Showing posts with label festive. Show all posts
Showing posts with label festive. Show all posts


valentine's day gift guide

Happy Monday!! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We have been trying to soak up these last weeks as a family of four and rest + relax as much as possible. With February quickly approaching, I'm so excited to kick the week off with a Valentine's Day Gift Guide!

Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I'm not much of a roses & chocolate kinda girl (but give me alllllll the coffee icecream and tulips); I just love that it's an excuse to express the love I have for my husband, our girls, and friends & family even more than usual. This year I am especially excited for Valentine's since our baby girl is due just a few days beforehand. It wasn't planned but all 3 of our girls are holiday babies, which I just love!

Having three little girls, Valentine's is also one of my favorite holidays to celebrate & shop for. I set up our favorite gathre mat for the girls to make their own Valentine's and they had so much fun. Books, toys and snacks of course were also involved ;) We try to keep things pretty simple around here when it comes to gift-giving so I focus on giving the girls practical gifts that they'll use everyday, but still items that are fun and sentimental.
one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten

first up, baby girl.

I absolutely love the modern wooden teethers from Lexy Pexy and this cotton candy one is darling. All her eco-friendly, non-toxic teethers are handmade in NYC and I love that this one says "love at first bite," it just seems so fitting for Valentine's Day.

Knowing I was due right around V-Day, this Yarning Made bassinet heart blanket in hot pink was another gift I knew she would get a lot of use out of but that would also become a special keepsake as she grows.

I have shared our love of Sugarboo Designs many times before and this Sugarboo Designs love letter pillow is the perfect addition to a nursery or master bedroom for Valentine's Day. We have this set of canvases in our kitchen and the matching pillow is equally gorgeous and so cozy! Definitely a new favorite piece in our home.

Last but not least, these pink dotted oxfords from Piper Finn are so sweet. The Size 1s are so tiny, I can't wait to put her little feet in them once she is born!

next, penelope (16 months).

I've had my eye on these gorgeous boots from Adelisa & Co. for quite some time and when they arrived in the mail they were even more beautiful than I imagined. I absolutely love Adelisa & Co. for what they stand for, and these boots are handmade by artisans in Nicaragua with so much care and attention to detail. A portion of every purchase goes back to support the artisans and their families. We have this gorgeous handmade swing from Adelisa & Co. as well that Poppy just loved when she was younger and will definitely be put to use with our littlest as she grows. Such a fun piece for a playroom, nursery or even outside in the Spring & Summer.

Poppy absolutely loves puppies and hearing her say "woof woof" is just about the cutest thing ever. I've had this book pre-ordered since November and was excited to see the original release date was moved from 2/21 to 2/14, just in time to be a sweet Valentine's Day gift. Written by the author of another one of the girls' favorite books, Gaston, this new release looks so sweet and I can't wait to read it to all 3 of the girls all year long. Another favorite book of ours for Valentine's is Romeo & Juliet by BabyLit.

our oldest, olivia (3.5).

I shared last week on instagram that I had the opportunity to curate a Valentine's Day clip set in collaboration with Ryan & Wren. These are my go-to snap clips for the girls; I love how sleek and classy they are, that they stay in place and all the fun patterns and colors Mary offers in her shop. Naturally, Olivia's favorite colors are pink & purple (so Valentine's Day is definitely her kind of holiday!) so she'll be getting this set as part of her gift this year to share with Poppy. You can shop the full set here.

Another favorite hair accessory for Olivia (and Poppy) are Cute Bird Kids Classy bows, which come in three different sizes. I absolutely love the size of the largest ones for Olivia; they make such a statement in her thick curls and are so well made. I especially love that so many Cute Bird Kids bows are made of corduroy in such bright and vibrant colors and patterns (orchid corduroy bow pictured above on Olivia); there is just something so timeless and nostalgic about the texture and material. Enter BLESSEDNEST15 at checkout for 15% off your purchase today through February 28, 2017.

One of my favorite things about Olivia, especially at this age, is her imagination and watching her play & pretend. These Maileg mice from Rose & Rex have quickly become some of her favorite toys and for Valentine's I added this Princess Mouse and the Pea set to her collection as well as the Little Sister Mouse for Penelope. Both are seriously so darling.

