gallery wall with minted

In January Dustin and I decided together we would tackle one DIY project per month for all of 2016. It's been so much fun to start knocking out all the projects I've had on my "list" for months now. In January we completed an open shelving project in our dining room and in February we built a rustic kitchen island. In the end of March we put together a gallery wall in our living room + dining room space and I had the opportunity to partner with Minted to add a few favorite prints to it. 

For years I've loved Minted for their stationary -- holiday cards, birth announcements, party invitations and more. It wasn't until recently that I found out they sell beautiful fine art prints of all different styles and sizes. Minted believes that great design lives & thrives in the hands of independent artists and allows consumers to discover creative talent through the products they sell. Minted's community of independent artists and designers are located in 48 states and 43 countries. They are illustrators and textile designs, painters and packaging designers, marketers and even stay-at-home Moms! Some have design degrees and others are participating in Minted competitions to learn design for the first time. I believe one of the reasons their products are so incredible is because each and every one is designed by an independent artist! You get a little bit of everything, making Minted the perfect one-stop-shop for everybody.

Below is some inspiration for Spring & Summer gallery walls with my favorite art prints from Minted. They have me dreaming of warm weather & long days at the beach. Not that I need a vacation or anything...
pining for pineapple / sprayhigh drama 
savannah lands / field of lace 
white hot / timeless II

All of Minted's art prints are offered in a wide range of sizes, most as small as 5x7'' up to 30x40'' and larger, so whether you want to add some new art to an extra small space or fill a whole wall, you can find prints that you can mix and match to create a wonderful gallery. I love combining square prints with rectangular ones because the size and shape contrast, especially when placed next to each other, is so visually appealing to the eye. They also are available framed or unframed, and as a busy Mama I love knowing I can order them with a frame and it will be delivered ready to hang...so much less work for me than going out to hunt for the perfect one.

And because you know I can never get enough hung up in our girls' rooms, perhaps my favorite category of Minted's fine art prints is their wide selection of prints for nurseries and children. I would probably buy them all if I had more wall space but we're quickly running out around here!! These prints would be lovely in any child's bedroom or perfect to finish out a playroom. Below are a few favorites for your little ones. Many can be personalized with your child's name, initials, birth stats & more. Custom pieces make such beautiful gifts and keepsakes. 

Which one is your favorite?! I have a hard time making decisions when it comes to wall art so needless to say, we have a lot of it! Hope this gives you some inspiration to update your walls this Spring!! XO


introducing solids + the basics of homemade baby food

With both girls, we introduced solids around 6 months of age. At that point they were both showing interest in what we were eating, able to hold their head up and sit independently. For Olivia, I made all my own baby food and with Penelope we have been doing a combination of homemade purees + baby led weaning {often referred to as BLW...this basically just means you skip purees and offer table food}. Whatever methods you decide to use, here are the basics of introducing solids and homemade baby food. The methods are super simple, the tools you need are minimal and bonus: everything can be done with a toddler at your feet. 

From 6-7 months we really only offered Poppy purees,  I began with super smooth ones & eventually moved to textured. Once she reached 7 months, I started offering everyday foods we always have on hand in small pieces for her to learn to chew and swallow. A few examples of foods that are great for this {soft and easy to mash even without teeth and swallow smoothly without choking risk} when cut into very tiny pieces are avocado, banana, black or pinto beans {cut in half}, strawberries, rice puffs, and any soft fruit or vegetable.

We also skipped rice cereal altogether and instead found alternative "first food" options with both girls that are much healthier and nutritionally sound. My aunt is a Registered Dietician with over 25 years of experience in her field, so when Olivia was a baby I was able to sit down with her and spend a lot of time learning about healthy foods for babies and their development, foods that offer the most complete nutrition and satisfying well-rounded options.

Our top 3 recommended first foods:
Avocado || Sweet Potato || Cooked Egg Yolk 

I started Olivia on sweet potatoes. I simply peeled and cubed them, steamed them and then using a food processor, pureed them until smooth. We often use coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil to smooth out purees while blending. I started Penelope on avocado, simply taking a ripe one, cutting it in half and using a fork to mash it. She began eating about 1/4 avocado at a time and I just stored the rest in fridge until I needed it. After about a week, I added in cooked egg yolk with  her avocado, but it could really be mixed into any food. To prepare, simply hard boil eggs. Once cooled, remove the whites and store cooked yolks in glass container in fridge for up to 5 days. Mix in with your baby's meals as desired; Poppy eats about one egg yolk per day.

It is recommended to only introduce new foods every 2-3 days in the event of an allergy, it makes it easier to pinpoint which food may be causing a reaction. For the first few days I only gave each of them sweet potatoes and avocado, then after about a week I started introducing a new food every day or two. Now that Penelope is 7.5 months, she gets multiple new foods each day.

After you've introduced their first foods, you can move on to other complex carbohydrates {essentially vegetables}, protein {meats, beans + lentils}, fruits and of course, healthy fats. A well-balanced diet can be accomplished with the rule of thirds: 1/3 of daily calories (or 1/3 of meals) should be complex carbohydrates, 1/3 should be protein and 1/3 should be healthy fats.

