our december

Happy Friday!! December has been a whirlwind for us and I can't believe we are just two days away from a new year. This month we have been staying busy with our master bedroom renovation, Dustin's job and our girls, as well as family events, Christmas and of course counting down the final weeks before our baby girl arrives. Olivia has had the past two weeks off school and dance so most days have been spent at home reading books in bed, doing puzzles, baking and taking lots of bubble baths. Our evenings have been filled with watching Disney movies, eating icecream and grasshopper pie (mine and Olivia's favorite treat this time of year...oreo piecrust, peppermint bon bon icecream, serve topped with hot fudge and whipped cream) and relaxing as a family of 4. Lots of yummy soup, chili, lasagna and cesar salads have been on rotation and now that all our Christmas cookies are gone I think I'm ready to whip up another batch of peanut butter blossoms, even though it's nearly January!

{all madly wish quilts are marked down this week no code needed and stay tuned for a special coupon code coming on Monday for 25% off your total purchase; our girls have two of her quilts and we absolutely love them!}

We had a wonderful, very low-key Christmas at home and Dustin had some extra time off work so us girls always enjoy that. Last Friday the 23rd we took the girls on a fun lunch date and to an old-fashioned candy store afterward.

black grid classy bow from cute bird accessories {save 15% on your total purchase through 12/31 using BLESSEDNEST15 at checkout}

Olivia asked for kitty socks and candy in her stocking this year and being that we were two days away from Christmas and I had no candy yet, I thought it would be the perfect occasion to take her to pick some out. She chose tootsie pops and mini gummy bears and had so much fun eating a few gummy bears each day, naming the colors and mentioning how cute and tiny they were. Girl after my own heart. I definitely think gummy bears in stockings is going to be a new Christmas tradition for our girls! Dustin and I watched our 3 favorite Christmas movies over the weekend after the girls had gone to bed (The Holiday, Home Alone and Elf) and spent Christmas Eve at my Aunt and Uncle's house, then hosted Christmas day.

On Monday the 26th my Mom and I went out for coffee and did our annual after-Christmas shopping and picked up a few things for next Christmas as well as some fun birthday gifts for Olivia. She doesn't turn 4 until May but I found an old fashioned paper doll kit and the sweetest tooth fairy book & pillow set so I scooped those up on sale. Shopping for little girls is so much fun, I have my eye on a Little House on the Prairie coloring book for her...one of my favorite books growing up.

When I got home, I got to work immediately taking down all our Christmas decor and though I planned to leave the tree up until the 31st, I had my Dad come over and haul it out a few days ago while Dustin was at work. It's amazing how much room you realize you have in your home when the tree is gone and all the decor is packed away. It felt so good to have a fresh, clean space and not be cleaning pine needles up for the millionth day in a row! I will miss the glow of the lights every night but the open space is so nice.

We are headed into the weekend with a fun date night on the agenda tonight and then ringing in the New Year at home tomorrow with the girls. I'm thinking some good Mexican food and homemade malts. Sunday is looking to be beautiful weather so we hope to get outside and enjoy some warmer temps and sunshine. We are just over 40 days from my due date and I am forever dreaming of meeting our new baby girl in 2017. Happy New Year, friends!! XO


parasol for the holidays

I have shared my love of Parasol products many times and the more we use them, the more I am convinced I'll never use another brand diaper or wipe again with my girls. 

If you haven't heard of Parasol, they are a modern diaper + wipe company whose diapers are luxuriously soft because they're made with a specially developed, ultra-soft topsheet layer that truly comforts your baby, and their innovative drylock technology offers excellent absorption without wasteful and uncomfortable bulk like many other "natural" diapers out there. It’s a thinner, softer diaper that not only performs better but which is made with carefully sourced baby-safe ingredients. Parasol diapers are super absorbent, hypoallergenic, latex-free, chlorine-free, fragrance-free and lotion free. They are printed in fun, modern designs using ink without lead or heavy metals. And I love that Parasol partners with independent artists to design the diapers!

And their wipes? Well, they not only smell amazing (think fresh cucumber + aloe) but are quilted to be comforting to even the most sensitive skin. Because they don't contain any harsh chemicals or fragrances like the majority of wipes on the market, you can use them everywhere + for everyone in your family. They come in standard size packs of 72 and also sleek travel packs of 20. I always keep them handy in my diaper bag, car, our bathrooms and nursery. Hands, faces, bodies, carts, counters, you name it and we use them.

Parasol is offering lots of fun holiday bundles this Christmas for gifting, and it's a great time to try their products if you've been curious to see what they're like but haven't yet taken the leap. The Holiday Cheer Box is perfect for giving Parasol products a try to see if they're a good fit for your family and little ones. The Holiday Cheer Box comes with two diaper packs, two full size wipes, two travel packs of wipes and a surprise gift -- a $62 value for only $30.