Last but not least, as Spring approaches I knew one of the things I was most looking forward to doing with Olivia was taking her puddle jumping. It's just a childhood requirement, isn't it?! Mud, messes and just letting them be little. Of course for that I wanted to get her some classic Hunter boots, something I've had my eye on for a long time. After finding the exact black matte style I wanted in her size, I knew they would be a perfect gift that would last her through the rest of the year and into the next and then be passed down to Penelope once Olivia outgrows them. For Valentine's, I also love the hot pink ones. I love knowing the pieces we decide to invest in will get years & years of use with all three of our girls.

Hope this gives you some fun ideas for your tiny Valentines! Only two weeks away!! Hopefully by then we'll have our tiniest Valentine in our arms! 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


poppy's happy camper 1st birthday party

We had so much fun celebrating Penelope's 1st birthday this past weekend with all our friends and family. It was a beautiful Fall day with lots of sunshine so we were able to spend the whole afternoon in the backyard, perfect for all the kids with endless energy running around. Poppy turned 1 on September 10 but we have a tradition of spending the weekend of each of the girls' birthdays just as a family and throwing a party the previous or following weekend. Penelope loves being outside and has since birth, whether on walks in the stroller, swinging in the hammock or playing in the grass, so I thought a Happy Camper party would be perfect. 

I partnered with Minted for the invitations and went with these Wild Woodland invites in Pink. I also love these camping invitations and these northwoods ones

I kept the decor super simple; I hung a custom tassel garland above the dessert table with a happy camper banner. I chose a few cake toppers, including a "1" and triangle bunting banner and then made two of the three cakes myself, including Poppy's smash cake and a gluten free carrot cake that is so Fall-ish and a family favorite. I topped her cake with a wooden deer and some forest trees.

We served build-your-own chicken salad sandwiches on fresh croissants, our favorite sweet kale slaw salad & fresh watermelon. To drink I had apple cider from our local orchard with cinnamon sticks and orange slices in a mason jar beverage dispenser and then had an iced bin of water bottles and soda in the backyard. 

We also had these darling camper cookies made by Cousin Cookie and I LOVE how they turned out for the theme. They were the perfect dessert for all the kids at the party and I love every tiny detail they had. Everyone raved about them and we will definitely be doing custom cookies again for our next party!

I used real wood slices as cake stands and it fit in perfectly with the theme.


Poppy wasn't so sure what to do with the cake once we placed it in front of her, but she loved the singing and eventually discovered the sweet buttercream and then was totally into it.

We had such a wonderful day surrounded by so many of our loved ones. I try to keep parties as simple as possible so I'm not having to spend the whole day preparing and stressing out and instead can enjoy the reason we're celebrating -- my little girl! I loved this theme and found it so easy to put together decor and a menu. 

For more woodland party inspiration, check out this board on Pinterest that I created to plan ours. Happy Tuesday!!


best of the nest | birthday invites with minted

My first baby turns three exactly one week from today! I still don't think it has quite hit me yet that I will have a 3 year old. Her party is this upcoming weekend and we decided to keep it pretty simple & small with just some close friends and family. Olivia requested pink cake and when I asked her what she wanted she just said "one book!" That makes it easy on me ;)

I had the opportunity to partner with Minted this year to design Olivia's birthday invites & had so much fun planning her party around them. Mint is one of her favorite colors so we went with the cupcake celebration invitations. This particular design comes in three colors but their party invitation options are endless. Whether you're throwing a kid's party, grad party, baby shower or something totally different, they have countless options, all designed by amazing independent artists. They also have tons of birthday party decor pieces, many of which match their birthday invitations!

For decor, we decided to keep it really simple. I love the custom cake toppers from Hooray Everyday, party hats by Little Blue Olive & anything with poms always finds its way in! 

Minted also offers matching Thank You cards to send after the party! I went with kraft brown envelopes for both our invitations and thank you cards and thought a scalloped border for the invites and striped mint backing would be fun extra touches.