Here are some ideas:

|| complex carbohydrates ||
sweet potatoes / butternut squash / broccoli / cauliflower / green peas / green beans / bell peppers / eggplant / rainbow carrots / zucchini / summer squash / cauliflower / spinach / swiss chard / rainbow chard / kale / oats / quinoa / beets / peas

|| protein ||
cooked egg yolk / free range organic turkey + chicken / wild caught salmon / wild alaskan cod / grass fed beef / split red lentils / beans / quinoa 

|| fruits || 
avocado / banana / blueberries / strawberries / apples / pears / peaches / mangoes / raspberries / kiwi / pineapple

|| healthy fats ||
avocado / cooked egg yolk / wild caught salmon / unrefined coconut oil / extra virgin olive oil / avocado oil / any unrefined seed oil / nuts + nut butters {when age appropriate; recommended to avoid until 1 year}

To make your own baby food, you really only need a few basic items. It's way easier to do than most people think and you can get a ton of food made in one afternoon if you have everything on hand and a plan. I choose a "prep" day {usually a Sunday afternoon} where Dustin can be with the girls and I can spend a few hours making enough food for 1-2 months. I make it, freeze it in trays, then store it in labeled bags in our freezer in 1 oz portions and can take it out as I need it each day.

|| homemade baby food basics || 

stock pot with steamer / food processor {I have a 3-cup and a 9-cup size I use} / trays for freezing in individual portions {our favorite here} / thin jar spatula / binding agents {coconut oil, olive oil, chicken stock, etc} / your food

|| simple step by step guide ||

1. prepare food // this is super easy to do. whatever the food, prepare it as if you were going to eat it that day. for most vegetables -- steam them individually in a pot until tender; frozen food can be steamed directly out of the bag otherwise peel/cut/chop fresh food before steaming {steaming is better than boiling because it preserves more of the nutrients}; for certain vegetables {like rainbow carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, etc} I roast them on a flat sheet at 375-400 degrees with olive oil until tender.

2. steam or bake until tender // the goal is just to soften your food enough so that it can easily be blended in a food processor

3. puree in food processor // I do each food one at a time; while warm, add to food processor and while blending, stream in a binding agent. We use a lot of coconut oil here and I love the yummy flavor it adds to food in addition to how many health benefits it has. You can use olive oil, low sodium organic chicken broth or vegetable broth {I always buy organic since many non organic brands contain wheat}

4. fill trays + freeze // once smooth, pour into your food trays for freezing. I use a thin jar spatula to smooth out the top and then lay them flat in our freezer for 6-8 hours or overnight

5. remove from trays + organize // once hardened, I pop all the cubes out of the silicone trays and put them in to labeled freezer bags. Another reason I love the tovolo trays is because they are 1 oz portions and perfect squares, making it super easy to stack in bags.

6. defrost + feed // most mornings, I pull out the food I'll be feeding Poppy for the day, typically 2-3 oz of food per meal. I put it in ramekins or a bowl in our fridge to defrost through the day. To reheat, simply put in small saucepan until softened and warmed through or microwave. I add coconut oil before serving if I didn't use it in the blending process and my favorite spoons for feeding are here. Once my supply of a specific food gets low {sweet potatoes and green beans below}, I restock it. You can do it all in one day over the course of an afternoon or one food per day in 10-15 minutes.

I'll be doing another post soon with more tips on preparing meat for your baby as well as our favorite food combinations and recipes and feeding products. We also love pouches and I've found a lot of organic options that are low in sugar with loads of vegetables I don't always have on hand. Pouches are great for on the go, busy mornings and to complement your meals.

bananas / strawberries / black beans / vegetable bake with lentils

Below are a few books that have been extra helpful for me in this season of introducing solids:

If you have other questions about introducing solids or homemade baby food, please leave them below so I can be sure to answer them in my next post!! Have a great day!!


best of the nest | blabla kids

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Ours was spent almost exclusively outside & in the breeze + sunshine. I love this time of year so much, I could spent every waking hour outside...whether in our backyard, laying in the hammock, playing at the park, on a long walk. You name it. Fresh air does wonders for the soul!! 

Today as part of April's Creating a Dream Home & Nursery theme, I'm so excited to be sharing one of my all-time favorite companies since becoming a Mom, having little girls to shop for and nurseries to decorate, Blabla Kids

Created in 2001 by Susan Pritchett and Florence Wetterwald -- good friends with the same philosophy of life & beauty -- BlaBla specializes in beautiful hand knit dolls, decor, toys & more. Their gorgeous mobiles are just a dream and the pom pom one we have in Poppy's room is such a wonderful focal point.

While visiting Peru, Susan and Florence came across entire villages of expert knitters who had been keeping the tradition alive for generations...inspired by their talent and touched by their gentle spirit, they decided to start their own company of knitted products for children and BlaBla was born. They've now been collaborating with the same artisans for over a decade.

lilipop the frog / picchu the alpaca / suzette the fox

In addition to offering a wide range of mobiles, BlaBla Kids is most widely known for their knit dolls. Offered in three different sizes, handmade with the softest cotton in Peru and the loveliest color patterns and sweetest details, we absolutely love them all!
apple the apple / socks the fox / figaro the birdie

My six absolute favorites are shown here but with over 60 different knit dolls, you are sure to find one your child will love. They look beautiful sitting in a nursery, make a one of a kind gift and are the perfect toy for your little one to hold, snuggle and play with.

blue pretzel rattle / lime cat rattle / lilac geo rattle / lagoon dog rattle

BlaBla also offers rattles, finger puppets, play pads, knit pillows, blankets, crib sheets and more. Their color patterns are so serene and using the highest quality materials, they stand behind everything they make and offer incredible customer service, something that is so important to me in a company.