A Parasol Gift Subscription also makes a wonderful + practical gift -- especially for new & expectant moms. With the gift subscription, you can choose between gifting a 1 month, 3 month, 6 month or 12 month subscription. And if you've tried their products in the past and loved them as much as we do, a diaper and wipes subscription for yourself is another option. I love the flexibility with changing sizes, selecting patterns, managing the frequency of your deliveries and more. Parasol makes it so easy for us moms, with so many options for customizing a subscription to fit the ever changing needs of your family perfectly and being able to do it all with a few clicks from the comfort of our own home. Mom win.

So if you're still trying to figure out what to put under the tree this year, or what to give your girlfriends and family with little ones, hopefully that gives you a few ideas! They are the only diaper Poppy wears and I'm so excited to put our baby girl in Parasol once she is born! Hope you're all having a wonderful week!! XO


life lately

We have been enjoying a slow December so far, with some of our favorite holiday traditions and starting some new ones too. The girls are at such fun ages right now (Olivia is 3.5 and Poppy is 15 months) and I am trying to soak it all in before most everything changes come February. We are all so excited to meet our sweet little babe, but I am also being intentional about enjoying time spent with my two little girls before we add another, and making memories as a family of four this season. 

At the very end of November we went to our favorite local tree farm and cut down our Christmas tree. I grew up always having an artificial one but it was important to me and Dustin that we go to a little extra work and get a real one each year, especially when our girls are young. The smell + sight of it + experience of choosing it together, sawing it and hauling it home is so special to us. This was the first year Olivia really got into the decorating part of it, and every day she tells me "Mama, you helped me put the ornaments on the tree!" (Not the other way around...lol) 

She always points out her favorite (a honey bear bottle) and today rearranged a few and when I noticed I said, "Oh, it looks like the stork moved from one side of the tree to the other" and her response was, "Yeah, I put the stork by Wendell the narwhal so they could be friends." (We have a narwhal ornament she named Wendell after one of her favorite books). Um, seriously?! Definitely what Christmas is all about. These precious memories and seeing everything -- even tree decorations -- through her sweet little eyes.

We have also been doing a few simple Christmas crafts (drying orange slices for ornaments + garlands is definitely a new tradition added to our list), baking together (peanut butter blossoms are my absolute favorite) and watching sheets of snow fall and fall and cover everything in sight. We haven't gotten out yet to play in it, since it's been quite cold, but the snow right now is so light and fluffy. Snow angels + a snowman are definitely on our agenda this week!

We have also been watching lots of movies, making popcorn and malts and reading lots of favorite winter books and doing puzzles. Olivia had never seen Frozen before (probably the only 3 year old ever) but it happened to be on ABC last night and I was excited to see if she enjoyed it. Dustin put Poppy to bed and the two of us curled up on the couch watching it. She held my hand or laid her head on my chest for most of the movie and I just never want to forget those moments together, still and silent, snuggled up with my first baby girl. It really doesn't get much better than that.

We are also redoing our master bedroom, which of course I decided was a top priority at the beginning of my 3rd trimester. Dustin and my Dad got to work right away painting two weeks ago and our new bed + mattress arrived this past weekend. I have a few pieces of art I'm debating about hanging in there and still on the search for the perfect area rug & light fixture but have a few in mind. We have a ceiling fan now and while its been nice, I am looking forward to putting up something with a bit more rustic charm. It's been fun to see the transformation little by little and has definitely been much less work than our kitchen reno this summer! ;)

On cold days when Olivia doesn't have preschool, we tend to sleep in and enjoy a long slow breakfast and then the girls love taking a morning bath. Today they spent over an hour in the tub; I love letting them pick a handful of toys and then I throw in a few empty shampoo or bubble bath bottles they can fill and squirt with, some bubble wands and of course lots of bubbles. It's the perfect way to spend those cold mornings having fun indoors. 

I have my 32 week OB appointment this week and Olivia has her holiday dance recital, which she is so excited for. We are also picking up a custom barn door this week that was made for our living room that I can't wait to hang up & share!! Less than two months until my due date and all that's left to get is a crib! Hope you are all having a wonderful week and memorable December!! XO


hot cocoa bar

Every December my best friend and I host a girls night and Christmas cookie swap (something I look forward to all season long!) and I thought this year it would be so much fun to incorporate a hot cocoa bar! Christmas cookies and hot cocoa are pretty much a match made in heaven, and putting this together was so much fun. For our cookie swap, we ask everyone to bring 1-2 dozen of their favorite homemade Christmas cookies and then we serve a light dinner and let everyone enjoy dessert afterward. When we've all had our fill of cookies, everyone gets a brown kraft paper box to pack with an assortment of all the extra cookies to bring home.

If you are looking for something fun and easy to add to your holiday entertaining this year, a hot cocoa bar is definitely the way to go. All you need is your favorite cocoa, a way to serve it (I use this), mugs for your guests and your favorite cocoa toppings! We have this mug rack filled with mismatched mugs and I think it's so much fun to set it out and let each of my girlfriends choose their favorite mug, rather than using disposable cups. It makes it extra cozy to sip and enjoy!