One of my favorite parts about ordering invitations through Minted {and actually a feature I just discovered recently!} is their recipient addressing service. After you order your invitations you can input all your guests' addresses into a virtual online address book. Then all the envelopes are printed with them in the font & style you choose and when your invites arrive, all you have to do is put a stamp on them and send them on their way! The perfect solution for busy Mamas. Plus with a Minted account, you can store all your addresses online, export them to various documents, print them and even access & edit them anytime for future parties. We have ordered from Minted for years for every party and celebration as well as all our holiday cards and I can't believe I wasn't using their addressing service sooner!

A few of my favorite birthday invitations from Minted are below:

little adventurers invites / northwoods invites / piece of cake invites / orchard blossoms invites / bulldozer invites / simple + sweet foil-pressed invites

I also love these fanfare invites, which we used for Olivia's 1st birthday party, and these darling flower & ladybug invites. For a summer party, these icecream cart invites would be so much fun! All their invitations can be customized with wording, border, envelopes, backing, photos & more!

If you are needing invitations for your own party, you can save 10% and get free shipping on all baby & kid products using the code BKSHIP10 at checkout. Discount valid Monday May 16 only.

In addition to invitations, we also love Minted art prints! I did a round up of my favorites a few weeks ago here when we updated our living room gallery wall for Spring & Summer. Hope you're having a wonderful start to your week! Can't wait to share more party details soon!


easter basket | 2016

Happy March 1! February flew by in the blink of an eye and it's hard to believe that Easter is only a few weeks away. Easter will forever be one of my favorite holidays. I love the Springtime & everything it feels fresh & new and everywhere you turn is lush green grass and blooming flowers. It's such a fun time of year especially with little girls to celebrate alongside. Putting together Easter baskets for our girls is such a fun tradition and a special way to make this time of year even more fun! I've rounded up my top picks for your babes' baskets this year below.
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15

This year Penelope will be 6 months old for Easter so her basket will be filled with a few simple things to snuggle & play with, including this darling sleepy elephant {4}, flower rattle {6}, activity ring {12} & animal shakers {8}. I also picked up a few of our favorite floral bonnets {3} to include. Finally she's getting a few drool bibs {13} & a pretzel teether {11}, not related to Easter in the least.

Olivia's basket last year had a few more than a few cozy bunnies (which she still sleeps with every night and has appropriately named Mop, Hop, Lop & Bop and knows exactly which is which, something I can't even seem to keep straight) so this year I'm focusing less on bunnies and more on a few fun toys that she'll get a lot of use out of it and can eventually enjoy with Poppy. One of her favorite things is taking baths so I picked up a few new bath toys, including these jelly fish {15} and a fun little floating duck {10}. We're also giving her a puzzle {5}, since puzzles are one of her favorite activities these days. We have a few Petit Collage puzzles similar to that one {safari one here & forest friends here} and just love them. I thought this bird one was darling for Spring.

Finally, books are a perfect gift to include in baskets. I picked up two new ones this year for the girls {1, 9} and What Will Hatch? has been a favorite of Olivia's for a long time. We have the hardcover version but they just released it in a board book form in January, perfect for little hands!

Olivia also loves sticker books right now so if I come across any cute Spring ones, I may add those. I found some fun sidewalk chalk last weekend on sale and picked up a few little art supplies for her, including new twistable crayons and paint brush pens. Last but not least, a fun item to put in plastic eggs is socks. It probably doesn't sound that exciting but Olivia always loves getting new socks (especially when they're pink) and I love giving gifts to the girls that are practical. I love these bunny ones here.

Whether you keep it really simple or go all out, I hope you enjoy the time spent putting together a basket for your little ones. It really is the thought that counts! Happy Tuesday!!


Friday Favorites

The sun is shining, both girls went down at the exact same time for naps today {after Olivia procrastinated nap with about 10 different books} & Dustin and I have a fun little date planned tonight out for our favorite Chinese food, strawberry cheesecake to-go for a yummy dessert & a movie on the couch after the little ladies are in bed. This morning I had my monthly moms group and the theme was "spa day" so we got to make homemade sugar scrubs, get massages, have our nails done & there was even a table exclusively with chocolate + desserts to make your own chocolate box to bring home. Olivia had a blast in her classroom celebrating Valentine's and Poppy hung out with me and all the other Mamas enjoying some pampering! 