If you've fallen in love with BlaBla as much as we have and have your eye on a few favorite pieces for your own home or nursery, be sure to use the code BLESSEDNEST15 at checkout to receive 15% off your total purchase! Discount valid Monday April 18 through Saturday April 30.

And because Poppy loves her pom pom mobile so much, I've teamed up with BlaBla Kids to give away a $50 SHOP CREDIT to one of you to pick out something for your little one or a gift for a Mama to Be! Head over to my instagram @blessednestblog for all the giveaway details and to find out how to enter. For an extra entry, leave a comment below sharing your favorite product from BlaBla Kids.

Hope your week is off to a great start!! XO


easy breakfast ideas

Happy Friday! Earlier this week I asked you all what you wanted to see more of on the blog this Spring & Summer and one idea I loved was a request for easy breakfast ideas! We love breakfast around here and love to keep it super simple but filling and healthy. Below are a few ideas for you, all of which Olivia (3) loves and can easily eat. Penelope (7 months) mostly just eats avocado mixed with cooked egg yolk and some banana pieces for breakfast but before we know it she'll be reaching for what we're eating.

We of course love the basics: eggs fried, scrambled, over easy & omelettes with cheese and veggies. We almost always have fruit of some sort and a few times a week, yogurt and granola. 

In addition to eggs, we love toast and it's so quick & easy, plus I love how many different ways you can serve it. I cut it into fun shapes with mini cookie cutters if I'm feeling especially ambitious {aka when I've gotten a lot of sleep}. We love bear toast {honey peanut butter, bananas and blueberries} and strawberry toast {crunchy peanut butter with thinly sliced strawberries on top}. Sometimes I also make avocado toast {bread toasted, buttered and mashed avocado on top and then cut into slices almost like the french toast sticks I ate as a kid so they're easy to eat} because Olivia loves avocados. And good ol' toast with butter or your favorite peanut butter, almond butter or sunflower butter is always a hit around here. There is just something so yummy and comforting about toast, am I right?!

For special occasions or when I have a solid block of time during nap time and everything on hand, I love making homemade strawberry pop tarts. You can make them regular sized or mini {our favorite} and in different shapes for holidays. We made heart shaped ones for Valentine's day and you can find the full recipe here.

We also make a lot of sweet potato hashes. I first started making them last year when I did the Whole30. They're so easy & filling, plus I get a ton of veggies in the morning and have energy to get make it to nap time! I spend some time prepping my ingredients at the beginning of the week so they're set to go and if I've done this, I can whip up a hash for Olivia and me in about 10 minutes.

Here's how:
Peel and cube sweet potatoes, steam until fork tender, let cool and store in glass container in fridge.

Choose your favorite veggies, chop them & store individually in glass containers {my go-to veggies for hashes are diced bell peppers of all colors and sliced red onions, but I'll also throw in whatever I have on hand...zucchini, sweet yellow onions, etc}

In a medium size frying pan, I add avocado oil and then all my veggies and steamed sweet potatoes. Heat through until everything is tender and hot. 

I also add in chicken or turkey sausage for extra protein. Our favorite kind here. They come frozen but are pre-cooked so I heat them in a separate pan in avocado oil, slice them and throw them into the hash pan. We try to always keep them on hand and I love the sausage patties for homemade egg mcmuffins.

Once the hash is complete, using my smallest frying pan (after heating sausage through), I cook an egg or two. I love them over-easy because I love the yolk running over my hash but you can prepare it any way you like! Add your favorite things and leave out whatever you don't love. Olivia and I usually share a hash on the couch while Poppy takes her morning nap and it is so yummy!

We also love mini quiches for breakfast. They are easy to make, stay fresh in the fridge for a few days and can be heated in minutes, plus anything mini is so easy for toddlers to eat and you can modify the ingredients to suit yours and your child's tastes. Recipe can be found here.

We love muffins as a quick and easy breakfast, especially on mornings when we're headed out the door. Our favorite muffins are made using gluten free mixes by Brody's 579. Our favorites are banana chocolate chip, plain banana {I gave these to Olivia before she started eating chocolate} and pumpkin {so good with walnuts mixed into it}. I love making things in big batches that I can freeze but I've found that most things just aren't as good once they're frozen.

 I've been making these muffins for years now and my favorite part is that they can be frozen and taken out and taste as fresh as they when we first made them. After I've baked them and let them cool, I wrap them individually in cling wrap and then line them up in a labeled freezer gallon bag. I also be sure to use the foil muffin tin liners instead of the paper ones, I feel like they hold up way better. I take a few out of the freezer about 30-45 minutes before we want to eat them and defrost them on the counter at room temperature. I made a big batch at the end of my first pregnancy and we packed them for the hospital as a yummy and filling snack. They are also great to pack in Dustin's lunches because by his morning break, they're thawed out. I can throw them in my diaper bag frozen without them getting smushed {is that a word?} and then they're thawed when we get to the park or a play date.

