, and I’m also a big believer in Amazon reviews. Those people don’t lie haha! I also oddly enough have very bad allergies to many pillows, and with this one being hypoallergenic it’s a for sure Christmas list item for me!

    What they say: Made in USA. Fully ADJUSTABLE PILLOW with our PROPRIETARY MIX of SHREDDED VISCO ELASTIC MEMORY FOAM - ADD or REMOVE foam to adjust to your comfort, perfect custom made pillow each time - for all sleep positions. Allows greater ventilation - Promotes proper alignment allowing deeper sleep through the night. *PATENT PENDING. REST ASSURED - CertiPUR-US Certified foam. Our pillows are made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, TCEP flame retardants, mercury, lead and heavy metals, formaldehyde, phthalates regulated by the CPSC, or CFCs. Our foam has been analyzed by independent, accredited testing laboratories. WHAT IS IN YOUR PILLOW? Our pillows meet the CertiPUR-US standards for content, emissions and durability, and are analyzed by independent, accredited testing labs. HYPOALLERGENIC & DUST MITE RESISTANT - allergy sufferers no longer need to compromise comfort! EASY TO CARE FOR - MACHINE WASHABLE - 5 Year Warranty - Guaranteed it will not go flat.

  2. BEST STRAIGHTENER (PERFECT FOR LOOSE WAVES) FOR THE BEST PRICE

    What I love: I’ve been in need of a new straightener since I’ve had the same one for about 10 years (since early college). I’ve heard great things about this one, so this is a must have on my Christmas list! MY NUMBER ONE REASON FOR WANTING IT THOUGH? -there’s an auto off after 90 minutes of non use. And to me, that’s worth it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally left my straightener on, and this feature is golden!

    What they say: LCD digital display. Safety auto off after 90 minutes of non use. Heat up to 380℉ at constant temperature in 15 seconds, takes less time to design a hair style and helps prevent damage.

  3. YETI MUG TO KEEP YOUR COFFEE WARM FOR LONGER

    What I love: We have this (both Blake and I have one) and for the mama who re-warms their coffee 8,000 times this is for you! It actually keeps my coffee warm longer and I don’t have to rewarm it! Plus they’re actually not bad looking which I love too! It also comes in a MILLION color options!

    What they say: The YETI Rambler 14 oz Mug is the toughest, most over-engineered camp mug out there. The full-loop TripleGrip Handle is comfortable for wider hands, so you can fit your mitts fully around your morning joe. Duracoat color means no scratching, peeling, or fading here. Vacuum insulation keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot until the last sip. No sweat design say adios to damp or frostbit fingers. And of course dishwasher safe

  4. BEST REAL LEATHER TOTE

    What I love: Got this tote as an early Christmas/ Birthday present and can’t recommend it enough. If you’re needing a real leather tote that goes with ABSOLUTELY everything AND fits your laptop case, AND will hold up for ALL the years. this is it. Plus, there’s just nothing quite as amazing as the smell of fresh leather! The quality is perfection!!! Love that they’re made right here in the USA too.

  5. MATCHING FAMILY BASEBALL CAPS

    What I love: We also got these as an early Christmas gift for the girls and I and ohhhh my word, I can’t tell you how many compliments we received wearing them! They’re all made with the best quality and the blush pink color is legit perfection. The girls actually LOVE wearing theirs and I love that they will grow with them because the backs are adjustable! So it’s an investment hat for over the years! Plus the modern initial is just the sweetest!!!

  6. COMFIEST SLIPPERS EVER

    What I love: I’ve had these for 2 years now. They were my babymoon gift to myself before I had Hadley and they are my go - to slippers every day. I love that they have hard soles (which makes them totalllyyyyy appropriate for wearing outside the house haha!) The super soft interior is hands down the coziest ever anddddd I love that they come in a ton of color options! In my opinion, you can’t ever go wrong with Uggs! p.s. I also have these Minnetonka ones, and they too are highly recommended as I’ve had these for about 8 years and they’re still in perfect condition!