Valentine's weekend is always a special one because we have so many memories. We were married in 2012 so Valentine's 2013 was our first together as husband & wife. We were also 5 months pregnant with Olivia at the time and on Valentine's morning, I felt her kick for the very first time. Last year on Valentine's I was 2 months pregnant with Poppy and this year we are celebrating as a little family of 4. 

Since Dustin and I are going out tonight, we thought it would be fun to stay in tomorrow night and grill one of our favorite meals -- filet, alongside mashed potatoes, cheddar biscuits & lots of mushrooms + onions. Then my request was icecream for dessert (seriously, cheesecake + icecream in the same weekend?!...I don't know if we'll ever beat that). On Sunday we plan to pick up our favorite donuts and celebrate with the girls at home, have a big breakfast, give the girls a few simple gifts & then get a heart shaped pepperoni pizza for dinner. We're basically just kids around here.

To kick off your weekend, here are a few Friday favorites:

1 // Olivia loves little animals and playing pretend, and this tooth fairy mouse is even more darling in person. I initially got it for her to have when she loses her first teeth in a few years, but she somehow discovered it and hasn't stopped playing with it since. She loves to tell me that the mouse is "mapping" when its time for her to nap (part of me hopes she always calls them maps instead of naps), and she gives it kisses before tucking it in.

2 // Little Unicorn is one of my absolute favorite brands for baby basics & I recently ordered some of these bandana bibs for Poppy for when she starts teething. I also couldn't resist getting this crib sheet and a few fun swaddles. There is no such thing as too many swaddle blankets. Olivia has a handful from when she was a baby and still uses them everyday.

3 // We try to use natural products whenever possible and that's been one big reason I've loved getting into essential oils. Since I started a few months ago, I am continually amazed at how many uses I've come across for them {P.S. How darling are these handmade EO cases?}. Along the lines of our favorite family-friendly natural products are our absolute favorite organic bar soaps. I place orders every 2-3 months to stock up and all four of us use them daily. Lavender Oatmeal is my #1 {out of stock now but restocking soon} and Dustin's favorites are Rosemary Mint and Litsea & Avocado. Wild Orange is also amazing as is Toasted Almond. Oh my goodness.

4 // Olivia is so into tutus right now so I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive ones that she can wear no matter what she's doing. Aka that she can get paint on before nap time and smoosh avocado into during lunch. I saw this pink one at Target this week on sale and got it for her as an early Valentine's gift. It looks like it comes in a whole range of colors so I might pick up a few more for Spring since they're an extra 25% off this weekend and you can ship them to your local store for free. We try to keep the girls wardrobe pretty simple but in this case more tutus = less laundry for me, since she wears them 7 days a week!

5 // Last but not least, we've been having lots of dance parties with the girls at night while we're getting ready for bed. It's always more fun to brush teeth and get jammies on with some tunes and here are a few songs we've been loving lately:

+  Snapback by Old Dominion
+ Night's On Fire by David Nail
+ Sorry by Justin Bieber (I didn't want to like this song but I just can't help but love it)
+ I Love This Life by Locash
+ Break Up in a Small Town by Sam Hunt

Happy Valentine's weekend to you & yours!! XO


valentine's day gift guide 2016

With only one week until Valentine's Day, I wanted to share my top picks for modern and unique gifts for your babies & little ones. Penelope is 5 months so I picked up a few cute rattles and sensory toys for her; she has two crinkly books that were Olivia's as a baby and she loves them, so I thought it would be fun to get her a few toys of her own for Valentine's Day. For Olivia, we got this adorable sandwich set for her play kitchen {7} and some puzzles, which are always one of her favorite activities along with a few bath toys. I also love this floral boppy cover {3} for Penelope, since one of her favorite spots to sit is resting in it and you can't ever go wrong with anything floral.
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13

I absolutely love wooden toys, they are always classy and timeless and something I don't mind having sit out in my living room, so the fun rattles and teethers {1, 2, 4} were at the top of my list this year for Poppy alongside the puzzles {8, 10}. I loved the modern look of them and their neutral colors.