We also love to make homemade egg mcmuffins. That's probably Dustin's #1 request on the weekends and its super easy! All you need are english muffins {I toast ours and butter them}, a fried egg, slice of cheddar cheese and sausage patty. To assemble: english muffin half, round sausage patty, egg and slice of cheese, english muffin half. Sometimes we eat ours open-faced and always add lots of salt and pepper.

Another favorite breakfast is fruit + yogurt parfaits. We love noosa brand yogurt {coconut, strawberry rhubarb and lemon are our favorite flavors} because it's thick like greek yogurt but smoother and little less tangy plus has the yummiest fruit in it to mix in. Awhile ago I picked up some fun icecream sundae glasses and we use those for parfaits. I throw in whatever fruit we have on hand. Lately it's been strawberries and blackberries. I'll usually add chia seeds and granola or finely chopped nuts. Olivia loves granola, nuts and quinoa {one of her favorite foods ever} so I now make homemade granola for parfaits. Granola recipe can be found here.

Last but not least, we love french toast {we love using brioche bread and just use eggs, whole milk and lots of cinnamon} and a side of sausage or bacon and we have recently started making acai bowls. They're a bit more time consuming but a yummy treat. If you haven't heard of them, they're like a smoothie in a bowl usually made with frozen bananas and acai powder and with lots of delicious toppings! We love topping ours with fruit, nuts, coconut flakes, chopped nuts, cacao nibs, our homemade granola and more. If you follow me on Pinterest here, you can find all the recipes for acai bowls I pull inspiration.

I hope that gives you a few ideas! I'd love to hear what your go-to breakfasts are below!
Have a wonderful weekend! XO


best of the nest | homespun signs

We love Thursdays (because they're almost as good as Fridays) and today is even better because I'm so excited to be sharing Homespun Signs in this week's Best of the Nest series!

April is all about creating a dream home and nursery and Homespun Signs makes beautifully crafted rustic wood signs of all sorts. Owned by beautiful Mama of 4 Stephanie, Homespun Signs was started out of her love of creating unique decor for her own home and after catching the eye of all her family and friends, it quickly grew from there. Now Stephanie offers a wide variety of the most incredible signs, including custom pieces, large and small ones and more!

This beautiful set of love you more / love you most signs from Homespun Signs hangs above Olivia's bed. She is all about spelling right now so more often than not I find her standing and pointing out each letter as she spells the words one by one. My first baby and forever melting my heart.

There are so many things I love about these signs but this set in particular, I especially love their grand size. They are perfect for making a statement in a room and they're so versatile. They would be lovely in a child's room, in a nursery hung above a crib, a master bedroom, anywhere! And Stephanie offers the option to buy them individually or as a set with a little extra savings.

Over the past few years since we got married, Dustin and I have really spent a lot of time transforming our house into a home.

Being our first home, it marked the start of a new chapter for us when we bought it and moved in. It's been the house we went home to after we said "I do," the home we brought both our baby girls home to, the home we've laughed & cried in, shared meals, invited loved ones into and filled with many special memories.

This set of signs is everything this house is about: love. They are a constant reminder that we can never love our babies or each other too much. A reminder that no matter what the day is like, no matter how tired or worn out I am, I can choose to love. Because having this family to love is such a gift.

We spend a lot of time in each of the girls' rooms during the day and Olivia's bed has quickly become the spot to gather before nap time with piles of books, always snacks in hand and lots of blankets as well as her beloved teddy bear. Poppy mostly just lays and watches as Olivia jumps, reads, spells, you name it. Taking it all in and watching her big sister's every move. I love that these signs hang above her bed because so many of my best memories with my two little girls are made in that room.

In addition to the set we have, there are so many I just love! For our next baby I've already decided a custom name sign is at the top of my list for designing a nursery. So so sweet. I absolutely love this black background + white "delightfully chaotic" sign and the created for this moment sign is another favorite.

And because we love these signs so much (and every other sign in her shop!), I've teamed up with Stephanie to give away a $50 SHOP CREDIT to one of you to pick out your own favorite sign! Head over to my instagram @blessednestblog to enter! Hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week!


a day in the life

Happy Monday! Our weekend flew by but we packed a lot into it and we have some fun things planned for this week ahead including a mid-week date (those might just be my favorite ever), a few projects around the house & a get together with friends from our marriage group on Friday so it should be a good one!! 

I always love reading about what the day to day life is like for other Moms (especially those that have two or more kiddos and stay at home) and since Poppy just turned 7 months yesterday and we're in a nice predictable routine, I thought it would be fun to share a look into ours right now.

Most days start around 8:30/9am for us. The girls go to bed around 8/8:30pm and typically wake right around 12 hours later. Poppy occasionally wakes between 5:30am and 6am to eat and then goes back to sleep until her sister is up (and I do too!) 

In the morning, I get Olivia first because she loves being the one to go "wake" Poppy. She opens P's nursery door and says in her sweetest sister voice, "HI POPPY!" and those words always signal the official start of our day. I shower first thing in the morning while the girls play together or Olivia reads in one of their rooms. Some mornings if we have nothing to do and nowhere to go, I pull both girls into our bed with books, muffins and some toys just to hang out in our pjs.