Go-to cocoa toppings in our home have always been fresh whipped cream, mini marshmallows and peppermint bark, but I also included a few fun extras -- dark chocolate truffles that melt and give your cocoa the silkiest dark flavor (our favorite here), crushed heath bars, peppermint stir sticks and fudge pirouette cookies. Dustin kept trying to convince me to add chopped Andes mints and I thought mini caramel bits that you use for baking or warm caramel sauce would be fun. I've also seen sea salt, shredded coconut and white chocolate chips as toppings. 

The best part of hosting a hot cocoa bar is you can tailor it to your tastes and those of your guests; you can keep it really simple or go over the top with options. I used these wooden scoops and a mix of vintage icecream bowls and mugs to hold the toppings on a small table in our kitchen. Bringing in a little greenery, cut logs and a fun framed chalkboard print + gold garland finished it off!

I hope this gives you some inspiration for the holiday season ahead! Even if you aren't entertaining, having a hot cocoa bar set up at home for your family and little ones is a fun way to make the season extra special. Olivia loves snuggling on the couch between Dustin and me after Poppy has gone to bed and sharing a cup of cocoa with us. Having one set up in our kitchen this time of year will definitely become a new tradition!! XO


5x5 Holiday Gift Guide | Gifts for Kids

To round out the 5th and final Holiday Gift Guide of the year, I'm sharing all about my Top 5 favorite gifts for little kids, including our go-to bath products, some favorite toys to inspire and encourage imagination and a new tradition we started with Olivia this year that our whole family loves.

For the first 4 posts in the series, follow the links below:

I shared about this a few weeks ago on instagram @blessednestblog and it has quickly become a favorite new tradition in our home. The Giving Manger is an interactive Christmas tradition that focuses on giving + serving others, teaching our children (and reminding ourselves) about the true meaning of Christmas and allowing us to show Christ's love tangibly, even in small and simple ways. Each Giving Manger boxed set comes with a beautiful book to explain the idea behind the tradition, a wooden manger, straw to fill it with when acts of service are completed, and a baby Jesus for your child to lay in the filled manger on Christmas morning. It makes an absolutely beautiful gift for your own children and also for dear friends and their families. Hearing all the ideas that Olivia comes up with on how to serve and bless others has been my favorite part. She is so creative and has such a giving heart, the memories we've made have been priceless.

two | modern dollhouse from manzanita kids

I've shared many many times how much we love wooden toys in our home. They really are the only toys we own or that I will invest in because of how beautiful they are and how well they hold up through years of play. I love that they encourage imagination in my girls -- allowing them to be creative and think in new ways, instead of just pushing buttons on a toy that makes loud noises and needs new batteries every week. One of our newest favorite pieces is Olivia's modular treehouse dollhouse from Manzanita Kids. I shared about this shop a few weeks ago on instagram here (we love their deluxe shapes puzzle and rattles too...perfect for little ones) and we have been loving their products since they arrived. Olivia has a basket of Maileg mice and tiny furniture that she loves using with her treehouse dollhouse and I love that it can be disassembled and lay flat for easy storage. Because it's modular, it can be set up in different ways too! It's a great option if you're looking for a dollhouse for your child that isn't big or bulky. I love that it has a clean, minimal look and was made by hand!

three | a wooden kitchen with accessories

A few years ago we gave Olivia this vintage kitchen and it is by far our most played-with toy in the entire house. Poppy has loved it since she could pull up to stand and reach all the wooden food on it. She loves opening the doors, rearranging everything and especially loves playing with the toaster we have. Olivia is always cooking or baking with it and each year we love to add a few new accessories to go with it. For a look at lots of our favorite wooden food, you can find my post here. A few months ago I picked up this cake and cookie set and the girls have this icecream shop set that they just adore. This wooden icecream set also looks like so much fun and I love this darling breakfast set.

four | puzzles

Both Olivia and Penelope love puzzles. There are so many beautiful ones available and I can't ever resist a pretty puzzle. I love that I can stack them under our coffee table or in our end tables and they're always ready to pull out and play with. A few favorites of ours are here: petit collage forest friends / wooden alphabet puzzle / modern birds puzzle / custom name puzzle {save 10% using BLESSEDNEST10 at checkout} and this up to the moon one, which looks so cute and right up Olivia's alley!

five | tubby todd bath products

We love our bubble baths around here. So much so that if Penelope hears me running water in the tub (even if it's just me getting a shower started), she will be there in half a second trying to climb in. The girls have always loved bath time and I love finding high quality products I can use to make bath time more fun (and smell delicious). We have been fans of Tubby Todd since Olivia was a baby (their everyday lotion is so good I use it on myself!!) and they recently released a festive holiday bundle of their seasonal scented hair + body wash & lotion (mandarin & cranberry) and then a warm gingerbread vanilla bubble bath. These are the perfect stocking stuffers for your little ones and make baths this time of year extra fun! To win your own holiday bundle from Tubby Todd, find me on instagram @blessednestblog and enter today's giveaway {ends Tuesday December 13, 2016}.

