Monday, July 21, 2014

Freshly Picked Review + Giveaway

One of the many things Luke has in common with his Mama is he loves to wear shoes. When it's time to go out he gets really excited, runs to his shoe basket and grabs his Freshly Picked moccasins. I was always a huge fan of Freshly Picked and when I got the email saying they would like to send me a pair I literally ran in circles (just kidding -but not really).
The hardest part was choosing a color. FP has such awesome colors that I wanted all of them! I decided to go with the walnut color since I was able to match them to pretty much all of Luke's clothes and I'm so happy with my decision. I would still get all of them if I could.

What we love ::
They are very trendy.
Easy to put on.
Very light and flexible
Easy to clean.
They stay on the foot.
They are super comfy because Luke always wants to wear them.
Yes, they get worn faster than regular shoes but FP uses high quality leather that helps with the wear and tear.

The Freshly Picked team is truly amazing. They take the time to respond to emails, comments on Facebook, and Instagram. The founder Susan Peterson has such an inspiring story and she's always so fun and full of joy.

The best part about this post is, I get to give a pair of these cute shoes to you in whatever size and color you choose! The rules are very simple, all can enter except, if you have won a Freshly Picked giveaway within the last 60 days. Enter using the easy and convenient Rafflecopter.   
Have fun and be Blessed!  
Ends July 31, 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, July 11, 2014

A review :: puj Splash

 Bath time is always a crazy mess in our house.  John bathes Luke while I wash little baby Ellie. Both baths happen at the same time in our tiny little bathroom.  With bath bubbles and water all over the floor we do our best to bathe both of them without going totally insane. One thing that helped this crazyness is our puj Splash kit. I was recently chosen to try out this new addition from puj and it has changed how we do bath time. While John still has to deal with Luke's' water splashes. I get to have some happy bath time with my girl. 
Before I received the puj Splash for Ellie I would bathe her in a big bulky tub that I would have to place on the floor. I would get all wet from Luke's splashing and wouldn't be able to give Ellie the sweet bath she deserves.
What is the puj Splash? A convenient all-in-one bath essentials for easy fun bath time with your newborn.  It includes the Flyte bath tub which is a flexible compact newborn tub that you can easily fit in your sink. The Hug bath towel, which is a soft hooded towel that allows you to easily wrap your baby using the hands-free tabs (will explain below.) For easy access to the towel, 3 nubs that you can stick anywhere to hang the towel are also included. And last but not least 3 plush wash cloths that are perfect for delicate baby skin. 

 As you can see our sink is pretty small but I was able to easily fit this super light tub with no problems whatsoever. Putting it away is also easy because all you need to do is drain the water and it easily folds in half, it has a very convenient draining hole so all the water is able to get out, leaving you with a dry tub and no worries about mold appearing.
Although Ellie will need to switch to the Puj infant tub soon, she is still sitting very comfortably in the Flyte. She was able to stretch out her legs without splashing water everywhere.  One thing I really like about this tub is, no water gets near her ears which is something I always worried about in the tradition bath tub. We are very happy with this kit!
 After our sweet bath I was able to wrap her up with the soft Hug towel that comes in the splash kit. I had easy access to the towel thanks to the nubs that are also included. Oh, and did I mention this towel is a "hands free" towel? Meaning the two silicone tabs you see above interlock around my neck which gave me free hands to easily pick up Ellie and wrap her up in the towel.
 Overall Opinion 
Pros ::  The Flyte tub is very soft yet sturdy, it's very compact and perfect for on-the-go, small spaces,  or just the plain fact that you don't want big bulky baby gear in the bathroom. 
The wash cloths are excellent for sensitive skin because they are gentle and soft. They are also larger than most traditional wash cloths which I love.
The Hug towel makes it very easy for me to quickly wrap her up before she gets cold. I love the build in hood-- no more bare wet head. And to go with the towel, the nobs are very sleek and sturdy. They make it so easy for me to hang the towel behind me on the door.

Cons :: I honestly can't think of any cons other than the fact that Ellie is almost grown out of it but that's not really a con because this is a newborn tub and my little missy is no longer a newborn.