After I shower I get a bath started. Sometimes they both take a bath and other times I just give Olivia one. While Olivia is in the tub I feed Penelope breakfast (avocado + cooked egg yolk) and then get breakfast started for Olivia and I, usually right around 10am.

Once I'm done feeding Penelope, she plays a little and I get Olivia out of the tub. She chooses her clothes, gets dressed and then we head downstairs for breakfast. Penelope goes down for her morning nap between 10 and 10:30am and during that time I'm able to have one-on-one time with Olivia. We usually eat breakfast together on the couch, read books or look through baking magazines, do puzzles or play with her favorite toys. 

Penelope's morning nap is about an hour on average, so she typically wakes sometime between 11:30 and noon. Once she's up, it's lunchtime for her around 12/12:30pm and Olivia either eats lunch at the same time or if she had a late breakfast, gets to watch a 30 minute show while I'm feeding Poppy. I try to prep Olivia's lunch before Penelope wakes from her nap so they can eat at the same time but sometimes at noon Olivia isn't hungry yet. After I feed Penelope, if Olivia hasn't already eaten, she has lunch (around 1pm). While she's eating I am able to sit and focus on one-on-one time with Penelope and eat lunch myself.

Around 1:30pm, I start getting the girls ready for nap time. We pick up toys, Olivia uses the potty and then chooses books. Poppy lays on Olivia's bed with us while I read and I usually end up leaving Olivia's room right around 2pm. I put Poppy down shortly after and most days by 2:30pm they're both asleep.

Olivia typically takes a 3 hour nap and Poppy's is closer to 1.5-2 hours depending on how long her morning one lasted. During that time I eat lunch if I haven't already, I start laundry or get a few things done around the house, catch up on the blog, get dinner started, relax or nap myself. Poppy usually wakes around 4pm, right when Dustin is getting home from work. He gets her up, takes her downstairs to play while he showers and then she usually hangs out in her bounceRoo in the kitchen while he packs his lunch for the next day. This gives me a little more time to myself to finish up what I was doing and then if she hasn't woken on her own, I wake Olivia at 5pm from her nap. Dustin usually feeds Penelope dinner around 5pm before the rest of us eat and then we try to do something as a family.

Depending on the weather, we sometimes take a walk before dinner or go to the park. When it really starts warming up we try to spend as much time outside as possible, so I take the girls out for a walk right in the morning after breakfast and just skip bath time or do it at night. I try to stick to our nap schedule as best I can because Penelope really needs two solid naps and Olivia needs a good afternoon one otherwise we're all just a hot mess. But if they're up around 9am and Poppy goes down at 10:30, that still gives us over an hour to get out and do something. 

Dinner is usually around 6pm. During the week I try to cook 4 out of 5 nights and then one night of the week we pick up take out, usually Chipotle or a Papa Murphys pizza or something else nearby. I usually run errands on Saturday mornings for meals for the week ahead and then mid-week in the evening on Wednesday or Thursday if we need anything else and to restock for the weekend. A few mornings a week I have different mom groups and women's bible studies I'm a part of that usually start around 9:30 or 10, so on those days once the girls wake at 9am, I shower and get them ready, we have a quick breakfast and head out the door, then get home around noon for lunch. Poppy ends up napping somewhere along the way on those days, either in the car or on me :)

Dinner wraps up around 7pm and then it's time to get the girls ready for bed. Dustin usually takes Olivia upstairs for brushing teeth, getting in jammies and reading books while I feed Penelope. Once Dustin is done reading, I put Poppy down (usually right around 8pm) and then tuck Olivia in. On a good day, both girls will be asleep by 8:30pm and we'll be off the clock!!

Dustin and I try to spend an hour or so together each night after the girls are down before we go to bed. Sometimes we pop popcorn & watch a favorite show, other times we just relax and catch up or read together. If it's been an especially long day, Dustin runs me a bath and I unwind in there. He tries to be in bed and asleep by 10pm and I'm more of a night owl, so bedtime for me is usually closer to 11pm, but when 6am rolls around and Penelope is up...I always wish I'd taken his lead and hit it at 10. Live and learn, right?! 

I'd love to hear what your day to day routine looks like! Is it the same or a little different every day?!
Hope your week is off to a great start!! XO


friday favorites

It's been quite the low-key week since the weather has been cold and rainy. We've been taking lots of naps, eating lots of soup and per Olivia's request baking almost every day. Brownies are probably my favorite treat to have around...there is just something so good about them, they always hit the spot. This week in addition to brownies we made vanilla bean scones (that my best friend so kindly got me totally hooked on) for out of town company and they were delicious. To kick off your weekend, here are a few Friday Favorites including the recipe below.

1 // These petite vanilla bean scones I mentioned we made yesterday are so so yummy. But then again, isn't everything that Ree makes?! A true labor of love, they're a little time consuming but really easy to actually make and the end result is so worth it. I used the full recipe and ended up with 30 petite scones, but you could cut it in half too. I'd recommend chilling the scones 20-30 minutes in the fridge once you've put them on your baking sheet so they don't spread too much. And I made ours GF by using our Favorite Cup4Cup gluten free flour, but all-purpose will work too!