Bath toys are always a perfect gift since the girls take long baths every morning, especially in the winter when we don't have anywhere to go and it's too cold to be outside. Olivia has this origami boat {6} and loves it.

Last but not least, anything cozy and soft for a baby or toddler to hug and love makes a great gift, especially for Valentine's. The girls have a few knit BlaBla dolls and adore them; I love Apple and her little heart leggings {9} ... You can save 15% off your entire purchase at Blabla Kids using the code 15FORYOU at checkout {valid 2/5 through 2/8}  And one of my favorite brands lately has been Moulin Roty; I love their fun colors, darling characters and overall charm. They offer a wide variety of baby and toddler toys, and I love this sensory ring {11}, lovey {12} and stacking hen toy {13}.

Do you give your little ones anything for Valentine's Day? Books of course are always a great option too and this one was the new one we picked up this year for the girls, it is just so sweet! I'll be sharing my top 150 favorite children's books throughout the year on instagram @blessednestblog under the #BlessedNestLitList so be sure to follow along there! And stay tuned for some fun giveaways featuring a lot of the shops included here coming soon! XO


homemade valentine's poptarts

I've shared my homemade poptart recipe on my blog in the past here & it's always such a popular one. These mini hearts are so fun & festive and you can customize them in any way you want! We've made full size ones, mini rectangular ones & more! Being that we're three weeks from Valentine's Day, it was the perfect opportunity to get out our heart cookie cutters and get a little messy.

homemade strawberry poptarts

for the pastry

+ 2 cups all-purpose flour {I used Cup4Cup gluten free flour}
+ 1 TBSP sugar
+ 1 tsp salt
+ 1 cup {2 sticks} unsalted butter, cold {but not frozen}, cut into roughly 1'' squares
+ 1 large egg
+ 2 TBSP milk
+ 1 additional egg, whisked {for assembling pastries}

for the filling

+ 3/4 cup of your favorite jam or preserves

for the frosting

+ 1-2 TBSP cream cheese, softened
+ 1 cup powdered sugar
+ juice from half a lemon
+ 2-3 drops of food coloring of choice


1. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt; pour into large food processor. Add pats of butter one by one and pulse until butter is pea-size and dough mixture holds together 

2. In a small separate bowl, whisk together 2 TBSP milk and 1 egg

3. Transfer dough to large bowl and add milk+egg mixture; mix with your hands until just combined {it will feel sticky but try to work milk+egg in as best you can}

4. On a floured surface, transfer dough and knead carefully until it becomes less sticky

5. Divide the dough in half and work to roll each half out to form 9''x12'' rectangles

6. Once rolled, divide each rectangle of dough into nine squares roughly 3''x4'' {or more/less depending on size of poptarts} / use a sharp knife to make clean cuts & don't be afraid to use a ruler if needed!

>> If making them using cookie cutters, simply roll all the dough out and cut out as many of your desired shape as possible, keeping in mind you will need an even number; when I made the hearts, I got 25 pop tarts total {50 individual pieces} using this recipe <<

7. Using a pastry brush, brush the whisked egg over half of your poptart squares

8. Top each half with a spoonful of your filling and lay the other half on top, sealing edges by pressing a fork into each side {be careful not to overfill!}

9. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown {oven times may vary and I left mine in closer to 25 minutes}

10. Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a cooling rack; let cool completely before frosting

11. To make the frosting, simply mix all the frosting ingredients in a bowl until well combined; add more lemon juice to thin it out and more powdered sugar to thicken it according to preferences; drizzle generous spoonfuls of frosting over cooled poptarts and if you want to get extra fancy, top with sprinkles!

{If this sounds like too much work, you can always buy store-bought pie crust and roll it out to the same 9''x12'' rectangles and cut as directed}


friday favorites

Things have been a bit quiet this week on the blog front, as I've tried to take a few steps back and focus the majority of my time on my family as we are in the final digit countdown to Christmas. There is something so magical about celebrating this season with children...seeing the excitement in Olivia's eyes, dancing with Penelope in my arms by the light of the tree, building gingerbread houses, drinking cocoa & watching Christmas many special memories are being made and I am just so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that I get to make them all with my little family of four. 

