Thursday, September 29, 2016

DIY Autumn Wreath

We're still waiting around for fall weather here in Phoenix, so in the meantime while we're watching everyone else through social media living in an autumn wonderland, we've just got to make our own. Autumn leaves are scarce in Phoenix, but that's to be expected with all of our cacti, palm trees, and palo verde trees. When I had the idea to make an autumnal wreath my first thought was to buy fake flowers/foliage to adorn it. Upon further thought I decided against it because I think synthetic fall foliage just looks so out of place here, you know? These felt leaves I made are a happy medium. 

A few things I didn't mention in the video:

- I made these felt leaves from stencils I made myself, but I'm sure you could probably find ready made felt leaves at a craft store.

- You can make the leaf stencils from cardboard or card stock, too.

- The straw wreath can be found in the fake flower section. 

- When wrapping the yarn around the hoop wreath, don't worry too much about any little gaps where you can see the straw underneath. You can go back after the first layer of yarn and wrap it a couple more times to cover up any gaps. 

- You can use any color yarn or felt! Red, orange, yellow, brown, and green are all good fall colors. 

- Notice my wardrobe change in the video? That's because it took a couple of days to film this! I started too late on the first day and ended up losing daylight, haha. 

- Recording your voice for a video is annoying and cringeworthy. Next time I need to write myself a script, honestly. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Feeding My Kid

I'm joining the other ladies of Mommy Style Monday today, and this week is all about meals for the kids. Before having a baby I dreamed of making my own organic baby food each week.... Ha. For the first 6 months of her life, Gwen ate nothing but breast milk. Life was easy! I mean, it was demanding, but meals were simple- feedings involved no preparation, dishes, or cleanup. I feel pretty fortunate that breastfeeding worked out so well for us. Once she hit 6 months, feeding Gwen new foods became really exciting! It's fun to watch someone experience food for the very first time. But once she started to eat more solids than breast milk, the concept of making three meals a day was hard for me to adjust to. I think we made our own baby food maybe twice, and I'm not sure that she liked it as much as the store-bought stuff. She ate a lot of mashed banana and avocado in those days. 

After more experience with feeding a toddler, I don't put too much pressure on myself to cook three times a day. We usually eat things like lunch meat, cheese, lots of fruit, veggies, crackers, bread, etc. (We also have french fries and chicken nuggets a little too often than I'd like to admit, but what's life without a little junk food?) Here is a typical toddler lunch/dinner at our house: black beans, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes, topped off with chocolate almond milk. I usually just stick with vegetables that I know Gwen likes because it's too stressful introducing new food sometimes! 

We made the switch to almond milk after researching causes of eczema. Gwen has suffered with eczema for a long time and when I asked the doctor about it, she said that it could be caused by a number of different things. We've used a handful of different body washes, soaps, and lotions, but it didn't really seem to help. A friend of mine recently told me that dairy was the biggest culprit, which made sense to me since Gwen would have a sippy-cup of whole milk every night before bed. I started giving her less dairy and quit giving her milk, and her skin was clearing up! I failed to discuss this plan with my husband at first, so when he gave her milk one night, the next day she was scratching again. We're not exactly sure that dairy is the cause because one day after giving her no dairy and a couple of hard-boiled eggs she started scratching a lot.... So maybe eggs are the culprit? Food allergies are confusing. We'll figure it out. 

Back to meals- I do cook dinner sometimes! Maybe 2-3 times a week if we're being honest, and Ryan will cook something once a week, but there are usually leftovers for us to eat, or sandwich fixings, or cereal, or takeout. Does anyone have delicious and easy dinner recipes that they love? Send me some pins for recipes! 

Check out these ladies' meal time posts!
Kiana at Glitter & Donuts
Madeline at CaseyLand
Bekah at These Are The Days
Britt at My Little Sunshine 
Chelsea at Tessa Marie
Monica at It's All About
Erica at Good Job Momma

Interested in joining us next time? Sing up here or here. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Happies -16-

-My video has over 2,000 views on YouTube?? What is this life??