2 // One night toward the end of the week I usually run a bunch of errands for the weekend and Thursdays have become my go-to day lately. I leave the girls at home with Dust and spend a few hours getting everything we need (aka actually getting the things I almost always forget when kids are in tow) at a bunch of different places. Last night at Target I stumbled upon a brand of green cleaning products called Common Good and truthfully, knew nothing about them except that their simple packaging was beautiful and I was instantly sold. Lavender is forever my favorite scent and all their products smell amazing. I've been wanting to make the switch to wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets forever and just hadn't, so I was excited to see they made dryer balls. I plan to add a few drops of essential oil to each one before using...probably lavender! To read a bit more about their products in addition to whats on their website, The American Edit has a great article I came across. So far what I've used, I'm loving and can't wait to try more.

3 // I recently picked up a few new pieces for Spring for both Penelope & Olivia and after I started getting their catalogs, I've found so much fun stuff from Tea Collection. With a catalog offer, you can get 20% off plus free shipping on your first order so the savings adds up quickly. Their rompers are my favorite for babies and I love all their dresses for toddlers. We take a pretty minimal approach to the girls' wardrobe, investing in several staple pieces that will last instead of a million clothes that wear out quickly. That also means less clothes to wash & fold! 

4 // I have been on the search for awhile now for a good multivitamin toddler gummy that wasn't filled with junk or super hard for Olivia to chew. Sometimes they're so hard and seriously look like they've been sitting on the shelf for 10 years. Yuck. I started using Zarbees, a natural brand created by a father and pediatrician shortly after becoming a mom. They now makes gummy vitamins sweetened with honey and I picked up a jar at Target on my trip last night. Olivia loves them and they're a nice hassle-free alternative to the liquid multivitamins we sometimes use. We have tried almost every single one of their products and love them all. 

5 // Last but not least, earlier in the week I shared 5 of the most important things I've learned through motherhood in a post here. If you read that you'll know we love having dance parties on the daily. A few tunes on our playlist right now are Classic by MKTO, Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew McMahon, Uptown Funk (such a good dance song!!) by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars & You're Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins (an older one but still gives me all the feels every time I listen). Nothing like a dance party to get everyone feeling good! 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!! XO


best of the nest | the wooden wagon

Thursdays are always good days in our house because it means we're only one day away from the weekend! We have friends coming into town from out of state tonight so Olivia and I have plans to make our favorite vanilla bean scones this afternoon for brunch tomorrow when they visit!

This month is all about Creating a Dream Home & Nursery and today I'm thrilled to be featuring The Wooden Wagon, a beautiful shop for all types of handcrafted toys, including our all-time favorite Ostheimer figures. Gathering the finest wooden toys from all around Europe -- and Germany specifically -- The Wooden Wagon offers a wide selection of block sets, wooden games, puzzles, toys for pretend and more. They have an incredible selection of Ostheimer toys and therefore are an excellent place to shop for them within the US because of their vast inventory. The Wooden Wagon is all about the simple, the natural, the safe and most of all the fun toys. 

"Founded by a Stay-at-Home Dad in 2003, The Wooden Wagon continues to be a family business. We seek out the highest quality natural toys, such as we would want our own children to have-predominantly from Europe and the USA. We pay attention to the play value, safety, workmanship, materials used and timelessness of each of our items. Simply put: we offer nothing that we would not want in our own home."

"Most of our manufacturers are family-owned as well, and all of them share our values. They use only the best materials, whether it is FSC wood, or organic cotton, wool or fabric, or non-toxic stains, paints and finishes. They oversee every step of production, and their toys are for the most part made in small batches. A great many of our toys are handmade, whether cut, turned on a lathe or carefully sewn and detailed by hand. Our manufacturers’ work environments are of the highest quality, safe and environmentally conscious."

"But just as important to our selection is the play value of each toy. We love open-ended toys that spark the imagination and lead children to find their own individual ways to play and tell a story. We have chosen toys that can be interpreted by the child in many ways, and that will be re-invented over many years as the child grows. We like toys that work in conjunction with other toys and thereby extend the play value even further."

Throughout my interaction with The Wooden Wagon, I continued to be impressed by their customer service, efficient communication, quick shipping and of course, the products themselves we received. I have shared our love of Ostheimer wooden toys many times over the past 6 months and because Ostheimer is based out of Germany, I am often asked where they can be purchased within the United States. The Wooden Wagon is the perfect spot to find any and all of the figures you may be looking for and they are nicely categorized here for super simple shopping.

Another favorite feature I'm loving is that on their website they have a page dedicated to buying Toys By Age. Wooden toys make the most timeless and lovely gifts, whether at a baby shower, birthday party and more. I love when shops have this feature because it makes finding exactly what you're looking for extra easy! And what Mom doesn't love that?! A few items that really caught my eye in addition to the Ostheimer figures are this beautiful flower stacking toy, this natural block set in a bag, this toy workbenchthis adorable wooden tea set and last but not least, this dancing alligator pull toy. No matter your style or child's age, there is sure to be something perfect.

Ultimately, The Wooden Wagon believes that less is more -- simple toys (without noise, flashing lights or batteries) -- inspire children. They love wood for that very reason...the simple, natural beauty of wood fosters a quieter, slower type of play, which is so important in this busy, fast-paced modern world. This is the type of play that allows a child the peace to develop imagination, creativity and originality.