I highly recommend this set to any new parents to invest in. It's everything you need in one for a stress free bath with your little one.

Get your own Splash set from puj. Use coupon code SPLASHTESTER20 to receive 20% off your bath set through July 31, 2014!

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Baby Gear for Second-time Mom

While I was pregnant with Luke, I went on a research rant, researching for weeks at a time the best and most useful products to have for a baby. I always kept second baby in mind whenever I got something. I thought I had everything I needed for our second baby, and I did but the baby gear I had for my first didn't work for my second. It's really true what they say, "Second baby will be completely different than the first." I didn't use half the things I had for my son with my daughter. What worked on him didn't work on her. And having 2 kids under 2 I've learned the less things you have the better and finding the right baby gear is key to making it through a trip outside the house run somewhat smoothly.

1. I will admit, I am a stroller junky, I went through 2 different strollers before I got to the City Select and I can honestly say it's the best stroller I've ever owned. I started out with the Uppababy Cruz and I loved it a lot but once I found out I was pregnant I knew I would need a double stroller. I sold the Cruz and I got the Uppababy Vista. Again, I loved the Vista as well but the second seat that comes with the vista only faces inward and my son HATED that. 
With a little research I found the City Select and I can honestly say it's the best stroller I have ever pushed. And because the wheels are air filled I even use it to go jogging! It really is an all-in-one travel system.

2. I didn't have the Rock 'n Play sleeper with my son because he hated to be put in a bouncer, sleeper, swing, etc. I thought I would give it a try with my daughter and it is amazing in every way! She loves to sit in it because it keeps her cuddled. It's truly been a huge help to put her in there while I feed big bro or do daily chores around the house. 

3. This one is probably my most loved product. The Wrap from Solly Baby I've tried many carriers and wraps with my son and I can honestly say the Solly Baby is the best I've used. The wrap is super light but very strong at the same time. I can easily throw it in my diaper bag because it's not bulky. Ellie loves to be in the wrap because she feels close, warm, and cuddled next to mommy. And I love it because it allows me to be hands free which is very convenient when you have to run around after a hyper little boy.

4. The Gumdrop pacifiers are a must in our house. We started out with them at the hospital and we've stuck with them because they are easy to clean, and the kids love them. We didn't try to change them just because they were such a big hit with Luke.

5. Oh and I'm a diaper bag junky too. I can't even tell you how many bags I went through but one that has made my life a lot easier has been the Vera Bradley Backpack. It's spacious and organized with all the pockets inside. Best of all it lets me be hands free, not having to worry about it falling down my shoulder while I care for my little people. 

6. Ah, the glorious Vitamix. Mornings are pretty active in our house and I always try to make Luke a healthy, big breakfast and I owe it all to the Vitamix for helping me make yummy protein packed smoothies. It helps me make smoothies in seconds and the clean up is probably easier than making the drink. 

7. Last but not least are the Aden + Anais swaddle muslin blankets. Ellie loves to sleep with something touching her cheeks and these are perfect because they are so light and airy. I also use these to cover the car seat when we're out in the sun, as a cover up when I'm nursing, and use as burp cloths.

These are some of the main things I use on a daily basis to help make my life a little easier. Having 2 babies under 2 isn't easy but I found that these products have helped me have a smooth-er day. 
What are your favorite baby items?

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

No-Sew Bench Cushion

 I gave up searching for the right bench to put in my entry way, after I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for and if I found something it was ridiculously expensive.  Since we are DIY people I just got my hubs to build me a box with a lid that would open and close. I finished it off with a coat of paint and SUPER easy no-sew cushion. Don't you love the words NO-SEW?! I do!

2 in. foam (Jo-ann)
Fabric (Jo-ann)
Spray adhesive
Yard stick
Stapler & staples (Home Depot)

*I forgot to get batting when I was at the store and I didn't have the time or patience to go back, so I make it without the batting and it turned out perfectly fine! 