We've been in the swing of gift-wrapping, errand-running, tree-trimming & cookie-baking this week and I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things I've come across lately that caught my eye and that we have integrated into our own home and traditions. 

F R I D A Y  F A V O R I T E S 

1 / Have you heard of The Giving Manger? I stumbled across it a few weeks ago and loved the idea so much. Dustin and I gave it to Olivia as one of her (early) Christmas gifts this year and it has been so sweet to teach her about the true meaning of Christmas and the spirit of serving others. It's an interactive family tradition that comes with a storybook, wooden manger, straw & baby Jesus. It encourages doing acts of service (whether big or small) for those around you -- people in your own family or people you don't know at all. For every kind act, you add straw to the manger and on Christmas morning, place baby Jesus in it full of love and service. Olivia is at an age where she wants to do so many things (hello, miss independent) and it's been especially fun for her to add straw to the manger after doing something nice for her baby sister, like tucking her in with a blanket or reading a story to her.

2 / Dustin and I decided to build Olivia a dollhouse for Christmas instead of buying one and from the initial drawing with measurements to buying the wood, cutting windows and doors, painting furniture and decorating, it has been such a fun labor of love. It is a gift I know she will always treasure and something that we'll keep in our family for generations. My favorite way to decorate is with the gorgeous florals from Rifle Paper Co. Their wrapping paper sheets make perfect dollhouse wallpaper and seriously, floral is always the right choice. 

3 / When I meet people for the first time, I should probably introduce myself and say, "Hi. I'm Megan. And I'm addicted to wall decor." Because seriously, if it exists and can be hung on a wall, there's no doubt that I will find it. Yesterday I had the privilege of running errands solo and taking my time more than usual at Target and I came across a few pieces I knew would be perfect to finish off the final (empty) corner of Penelope's room. And I'll be the first to say it, Target is seriously stepping up their wall decor. I don't ever remember it being this good in years past. This rustic wooden shelf with hooks just leaped in to my cart and even though as he was hanging it, Dustin said "I could've made this," I would recommend it ten times over. Yes, making things is fun (see #2) but some things are just better less work when they're store bought.

4 / Starting on Wednesday, Gap + Old Navy began offering crazy good discounts for cardholders and stacking all my regular discounts on top of being a silver cardholder, I was able to get $250 worth of clothing for both Olivia and Penelope for only $35. Yes, $35!! A few favorites from my order are this floral windbreaker, the cutest onesie & this gorgeous scoop-neck graphic tee I've had my eye on forever that finally was available in 12-18 for P to wear next Fall! This darling dropwaist dress also made the cut for both girls to match in.

5 / Finally, something I have always enjoyed is playing games -- board games, card games, you name it and I'm into it. Before we had Olivia, a huge tradition of ours was playing games with my parents. The four of us would stay up into the late hours of the night playing games. My mom would make caramel corn on the stove and round after round, we never grew tired of it. After having babies we found it to be much more difficult, since really they have to (both) be sleeping to fully devote our attention to the gameplay. On Thanksgiving we were able to play games with my parents all afternoon while they napped and again in the evening after they went to bed. Our plans for Christmas day are no different, and my Mom is always bringing over new games she's been introduced to and wants to share with us. The game I couldn't get enough of on Thanksgiving is called Qwirkle. It's the perfect mix of strategy, forward thinking and problem solving. It's easy to learn and play but requires skill to win, and those games are my absolute favorite!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing weekend! Many hours over the past weeks have been spent laying on our couch looking at the tree, enjoying peace and quiet after the girls have gone to bed and reflecting on why -- and more importantly whom -- we celebrate this season. There are so many things to do + see + places to be this time of year but my favorite place is always at home with each other and our girls, enjoying being together and making memories. They are my gifts this year and every year. Being Dustin's wife and their Mama is a dream come true.