Because we love The Wooden Wagon and all their toys so much, I've teamed up with them to give away a $100 SHOP CREDIT to one of you to pick out your favorites! Head over to my instagram @blessednestblog for more details on how to enter. The giveaway runs today through Wednesday April 13. And for an extra entry, leave a comment below with your favorite item or Ostheimer figure from their shop! Happy almost-Friday!


5 things motherhood has taught me

April has come so quickly and it's hard to believe we're nearly a week in. Next month Olivia turns 3 and some days I still can't believe I've been a Mama for 3 years. Motherhood is the greatest joy and something I dreamed of since I was just a little girl. It's life's greatest learning curve and it seems no matter how long you've been a Mom or how many children you have, there is always something new to learn! I'm certainly not an expert but here are a few things being a Mama has taught me.

1. Every day is a little different 
I'm a creature of habit...I love my routines, plans and everything to be the exact same day in and day out. Predictable. I'm definitely not a risk-taker and I don't care much for change. But over the past 3 years, and especially since adding baby #2 into the mix, I've learned that every day as a Mom is a little different. And knowing that helps me a lot. Have you heard the phrase "The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability" ? That's where we're at right now. I'll have a day where everything is just easy...they'll both sleep in until 9am (meaning I get to sleep in...aka one of life's greatest pleasures), Olivia listens well to everything I say, Poppy goes down for her morning nap no problem, lunchtime is a breeze, their afternoon naps sync up so I get a solid break, etc. Everything just flows and on those days I feel like Super Mom. Then a day or two later, I'll have a day that is completely opposite: They're up way earlier than usual or Poppy was up in the night so I wake up exhausted, nothing goes as planned, their naps don't overlap or they don't nap at all, everything seems so hard and I lose my confidence as a Mom. 

But I've learned that Motherhood is a mix of the hard and the good, the easy and the challenging. And knowing that every day I wake up our day may look a little different than the day before helps a lot. It's okay to have those hard days, and it's actually a really good thing to embrace them, because they are inevitable. Ultimately I know the hard days are refining me and making me a better Mom, they are building up qualities and strengths in me I may not have known I had; they are providing me with wisdom for the future, to tuck away and save that will benefit me down the road. And then on the really good days, I have learned to just sit and soak them in, being thankful that we have so many of them and that they're even better because of the hard ones.

2. It's all about the little things
Some days, especially as a Stay at Home Mom, the small victories, simple joys and quiet moments shared with my girls are what I need to focus most on. I may not accomplish a whole lot or do anything incredibly exciting but thats ok. Every day doesn't need to be a trip to the zoo, out to lunch, fireworks type of day. Some days are just spent at home, relaxing and being together. When I find gratitude for the little things on a day to day basis my heart is always fuller. When I choose to be present instead of tackling the 10 things on my to-do list and just watch them as they take in the world around them, that is what brings me the most joy...even more joy than a sense of accomplishment from a busy day going from here to there or crossing one thing after another off my list. Life really is made up of all the small day to day gifts, and being on the lookout for them, making it a point to notice them and savor them is one of my favorite things as a Mama.

3. Grace will get you far
We recently hung up a gallery wall in our living+dining room with one of my favorite pieces in our home to date...a beautiful rustic sign that has the word "grace" painted on it. We spend most of our time in that area of our home and it's a wonderful reminder for me every day as a Mom: to give grace to my girls and to myself. To always try my best to be kind & loving to them, even when they act out,  aren't kind or loving to me or frustrate me. It's easy to grumble at them if I'm feeling tired, particularly impatient or irritable. But I have to remember that just as God gives grace to me even though I haven't done anything to deserve it, I want to give grace to my girls, not only on the good days but also (and especially) on the hard ones. As parents, our children don't do anything to deserve our love and kindness...they just get it because they're ours and we love them unconditionally regardless of what they do or don't do. Instead of having a bad attitude, complaining or getting upset at them, I think of all the times I've been shown grace by others and continually purpose to give grace to my children. To love them every day endlessly no matter how good or hard of a day we're having.

4. It's so important to take time for yourself as a Mom without feeling guilty
This past weekend I hosted a dinner party in my home with my best friend for 12 of our closest girlfriends. It was a kid-free night with lots of good food, the best conversations and so much laughter. Dustin took the girls to my parents' house for the afternoon/evening and you guys, it felt so good to be "off the clock" for those 4 hours and just be Megan instead of operating in "Mom Mode," which I tend to be in 24/7. 

When we initially planned it, I noticed I was feeling guilty that I was hosting (even though I absolutely love to host) and because of that, that Dustin would have to pack up the girls and take them out of the house (even though they love going to Nana and Grandpa's) and that I would have an evening all to myself to relax and talk and just hang out with my friends (even though I totally needed it). Isn't that absurd?! Why did I have so much guilt? What is it about motherhood that makes us Moms feel guilty when we take time for ourselves? Somewhere along the lines we must have been told or taught that once we become Moms that's all we are. But that couldn't be further from the truth. 