-The first day of fall here in Phoenix was not terribly hot. It even rained!

-When I went grocery shopping with Gwen and she got really excited when she saw all the little pumpkins for sale.

-Meeting a couple of new blogging friends. I love that the internet has brought so many awesome people into my life.

-Watching This Is Us and feeling all the feels.

-Watching Bunheads! If you're a huge Gilmore Girls fan, like myself, you may love this show as well. It's got fast, witty conversations, small town quirk, Kelly Bishop, and a few familiar faces. It's only one season long and I'm in the middle of it! *crying emoji*

-Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! I finished it last week and it was so fun to read about Harry and the gang as parents. And yo, it has some intense moments. If you've read it, I'd love to know what you thought.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Love Shopping for Kids' Clothes

My mom gave me a few coupons to use at the Children's Place for Gwen's birthday (which I still need to blog about, by the way... oops!) so I went wild. "Clothing Hauls" on You Tube are one of my favorite types of videos to watch, so I thought I'd give it a try. If you're only interested in seeing what I bought for Gwen and the new baby then you only need to watch the first 10 minutes- after that I share some maternity clothes I've recently found.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Baby #2- Bumpdate 3

Annoying symptoms: heartburn/acid reflux almost every night. Sleeping is a little more difficult, but at least I don't have the urge to pee all night! (Yet...) Cravings: Cheeseburgers. The only time I'll eat beef is if it's an In-N-Out burger. I've only had a couple this pregnancy, but it's a funny craving for someone who usually only eats chicken or turkey. Baby movement: Lots of movement! Ryan felt him kick for the first time a few weeks ago. The baby has nudged Gwen a lot while I'm holding her against my belly, but she hasn't mentioned or realized that it's the baby. Weight gain: about 20 pounds. Looking forward to: my baby shower! My kind friends from church want to throw one for me next month! I'm in need of baby boy clothes. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Disney Parks with a Two Year Old

Let me begin by telling you all that Disneyland was not in our original California trip plans. We had originally planned to visit Universal Studios, mainly because my sister was also in town and she wanted to geek out with me over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I was so excited for that! Closer to our trip we hosted a friend of ours for a night while she was on her drive to California to work at Disney California Adventure. We told her of our plans to visit Southern California and she said she can get us into both parks, absolutely free, as well as free parking. I then researched all the things a pregnant person can do at Disney and then did the same for Universal. I basically wouldn't have been able to do anything at Universal Studios, but at Disneyland I had lots of kiddie ride options, which would be all that we'd do with a toddler in tow, anyway.

So the options were- free with a lot more to do! Or not free with nothing to do.
It would have been stupid for us not to go to Disneyland.

We started the day in California Adventure. Ryan had never been to this park and he didn't know what to expect so it was funny when he described to me what he thought it would be like. Basically, he didn't know it was just an extension of Disneyland. We went on a handful of kiddie rides here, including The Little Mermaid ride! It was probably my favorite ride of the day! I may have almost cried from the nostalgia. Ryan and my mom loved it as well. Gwen literally didn't react. On almost all the rides we went on, she hardly reacted. I kind of expected this because she's so young, and while we like Disney movies, we are not Disney people by any means (you know the ones), so she didn't really recognize any of the characters. Plus, she was tired for most of the day. She had a little nap on our drive to the park and another little one in her stroller, but it wasn't long enough for her to feel refreshed. I also think that there was just so much stimulation from all the crowds and strange, dark rides, that she just couldn't register everything happening?