25 Books of Christmas | December Lit List

One of my favorite things is filling the girls' book shelves by theme & season and pulling out all their Christmas books when December hits always fills my heart. There are so many fun traditions to do with books this time of year so below are our top picks straight from Poppy's nursery shelves!

Santa's Favorite Story // A wonderful way to share the true meaning of Christmas

The Very First Christmas / Purchased at Hallmark Stores in 2013...My Grandma Bea recorded this for Olivia's 1st Christmas -- if you haven't heard of the recordable story books, they are an incredible way to preserve a precious memory, and even though she's gone now, she'll always be able to read a book to the girls

The Spirit of Christmas // a new one we got this year that is so, so good to teach children about the true meaning and why we celebrate
In My Forest // A fun finger puppet book that Olivia just loves reading
The Story of Christmas // another excellent one sharing the Christmas story in simple terms for young children to understand

Do you have any favorite books this time of year? Olivia and I love to read books all day long and now that Poppy is here, Olivia always "reads" out loud to her...ohh it gives me all the mama feels. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! We're hosting a game night tonight and alongside my best friend, I'm hosting a girls' Christmas Cookie Swap on Sunday night, so it should be a fun weekend! Dustin and I are also working on a very special project for Olivia that I can't wait to share more about soon! xoxo


olivia + penelope's christmas list 2015

For the past two years, Olivia has received one special "big gift" at Christmas and then smaller gifts to go along with it. Last year, we got her a vintage play kitchen and she absolutely loved it. You can find my full post here with all the details, including our favorite kitchen accessories. 

This year, being that we have two little girls to shop for (a mama's dream), I wanted Olivia's big gift to be something that Penelope would one day use too. I found some fun dollhouses online (like this modern pear one), but finally decided it would be the most fun to build our own! Olivia doesn't have a doll house and I wanted something classic, sturdy, made of wood and a piece that I wouldn't mind looking at every day, so Dustin and I designed a four-story one that he built over the weekend. I'll spend the next few weeks painting & decorating it, that's the fun part. I also picked up a handful of my favorite Maileg mice, some neutral furniture {4, 6} and a few other fun accessories for it. I plan to add lots of homemade pieces too! 

 At Christmas we focus on "Something you Want, Something you Need, Something to Wear & Something to Read." The dollhouse takes care of the first category for both of them so all that was left was selecting a few things that I knew would get a lot of use. Pajamas always make a fun and easy gift and I got Olivia a few pairs {2} for less than $5 each when I used all my discounts at Gap + Old Navy. My parents gave her a pair of warm boots as an early gift {8} and Penelope an itty bitty pair to match {9}! I picked up a few fun new bath toys, including this white origami boat {7} from one of my favorite shops, Smitten for the Wee Generation since they take baths every day and quality bath toys are hard to come by. All the favorites the girls have now are by Boon, Inc. 

One of my favorite gifts to give each of my girls is a new dress {1}, whether for everyday wear or special occasions. I chose two from one of my favorite handmade shops, Swallow's Return and can't wait to put V and P in them. 

I found this adorable icecream set {10} in my search for a few kitchen toys and I loved it (I wanted to play with it myself!), so that will be a fun new addition to Via's kitchen. I also have my eye on this wooden coffee maker. Anything that involves pretend play is right up Olivia's alley, and I thought this wooden doctor kit {17} was darling. I especially love that it isn't plastic!! As far as gifts for a babe that's as young as Penelope is, I focused on a mix of practical and playful, including a new crib sheet {13}, our favorite art cards from Wee Gallery {14}, a wooden croissant teether {15} and of course, a bird rattle for our little birdie {16}. 

When friends & family ask what they can give the girls, I always say that books are perfect (they'll never grow out of them, are rather inexpensive and there is such a variety to choose from) or anything to encourage imaginative play. This new book about always being yourself {12} is so, so cute. I can't wait to start reading it with them!

Finally, as you're on the hunt for gifts for your little ones, these links below might help:

Hope everyone's week is off to a wonderful start! And stay tuned for some fun giveaways coming this month on instagram featuring items from the girls' wishlist! xo

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