    What they say: A water-resistant suede slipper is trimmed with shearling and lined with UGGpure, a textile made entirely from wool but shaped to feel and wear like shearling.

  7. WIRELESS HEADPHONES

    What I love: I just signed up for another marathon next spring, so these are the gift I’m asking for to make my marathon training so much better! I am so tired of that stinkin’ cord for my headphones, and these will make all my tangle nightmares disappear! I also love that the reviews for these are amazing, which can always be hit or miss with electronic devices!

    What they say: Just take them out and they're ready to use with all your devices, put them in your ears and they connect instantly. Double-tap either AirPod to activate Siri, without taking your iPhone out of your pocket. 5 hours of listening time on a single charge thanks to the W1 chip. iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models with iOS 10 or later Apple Watch models with watchOS 3 or later Mac models with macOS Sierra or later. Made to keep up with you, thanks to a charging case that holds multiple additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time. AirPods with Charging Case: More than 24 hours listening time,(3) up to 11 hours talk time(6). Need a quick charge? Just 15 minutes in the case gives you 3 hours of listening time

  8. PORTABLE PHONE AND CAMERA PRINTER

    What I love: I have been wanting this for a few years now and this year I’m really asking for it, because I really want to get better at documenting pictures (and not having them pile up on my phone or computer!) This gives me an easy quick way to print at home, but I ALSO love it because it’s such a perfect printer for putting pictures in my Bible for journaling! I want to start praying for specific people, and this is the perfect answer for that!

    What they say: Printing off social media photos has never been easier from your smartphone. Connect your social media accounts to the free-to-download HP Sprocket App and instantly turn those photos into colorful prints. A Social on-the-go portable printer: Sprocket uses seamless Bluetooth connectivity, so you can set it up at parties and events, and everyone can print their favorite moments from their smartphones or tablets

  9. COMFIEST PULLOVER

    What I love: I’ve been eyeing these for years, and I finally got one during a Labor Day sale this year! AND I bet they’ll be on sale so much during the holidays! So this is your time to get one or add it to your list if you’ve been eyeing them too! They’re super trendy, come in multiple colors AND of course the comfiest pullover ever!!!

    For reference, I am around 127 lbs and 5’4” and I got a size small and love that it’s more on the fitted side as seen in the pic below!

  10. CUTEST KITCHEN BAKING BOOK

    What I love: I am a sucker for cute coffee table books, and this one is just perfection! I obviously love pink, and this one is just the perfect touch to add to our cookbook collection!

    What they say: Home Baked is a beautiful collection of van Boven’s favorite baked goods—warm bread from the oven, sweet banana bread, a gooey cinnamon and caramel pull-apart loaf, rich chocolate cake, shortbread cookies, and more. And alongside these beautiful images of delicious treats, van Boven provides step- by-step instructions for how to make them in your own home. And she leaves no one out—working with different types of flours (including gluten-free) so there is something for everyone to bake. 

  11. BEST HAIRDRYER FOR THE BEST PRICE

    What I love: Blake bought this for me during Prime Day earlier this year, and can I just say I never knew a blow dryer could change your life! hahahah! It’s amazing how much time I save now by actually using a blow dryer that works well! I’m not kidding, this blow dryer is heaven sent and it works so quickly on the girls’ hair too! With a house full of girls with lots of hair (and a hubby with zero hair who just DOESN’T get it ;) It’s important for us to have a good blow dryer!