I started out by wiping the wood with a dry cloth and cutting the foam to fit on the piece of wood.
I sprayed the wood with adhesive and let it sit for about 2 minutes.
I then placed the already cut foam on the sprayed surface.
Drape the fabric on top if the foam.
Flip the whole thing over (you might need help with this), and staple to the back of the wood.
Nicely tuck in the corners and staple everything shut.
Have you seen my NO-SEW headboard?
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Friday, April 4, 2014

Nutella Cream Pie + Encouragement

I started getting into the groove of things now that I have a newborn around. My days are packed with cooking, cleaning, caring for my little ones-- going to the park, mall, and play dates-- more cooking and more cleaning. I have a lot of moms ask me how I manage to keep my house clean, caring for 2 kids under the age of 2 and still have time to bake a cake... or in this case a pie. 

I want this blog to be a real blog, and by that I mean I don't want to pretend I have a perfect life, house, kids, etc. I don't want this to be a blog where a mom (or any person) feels horrible after seeing nice pictures of a meal or dessert or an Instagram picture of a clean room and think to herself, "Wow, this lady does it all and I don't even have time to grab a meal."
So, I want to encourage you and tell you that I don't have a perfect house, or kids, or life but I am so thankful for all of it. 80% of the time my house has toys everywhere, I feel like I'm constantly washing dishes and doing laundry-- oh and changing diapers. Half the time I'm either running around after a very hyper little boy or I'm nursing my sweet baby girl. I'm lucky if I can get 5 minutes to sit down and get a few bites of food in my mouth. 
Thankfully my kids nap at the same time, that's when I have time to clean, cook, sew, or just sit on the couch and do NOTHING! My life never has a boring moment anymore and I'm very happy and content with all of it. So, next time you see a picture of a clean room, a nice meal or dessert it's either after nap time or my sweet and very helpful husband is around.
I made this pie on a good day with Luke sitting quietly next to me and Ellie snoozing in her rocker. It was a great day and I really enjoyed baking it. 

I cheated a little bit and used a store bought Oreo crust. If you prefer to make your own see original recipe from Livin the pie life.

Nutella Cream Pie 

1- 8oz cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup of Nutella
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1 egg
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup toasted hazelnut, coarsely chopped 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
In a mixer, blend together cream cheese, Nutella, melted chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix until thoroughly incorporated, about 1 minute. Add egg and mix for 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts.
Pour into Oreo crust and bake for 30 minutes until center is just set.
Let it cool all the way through.

Whipped Topping
In a mixer, blend cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the cooled pie, sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts, and drizzle warm Nutella on top.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DIY Yarn Rosette Wreath

Since the weather has been really nice here in the good 'ol south, I've been doing a lot more crafts. I think being able to get out and feel the warm sun brightens up my spirit and makes me be more productive, I'm probably not alone. Since we are officially into the spring season, I decided to make a wreath for my own door. I went with a bright fuchsia for the felt rosettes and grassy green for my monogram letter, I felt like those two colors pared together with a black and white wreath ring would scream-- HELLO SPRING!!!
Scroll on down to see how I made this wreath, and YOU can make it too!!!
As I started wrapping the wreath ring I realized I forgot to take pictures, but you get the idea so far right?
Start with a plain wreath ring, tie a knot with the yarn to start your wrapping. Continue wrapping your wreath with white and black yarn 'till the whole wreath is covered. 

 I realized when I got to the end that I had a wider section of white yarn but I wasn't worried about it because I knew the rosettes would cover it. Don't sweat if this happens to you. It's an easy fix.
 I used the same technique for making the rosettes as I did in my DIY rosette wreath tutorial but instead of cutting a circle out of the felt, I cut an uneven rectangle to give the effect of flower petals throughout the rosettes. The bigger you cut your felt the larger the flower will be. I made a total of 14 rosettes for this wreath.
As for the leaves, cut a small piece of felt, fold over, and cut a curved line voila! You have a cute leaf.  
 I gave the monogram letter 3 coats of paint in the color lily pad green.

 Arrange the rosettes, and hot glue everything together.
Happy Spring everyone!! 
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