I hope my 5x5 Holiday Gift Guide series gave you some new ideas for the loved ones on your list, or maybe some things you'd like to add to your own! Happy Wednesday!! XO


minted for the holidays

Minted is my go-to brand for beautiful stationary & modern holiday cards and we have been creating our Christmas cards with them for as long as I can remember, so I'm extra excited to share the cards I designed this year that we'll be sending out to our friends & family near and far. We love Minted for their support of independent artists, their wide range of unique designs for all styles & occasions and most importantly, their high quality products time and time again. Since Olivia was born in 2013 we have ordered the girls' birthday invitations through Minted and will of course be creating birth announcements in February once our newest little lady arrives! Speaking of which, how have 31 weeks of my 3rd pregnancy already come and gone?!

If you haven't yet ordered your holiday cards and are looking for some inspiration, below are my Top 5 picks for this year's designs, including the design we selected as ours!
one | two | three | four | five

I always love to create cards with multiple photos, especially for family and friends who haven't seen many recent pictures of our girls. I save all our Christmas cards each year and love looking back at the photo collages that captured their ages & personalities and the season we were in as a family. Joy has been a word that really described so many parts of our year -- especially the joy in finding out we were expecting our third little girl. That was definitely one of the highlights of 2016 for us, so I settled on the Encircling Joy cards {3} and loved how many options there were for color themes and personalization.

Another feature I was looking for in our Minted cards this year was being able to create a backer with info about our year and the Encircling Joy cards had a fun, modern "Year in Review" design that was so easy to personalize. I love when we receive cards that have a family's top moments and special memories from the year so to be able to incorporate a similar feature into ours was so much fun. 

Last but not least -- and I know I've shared this before -- but I am obsessed with Minted's recipient addressing service. It's free of charge and something I always take advantage of every time I order. All you have to do is input all the addresses of your recipients into an online address book on their website. This took me about 5 minutes total -- I'm a much quicker typer than writer! Then you can save the address book for all your orders in the future and it's there every time you log in to your account. After designing your cards, there is a spot to select "Free Recipient Addressing" right before placing your order. You are then able to go through your Minted address book and select all the people you want addressed on your envelopes. The addressing is absolutely beautiful, as it pairs with the design of your cards. But what I love most? When my cards arrive, all I have to do is put a stamp on them and send them on their way! Major mom time saver!

Do you send out holiday cards each year?! It's one of our favorite traditions, and I especially love opening the mailbox and finding cards from our loved ones that I can place on our fridge all season long! Hope you're having a wonderful week! If you've never tried Minted before, you can save 20% on your holiday card order using the code NCJOY {expires 12/12}. XO!


5x5 Holiday Gift Guide | Gifts for Babes

Happy December!! How are we already 5 days in to the final month of the year?! I am convinced that every month flies by faster than the previous one and before we know it, February will be here and we'll be welcoming our 3rd little girl! With Christmas less than 3 weeks away, I have two more posts in my 5x5 Holiday Gift Guide series, including Gifts for Babies today and Gifts for Kids on Wednesday.

For the first 3 posts in the series, follow the links below:

Of course as a Mama, shopping for babies and kids is my absolute favorite. We aim to keep gifts pretty minimal around here for our girls and instead try to provide a variety of experiences throughout the season that teach them why we celebrate Christmas and who it's about. A few of our favorite traditions are going to meet Santa's reindeer, baking cookies to give to friends and neighbors, watching Christmas movies, cutting down and decorating our tree together, reading all our favorite festive books, hosting friends and family and more. But I love for each girl to have a few simple gifts to open and below are my Top 5 Gift Picks for the Babes in your life!

one | wooden toys from smiling tree toys

We love wooden toys in our home (if you haven't already noticed from my instagram) and Smiling Tree Toys is a family run business based out of rural Minnesota that makes beautiful wooden toys of all types, including personalized teethers, the most darling name puzzles (above), shape sorters, vehicles, blocks and more. I love the smiling moon balancer for Olivia (above), she has so much fun stacking the pieces up and watching them tumble. Poppy is so into puzzles right now at 14.5 months, so we got her a wooden name puzzle, plus it's a great way for kids to learn their letters. Enter BLESSEDNEST10 for 10% off your total purchase at Smiling Tree Toys today through Sunday December 11.

two | cuddle + kind dolls

With little girls in our house, there is no such thing as too many dolls. I love finding unique, handmade dolls that each hold special meaning and will be cherished by not only our daughters but hopefully their daughters some day as well. But what's really special about Cuddle + Kind dolls is that each doll you buy provides 10 meals for children in need. Cuddle + Kind was started by a family of 5 on a mission to stop hunger in its tracks. All the Cuddle + Kind dolls are handmade by artisans in Peru (using the softest, cozy cotton!), which provides these women and their families with sustainable, fair trade income. The dolls come in two different sizes and a handful of designs for both boys, girls and gender neutral gifts. Olivia chose Chloe the Bunny a few weeks ago (read: the most pink doll they offer...) but doesn't know it is sitting in my closet wrapped up to go under our tree! I picked out Aspen the Penguin for Penelope but Olivia quickly renamed her "Poppy the Penguin"...hmm wonder where she came up with that ;) Each Cuddle + Kind doll is an investment in not only an heirloom piece for your child that makes a beautiful gift this season, but also in another child in their fight against hunger. When giving to your child also means giving to another one, I am all for it!