Even though being a Mom is one of the greatest parts of my life and a calling I truly believe I born to fulfill, I am still so much more than that and it's so important not to totally lose who we are when we have children. To regularly take that time for ourselves to nourish our mind, body, spirit and soul in the ways we did before we had children. To do the things we enjoyed doing when we had all that time to do them. To spend time with people that build us up and to spend time away from our children so that when we are with them again, we are even better Moms than we were before. I am continually learning that the more I fill my own cup (take care of myself and find opportunities to put myself first or do the things I truly enjoy that give me life), the more I have to pour into my children. The better I feel, the better care I give to them. And I can absolutely do that without feeling guilty!! Because when I invest in myself, I am also investing in them.

5. Dance parties make everything better
Speaking of hard days (see #1), I had one of those on Monday. Like, a really hard day. Coming off an awesome weekend and feeling extra exhausted, we were all just a hot mess all. day. long. Dustin came home from work and you know how we are as women, we want to share our entire day (and every single detail) with our husbands the minute they walk in the door. Lucky them. 

I began by saying, "Today was just so hard. It wasn't fun at all. Sometimes I just wish every day was a lot of fun." He then asked me what makes a day fun. And I thought back to all the awesome days we've had lately and the one thing they all had in common (in addition to us all getting enough sleep...), and it was that we had impromptu dance parties. It seems so simple and even silly, but when I put on music and dance with Olivia while Poppy sits and watches -- thinking we're the most hilarious looking people as she just giggles and smiles at us nonstop -- those days are just so good. I'm a firm believer that you can't be in a bad mood when there is a good beat to dance to. And when all else fails, we have dance parties. It lightens the mood, resets the day and gets us all laughing. It makes mundane tasks more fun (making lunch, brushing teeth, folding laundry) and they make for some of the most special memories with my girls. And the days at home, whether simple or extravagant, really good or extra hard, are days I wouldn't miss for the world because so many are filled with those moments that I never want to forget.

Hope you're all having a wonderful week!!


best of the nest | second stitch to the right

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I shared last Friday that April will be all about Creating a Dream Home & Nursery! Throughout the month both here on my blog and on instagram, I'll be featuring my favorite shops for nursery pieces, home decor & more. Plus I'm partnering with the incredible brands + handmade shops I'm featuring to give it all away to you! 

The April home + nursery series continues today with a shop that is near and dear to my heart, Second Stitch to the Right. I've had the privilege of working alongside Clare, owner & quilt maker, Mom to 5 and Grandmother to 2, multiple times over the past year. She runs the most wonderful shop where she makes & sells modern quilts (seriously, swoon) and all types of baby essentials, including swaddle blankets, crib sheets, leggings, changing pad covers and more. Her selection for both boys + girls as well as gender neutral options is amazing and her triangle quilts complete any nursery perfectly. 

Being that her children are grown, last June Clare found herself in a new season of life and realized it was the perfect time to start the quilting business she had always dreamed of. Her own grandmother was the one who taught and shared all her talents with her. Clare shared that one of her favorite memories from her childhood was going to the fabric store with her Grandmother, even recalling exactly how it smelled. She always found the most joy in creating things, but it wasn't until later in life that she discovered her favorite craft was quilting. 

Clare views quilts themselves as story tellers...when she sees a quilt she wonders who made them, where they have been, who they have kept warm and who has been comforted by them. I just love that. They are truly an act of love and service to create because of the long hours, intricacy and precise detail that goes into each one. Not only do they bless the recipient but then again bless another and another as they are passed down. Through each generation they are held, folded, washed, loved, absorbing more stories, memories and history. There is just something about a quilt...it is so much more than a blanket. It starts as so many small, individual pieces that alone can't do much but together, create something extraordinary. And triangle quilts especially just get me. I mean, just look at them!

This Spring I had the opportunity to partner with Clare to create a one-of-a-kind modern floral triangle quilt for our littlest lady, Penelope. Of course Liberty of London floral was involved (how could it not be?!), and not only on the quilt top but also as the binding. With the prettiest tones of white, aqua, blues, pinks and mustard, this quilt is a Spring dream. It is the perfect mix of solids and patterns, including the most darling polka dots, pink stripes, white criss cross pattern and of course floral. Sprinkled throughout the top are mustard triangles with tiny white hearts and it's completed with the matching mustard backing.

Meet "The Poppy"

The best part is not only that you can buy this quilt in Clare's shop here, but you can enter to win your own! It is hands down the most special piece in Poppy's nursery and will be cherished for years to come and used by all our babies in the future. The girls love cuddling up in it together, it makes a perfect place for laying, playing and tummy time, will be used for picnics all summer long and of course is beautiful just hanging over Penelope's crib or on her glider. Clare offers all of her quilts in three sizes -- Toddler {39'' x 46''}, Throw {52'' x 62''} and Twin {68'' x 88''}. The throw is the size we have and is perfect to grow with your baby, not too big but not too small. Clare also offers beautiful quilts in other color ways here. Readers can save 20% off their total purchase of anything in Clare's shop using the code BLESSEDNEST20 today through Sunday April 10.

And because April is all about creating a dream home & nursery, I've teamed up with Clare to give away "The Poppy" quilt to one of you! To enter, visit my instagram @blessednestblog and find the most recent photo I've posted of the quilt. Follow the steps listed below it and stay tuned for a winner to be announced on the original post within 48 hours of the giveaway's end on Sunday April 10.

Can't wait to see who wins!! XO

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