    What they say: Professional AC motor,1875W high speed could let your hair dry soon, lightweight than other professional blow dryer, perfect for thick hair. Negative Ionic, good for your hair and your healthy, resulting in softer, healthier hair with less static, great to use before flat iron

  12. BIGGEST FAMILY SPLURGE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

    What I love: I of course had to add one big splurge on here, and that’s our coffee machine that we get asked about allllll the time. If you’re a coffee snob, and love your espresso drinks from Starbucks, this is a must. Everyone that comes over to our house asks us to make them a cup, and it truly is Starbucks grade. We love coming up with fun new recipes, and we know this was an investment that will last forever. (p.s. it may even follow us to a coffee shop we plan on opening in the future. ;)

 

Rey to Z hats, Portland Leather Goods tote, and Abercombie pullover seen here.

 

p.s. if you loved this list, then you will also love my Life Hacks blog post, that is my #1 blog posts of all time! The items found here would also be AMAZING Christmas presents for you and your family, and they’re all cheap! So make sure you visit the blog post here to check out my life hacks on a budget. :)

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If you loved this gift guide, or wanna save it for future reference, be sure you pin the image above to a pinterest board so you can come back to it! It means so much to have your support and to have you reading! I pour my heart and time in these posts, so your love and encouragement means more than you know! If there’s anything else on your list, let me know in the comments below. Santa needs some things to get too! ;)

Happy Holiday Shopping.

XOXO, Amy

 

HALLOWEEN COSTUME ROUNDUP

costumes halloween.png
 

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!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Golden Girls by @theblushingbluebird

 
 
 

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 pediatrician, 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.

  13. FINE MIST SPRAY BOTTLE
    What I love: This is the perfect spray bottle that I live right in our “everything drawer” in the kitchen and it makes getting the girls ready for the day so easy! It has the perfect fine mist spray and I use it to lightly dampen the girls’ hair when I’m not giving them a shower or bath for the day. I can’t recommend this bottle enough!

    What they say: Perfectly even mist no matter how many times you pump it. Fill with water like liquids. Use for hair, facial mister, houseplants, succulents, ironing, cooling yourself on a hot day. Even spraying, no wet spots, no dribbling, no drenching. Sprays when turned sideways. Sprays like an aerosol without being an aerosol! Completely refillable and reusable. No aerosols, no propellants. Use as an atomizer.

  14. Shower drain flower

    What I love: This may seem silly, but I absolutely love this thing! I can’t tell you how much time I’ve had to spend over the years clearing my drains from hair (and now being a girl mama I can only imagine it’ll get worse!) until I discovered this drain wig featured on shark tank! It literally catches all the hair going down the drain and is SUPER easy to clean!

    What they say: Drain Wig is Universal: Fits most shower drains. Drain Wig is Hygienic: Completely disposable design allows you to remove hair without touching it! Drain Wig is low maintenance: Just replace every 2-4 months. Drain Wig is a money saver: Saves you money and hassle! No more expensive plumbing calls. Drain Wig is a one of a kind item that has been featured on As Seen on TV as well as As Seen on Shark Tank.

  15. Fast Egg Boiler

    What I love: Just like the other items on here that are kinda strange, this one is the same BUT AGAIN LIFE CHANGING! I have always dreaded boiling eggs. I don’t know why but I feel like it takes sooooo long and most times it feels like they don’t boil to the right hardness or softness! Fear no more! This fast egg boiler (which is also super quick to clean) is your answer! The perfect boiled egg EVERY TIME! We love making a batch of these for the week and just snacking on them from the fridge throughout the week!

    What they say: Dash Deluxe Rapid Egg Cooker is based off the ORIGINAL (and most trusted) egg cooker on the market, for perfect eggs, your way, EVERY TIME, we guarantee it! Now with TWICE the egg cooking capacity! Short on time? Simply choose your preferred eggs (or steamed food) and set the timer. The auto-shut off function prevents overcooking, and the buzzer will alert you when your eggs (or steamed foods) are ready. Its so simple, even your kids can use it. This is the PERFECT appliance for picky eaters, large families, or those who have busy schedules. Hard boiled eggs, soft boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, and individual omelets, all within minutes of the push start button - it couldn’t be easier!

 

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!