three | books

Of course books are always at the top of my list for gift-buying, we love children's books so much and have wall mounted bookshelves in both the girls' rooms as well as our playroom downstairs. We love to give the girls a mix of Christmas books and regular ones and books are always the gift I suggest when friends and family ask what they can give the girls. A few favorites at Christmastime for us have been The Nutcracker (above), The Twelve Days of Christmas (such beautiful illustrations!) and The Christmas Quiet Book. For non-holiday favorites, you can find lots of ideas on my Lit List page.

four | bibs

I love giving Poppy something that is practical but still fun and it seems we always need more bibs for mealtime in our home. They make a darling gift rolled up and tied with ribbon, fit perfectly in a stocking and there are so many options available! We love these aden and anais bibs, these little unicorn bibs and these bibs by petite pehr. Wash after wash, they all hold up so well and I always keep them handy, hanging on the back of our highchair, in the car, my diaper bag and more!

five | pajamas

Cozy pajamas make a great gift to open on Christmas morning and wear all winter long and are perfect for all ages. I love finding coordinating pairs for the girls. I love these heart of gold ones and this constellations set

What is your go-to gift for babies and little ones?! Watch for the last post in my 5x5 Holiday Gift Guide series coming on Wednesday and more about our hot cocoa bar coming soon too! Hope your week is off to a wonderful start!!


5x5 Holiday Gift Guide | Gifts for Gals

If you've been following along lately, you've seen two posts as part of my 5x5 Holiday Gift Guide and today I'm so excited to share my Top 5 gifts for the gals in your life, including Moms, sisters, aunts and dear friends. These are all gifts I would not only love to receive as a Mom of 3 but have so much fun giving, because they are unique but useful and fun!

Find the 5x5 Guide for Guys here | Find the 5x5 Guide for Hosts here

I'm not sure there is anything more special to me than receiving jewelry that symbolizes my three daughters or being a Mama. Of all the jewelry I own, those pieces are the ones I wear with the most joy because they represent who I love most and my life purpose. My go-to shop for custom jewelry is Made by Mary, run by Mary Moody, Mama of 2 boys, and based out of Utah. Launched in 2013, Made by Mary started when Mary discovered a desire to design & create handmade jewelry with heartfelt meaning. She offers countless pieces for every style and so many options for personalization. I love her skinny bar bracelets (perfect for a child's name, nickname or birthdate), the sleek bar necklaces (beautiful with a child's birthdate or wedding date in roman numerals) and her disc necklaces for initials of multiple children. Jewelry is something I rarely buy for myself but that holds so much meaning to me, so it makes a perfect gift for any Mom or a dear friend. Enter BLESSEDNEST10 at checkout for 10% off your Made by Mary purchase today through December 6.

I was introduced to these delicious granola bars when I was pregnant with Poppy and oh my goodness, they are still my favorite snack whether I'm nursing or not. Oatmama was started by two dear friends, Kristy and Eliza, and specializes in handmade small batch lactation granola bars in the yummiest flavors. All their bars come individually packaged, perfect for throwing in your hospital or diaper bag, purse, car and more. My favorite flavors are chocolate almond coconut and peanut butter chocolate chip. You can shop each flavor in packs of 7, 14 or 40 bars and they also offer a 10 pack sampler so you can try multiple varieties at once. They are the perfect gift to give a new or expectant Mom, because they're not only practical but delicious! Enter BLESSEDNEST15 at checkout for 15% off your Oat Mama purchase today through Sunday December 4.

One of the best decisions I've made as a Mom is to have diapers delivered to my door. It is so convenient and makes the transition to motherhood much smoother, because it takes one thing you have to do -- buy diapers -- totally off your to-do list. And let's get real, hauling big boxes of diapers while I've got two kids in my cart and my hands full...totally not practical. Our favorite company for diaper and wipe subscriptions is Parasol Co. Their diapers are fluffy and so soft, eco-friendly and they come in fun, hand painted modern patterns that you don't even feel like you need to cover up because they're so cute. Their wipes are the closest thing I'll get to a day at the spa because they smell so fresh and can be used on faces, hands and everywhere else in addition to your baby's bum. We've been using them for almost 6 months now and couldn't be happier. If you have a best friend with a new baby or expecting one, a diaper and wipes gift subscription would be a gift that rocks her world this Christmas. Parasol's Holiday Cheer Box comes with 2 packs of diapers, 2 full size packs of wipes & 2 travel packs of wipes and 1 surprise gift. Parasol Co. also recently released a gorgeous diaper tote bag...another perfect gift for a new mama! Enter BLESSEDNEST at checkout for 20% off your first subscription.

four | a native wilds nest

One of my favorite products since having Penelope has been a Native Wilds Nest. Made of the softest (seriously, so so cozy) eco-friendly fabric sourced from sustainably grown Eucalyptus trees, the Nest is a motherhood game changer -- making it the perfect gift for new or expectant mamas (or to add to your own wishlist). It functions as a nursing cover, carseat cover, cart cover and more. It can also be worn as a scarf when not in use. I love the stretch it has without stretching out as its used, something I've run in to with every other nursing cover I've tried. Each Nest is US-made and designed without a tapered end for flexible coverage options; it also has a built in pocket to store essentials like keys, pacifiers and more. In addition to being ultra-soft, it's breathable, naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic. It regulates temperature, wicks moisture and protects your little one from the sun's UV rays. If that isn't enough to convince you, Native Wild Nests come in a handful of modern, stylish patterns and shipping is free. Our favorite pattern is the Lyla Nest in black and cream stripe but I also absolutely love the Indy NestEnter BLESSEDNEST20 at checkout for 20% off your Native Wilds purchase today through Tuesday December 6.

five | a book or journal

I recently came across a book in a tiny boutique called the 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration. As soon as I saw the word "lists" in the title, I was curious (because I love making lists!) and after flipping through it, I knew it would be a perfect gift for some of my girlfriends that love to (a) make lists like me, (b) enjoy journaling but (c) don't have hours and hours to sit and write long posts or do it daily. There are so many fun journaling books available that make a fun and thoughtful gift and encourage a little alone time to sit and write creatively, and pick up right where you left off as you're able. A few other favorites of mine are Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal, Start Where You Are, One Line A Day and Mom's One Line A Day, and for us sentimental Mamas, Letters to my Baby.

Stay tuned for next week's final two gift guides coming out -- all about babies & kiddos! 
Happy shopping!!


5x5 Holiday Gift Guide | Gifts for the Hostess with the Mostest

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and relaxing holiday weekend! We had a small gathering in our home on Thursday, stayed up late playing games after the girls went to bed (a favorite tradition of mine) and enjoyed the delicious leftovers all weekend! Dustin and I did some Christmas shopping on Friday and then on Saturday we went to our local tree farm with the girls, took a horse drawn wagon ride and cut down our tree. We spent the rest of the weekend decking the halls and watching lots of movies in pajamas. I also decided I wanted to redo our master bedroom before baby girl arrives (something about pregnancy that always has me finding projects...) so my Dad and Dustin painted that this weekend and we picked out a new bed, bedding and curtains. Can't wait to share more of that soon!

Last week I launched my 5x5 Holiday Gift Guide, where I'll be sharing my Top 5 favorite gifts in 5 different categories. I started off by featuring my 5 favorite picks for the men in your life, because let's be honest, they are the hardest to shop for, am I right?! You can find that post here

To kick off the week I'm so excited to share my Top 5 gifts for the "hostess with the mostest," a phrase I grew up always hearing my Mom and Grandma use and just adore. I have the opportunity to host a few different events this season, including an annual girls night + Christmas Cookie swap alongside my best friend, as well as our marriage small group in our home each month and of course, big and small gatherings with friends and family to celebrate the season. We'll also be going to a handful of homes over the coming weeks and I love having a few simple gift ideas that any host would love.

There is something so cozy & comforting to me about an oversized mug. Maybe its the endless possibilities of how it can be used -- coffee or tea in the morning, your favorite cereal for breakfast, a big bowl of chili on a cold winter night, icecream (for those of us that could eat it seven days a week...), and hot cocoa of course. I love giving mugs as hostess gifts because they're versatile, inexpensive and you can find them just about everywhere to fit anyone's style. Even if you've never been to someone's home before or don't know a host that well, you have so many neutral options and who could turn down a beautiful mug?! You can pair it with a tin of cocoa, bag of coffee beans, a favorite seasonal treat and more. My go-to mugs are from Sir | Madam, sold online and locally in a lot of my favorite boutiques. They are easily recognized for their classic black and white color scheme and large illustrated word that circles around it. I love them for all the uses listed above and more and they are gorgeous sitting out on open shelves in the kitchen when not in use!

two | a letter folk co board

I always think the best gifts to give are the ones you'd most love to receive, and our Letterfolk Co. Boards are some of my very favorite pieces in our entire home. Offered in a handful of different sizes (The Poet pictured below), these US-made felt letter boards allow you to share all your favorite quotes, lyrics, scripture, reminders, menus and more. They make great photography props too and most definitely a beautiful, memorable gift that you might just want to keep for yourself...Not to mention a fun way to leave surprise love notes!

three | beautiful dishtowels

I love dishtowels. I use them everyday and between our fridge, oven, dishwasher and farmhouse sink, I have about 4 hanging in our kitchen at any given moment. A beautiful dishtowel or dishtowel set makes a lovely gift that is equally practical, perfect for a host gift, some even under $10. You can find them online and in many small boutiques. If I ever come across one I love, I buy a few and save them, roll them up and tie them with brown twine and I've got simple but thoughtful gifts ready to go! I love this set of three in seasonal colors (without being too red and green) and this good day dishtowel set.

four | a market pad

We love all things Rifle Paper Co. and this magnetic market list notepad is one of my favorite things on our fridge -- so handy for jotting down groceries as we run out of things so I don't forget what I need the next time I'm at the store, but still pretty enough I don't mind looking at it every day! I also love this to-do list notepad, this neutral market list and this bright one. And if you're as big of a fan of RPC products as I am, now is the time to stock up because everything (including their amazing art prints!!) is up to 30% off online through today only (no code needed).

five | edible gifts

One of my favorite gifts to give a host when I'm headed to a holiday get together is something edible!  Whether it's something they can put out that evening for the guests they're hosting or a treat for them to enjoy later, who doesn't love yummy food?! Plus the options are pretty much endless! One of our favorite brands, Pipsnacks, makes delicious mini popcorn (fittingly called pipcorn), perfect for adults and kids alike for a fun and unique host gift. We love their Rosemary Pipcorn and their Kettle Pipcorn (my favorite!!), but they also offer Sea Salt and Truffle flavors. Of course, everything is cuter when it's mini and around our home we love the Mini Snack Packs, available in all 4 flavors in packs of 16. Popcorn is one of Olivia's favorite treats and these are the perfect size for her. I love throwing them in my diaper bag, and if I'm going to a party (especially one that will have kids at it), bringing a few of these in a gift bag along with some pipcorn kernels they can pop themselves is another great gift. The best part? Everything from Pipsnacks is 50% off today for Cyber Monday and they are offering $5 flat rate shipping anywhere in the US. This is the perfect time to take advantage of an incredible deal if you've been wanting to try it! 

Hope that gives you a few new ideas if you're on the hunt for hostess gifts!! Stay tuned for my 3rd gift guide coming up later this week for all the gals in your life, including us Mamas!! XO


5x5 Holiday Gift Guide | Gifts for Guys

Happy Wednesday! I am so excited to be launching a one of a kind gift guide this holiday season to share my very favorite products by category to make shopping simple & fun. Over the coming weeks I'll be featuring 5 Gift Guides by category, each with my Top 5 Favorite products. All of these products are either things our family uses & loves or ones that I have on my own wishlist this Christmas! I find so many gift guides to be overwhelming because of the endless options and wanted to launch a unique format that gives all of you a handful of tried and true ideas for each of the loved ones on your list.

First up: Gifts for Guys. 

Finding unique but useful gifts for Dustin and my Dad seems to be the most challenging part of my shopping each year. Maybe because when I ask Dustin what he wants, he never comes up with anything...he is a contractor by trade so he owns every tool you can think of. He's the least picky person ever -- which I actually think makes it harder to shop -- because he will appreciate anything I get him, but then I'm overwhelmed with options. So to kick off my 5x5 Holiday Gift Guide, here are my Top 5 picks for the men in your life.

This Christmas Eve will mark 10 years since Dustin and I met. Yes, we met on Christmas Eve! And I was only 16 years old then...wow how things have changed! For such a special occasion, I wanted to give Dustin a Christmas gift that he could not only use on a daily basis, but one that would remind him of the journey we've been on together and how much he means to me. To be totally honest, I find 95% of wallets in stores to be so boring...they are all the same, mass produced and therefore lacking in character and quality. When I stumbled upon Red Leaf Leather, the handmade leather wallets immediately caught my eye; then having the option to personalize them?! Hands down, best gift ever. Each wallet is handmade in Salt Lake City, Utah by Kelsey Roberts. The leather is as soft as butter, and such high quality. Being able to include a special quote for him inside the wallet sealed the deal. A wallet is something every guy uses, and I love giving practical gifts that still hold sentimental value, so this was a total win. Now the hard part is waiting another month to give it to him! Enter BLESSEDNEST10 at checkout for 10% off your Red Leaf Leather purchase today through Thursday December 1.

Daniel Wellington watches are just so classy. They are thin, minimalistic and refined, making them perfect to pair with any + every outfit and style, even for guys that normally skip the watch altogether. Dustin wears his casually and equally as much when he's all dressed up (find his brown one here + his black one here). The leather bands add to the overall elegant look of the watch and with so many options for the face (including their new classic black collection below, my favorite!), you can be sure to find one that suits his needs. Enter BLESSEDNEST at checkout for 15% off your DW purchase today through January 15. 

three | bluetooth wireless earbuds from sudio sweden

Featuring cutting edge Bluetooth 4.1 technology, the Sudio Vasa Blå earbuds offer up to 8 hours of unlimited play-time. Offered in 4 colors (rose gold black, rose gold white, blue and pink), these are one of the gifts going under the tree for Dustin that I'm pretty sure I'm going to borrow for myself (and had to try out before I wrapped them...oops!) I love their modern look, outstanding sound quality and light weight design. Oh and anytime black and rose gold are paired together, sign me up. Enter ABLESSEDNEST at checkout for 15% off your Sudio Sweden purchase. No expiration.

four | handmade soap from mirasol farm

This may seem more like a gift for the women in your life but handmade soap actually makes a great stocking stuffer for your man. Our favorite soap company, Mirasol Farm Organics, offers a wide range of gender neutral and masculine scents and it's the only soap I buy for Dustin (and our whole family!), we love it so much! Their soap is vegan, organic and made with essential oils, plus lathers really well and they all smell amazing! His favorites are Rosemary Mint, Litsea & Avocado and Northern Lights, which is a nice woodsy scent perfect for Winter. They offer soap sampler packs where you can get a pack of 4 mini bars and can try a variety of scents. PS If you're in the market for your own soap, I can't get enough of the Lavender & Patchouli. The Lavender Oatmeal (yes, I'm obsessed with lavender!) is another favorite of mine for exfoliating.

five | a one of a kind bookmark

Dustin loves to read. He can be found reading a half dozen books at any given moment; he just finished Driven By Eternity and hasn't stopped talking about it since. A few weeks ago I asked him for a few ideas of small gifts he'd like and he mentioned he'd love a nice bookmark. I loved this idea and honestly had never thought of it before (probably because I barely have time to read...) but it makes a simple and inexpensive gift, an ideal stocking stuffer or even something you can have your kids help you with to make by hand. I love this classic leather bookmark, this bookmark that can be personalized (a name would be fun but I thought a favorite quote or lyric would be even better), this longitude latitude bookmark (another option for personalization), and this set of sprout bookmarks, which I love for marking multiple pages or sections. Olivia and I decided we would make him some by hand for Christmas, she loves crafts and I have loads of supplies on hand from my scrapbooking days (another pre-kid activity) so we'll see how they turn out!

What are you giving the main men in your life?! Hope this gives you a few new ideas if you're stuck like I tend to be! And Happy Thanksgiving Eve!! We are dreaming of our family recipe cranberry apple salad, Nana's stuffing and our favorite pumpkin pie! XO


our kitchen tour

I'm so excited to finally share our kitchen tour! We renovated June to August and it was a huge project. I found out I was pregnant the weekend after we started demo (which was an answer to prayer but also hilarious timing!) and Dustin did the majority of the renovation himself, being that he's a contractor and master licensed plumber. His buddies helped with sheetrock, electric and tile but he took on about 90% of the project, working nights and weekends, while I tried to keep two little girls occupied while feeling miserably nauseous 7 days a week in the hot summer heat. Ha! Sounds fun, doesn't it?! Sometimes I look back and still can't believe we made it through the summer, it was definitely a long one. But once we finished, I couldn't have imagined not doing the renovation and it turned out even more perfect than I envisioned it would.

As for our old kitchen, it wasn't terrible but certainly lacked in storage and function for our growing family. I had next to no cabinet space and everything was so brown...it was by far the darkest and oldest looking room in our home. We removed the soffit (which made such a difference in being able to take cabinets and tile all the way to the ceiling), completely took down the ceiling to replace all the old insulation (that was a mess...I remember coming downstairs and seeing Dustin standing in insulation up to his waist) and took all the walls down to studs, reinsulated and put up new sheetrock. 

The final steps were all new custom cabinets, new appliances, new flooring, a new white window and door. Paint, white subway tile backsplash with dark gray grout, white quartz counters, a white farmhouse sink, the faucet of my dreams (seriously) and adding shiplap to our accent wall (one of my favorite parts)! We hung live edge open shelving above the dishwasher (open shelves are so much fun) and then added additional counter space where our old oven used to be mounted into the wall (our range and oven were separate before). When all was said and done, it was a big undertaking but such an amazing transformation. I still can't believe my dream kitchen exists in our house! This is our first home and we've taken on 5 major renovations over the past 4 years (and 3 pregnancies!) since we bough it, and the kitchen was the final piece of the puzzle to really transform our house into a home and a space we love to be as a family. Enjoy!

Sources are linked at the bottom of the post. 

Sources: Cabinets / Drawer + Door Pulls / Wall Color: Natural Gray by Behr / Ocean Foam Silestone Quartz Counters / Farmhouse Sink / Faucet / Fridge / Combination Oven + Range / Microwave Oven / Dishwasher / Subway Tile Backsplash / Grout in Natural Gray / Open Shelving Brackets / 24x30 Come Thou Fount Canvas c/o Lindsay Letters / Love Letter Canvases c/o Sugarboo Designs / Gather Sign c/o Feather and Birch / Light fixture above sink from local lighting shop, 2014 / Shiplap (painted with Behr Ultra Pure White) + live edge lumber for floating shelves from local lumberyard

Have you done any renovations in your home?! By now I feel like we could do them in our sleep! As much work as they can be, seeing the transformation from start to finish is one of my favorite parts and it's always worth the hard work in the end. Realizing we lived the first 3 years in our home without it (and without a dishwasher and hardly any storage!) really makes us appreciate every part of it! Hope you're having a great week so far! Watch for the first of my 5 holiday gift guides, hitting the blog tomorrow morning! XO

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