This is why I'm grateful that her first time at the Disney parks was free! I would not recommend taking your two year old to Disneyland (unless maybe you are a Disney person and your kid is obsessed with all the movies). I mean, there were moments when she looked like she was enjoying herself, but they were fleeting. I could tell that she liked the carousel, Dole whip, the Tiki Room (she got up and danced aka ran back and forth), her new Simba plushie (The Lion King is her first Disney movie), the Winnie the Pooh ride (I saw a genuine smile near the end of the ride! So Ryan took her on it again.), and eating popcorn before the parade. Another thing- she was too tired to enjoy the parade. My mom and I really enjoyed it! But Ryan was annoyed with how loud the music was- we were right next to one of the speakers. Ryan's favorite ride was the Toy Story one in California Adventure because it was interactive and he's all about that video game life.

Lessons learned:
-Don't go to Disneyland for another 4 years (or maybe wait longer than that if prices keep rising).
-Spend at least 2 days in the park(s) so you can do and see more things!
-If you have the opportunity to go to Disneyland for free again, do it.
-Just go ahead and buy two churros for yourself.
-Disneyland is still a possibility for a 24 week pregnant woman, just take breaks and pace yourself. My feet hurt a lot by the end of the day, but they always hurt after I've spent the day at Disneyland, so it was completely fine.

A shout out to my awesome friend Laura who made this visit possible. She's a top notch Disney cast member! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


We went to Minnesota a couple of weeks ago! My sister-in-law had herself a baby, so we had to see the fresh, new family. If you've ever gone to visit a family with a newborn, you'll know that most of your time is spent staring at the new baby, relaxing with the family, and helping out in any way that is needed. We did a lot of this but we also got out a few times, too, which was nice because us Arizona dwellers were finally able to enjoy the outdoors without melting our faces off. What a concept! 

I brought my DSLR on this trip but you'd hardly know it because these are the only two photos to show for it. Fail. I did a good job at taking photos with my phone and Instax camera, though! You can see more photos on my IG feed!  

What we did:

-We went to the Minnesota state fair and ate all the food! It was a lot of walking so my sister-in-law and I were pretty worn out the next day, her being postpartum and I being 23 weeks pregnant. 

-We watched Stranger Things! The second time for Ryan and I, but it was fun watching it with people that are new to the show. 

-We went on a couple of walks and it wasn't that humid. 

-We went to the Children's Museum which was fun for Gwen, but I personally like the one we have in Mesa, better. 

-We went to visit this cute little zoo! It was free admittance! I'm a little sad that we arrived 30 minutes before they closed because Gwen was really enjoying herself. I did manage to make a short video of our zoo visit. When we come back to visit, I'll make sure we hit up this place again. 

Almost forgot to mention! Our niece's newborn photos are just gorgeous! Looking at them just makes me feel warm and happy! See for yourself.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mommy Style Monday: (Family) Date Night

I'm back at 'cha with another Mommy Style Monday! I've missed the last couple, I think, due to sickness and travel. But I'm back and excited to share some more style posts. 

The prompt this week was "date night." Yo, Ryan and I are kind of bad at planning dates. I often like to do things last minute, but you can't usually find a babysitter last minute.... so.... we end up hardly ever going out childless. We need to be better! Maybe that could be a New Year's resolution of mine. Starting ASAP. 

Before going out, I asked Ryan what he'd like me to wear when we go on a date and he said "That, I guess." I was wearing this striped dress after I got out of the shower because it was clean and comfortable, but I wanted to see what kind of outfit Ryan would come up with. He also said I shouldn't wear make-up, haha! I had already put on some make-up, so it was too late for that.

I've been meaning to try this smoothie place, Genuine Fresche, for a while now, and a date night blog post was the perfect excuse to go! Gwen and I got the Peanut Butter smoothie bowl and Ryan got the Extreme Green smoothie. It was delicious! I ordered a medium but next time I'm definitely ordering a small- it was very sweet! Ryan's smoothie wasn't nearly as sweet- it was kind of earthy but delicious. Gwen was a bigger fan of the green smoothie than the bowl. 

Here I am, wearing another striped maternity dress from Target. If you're pregnant, go buy this dress. They have the same one in black with white stripes, but I can't justify buying it! I feel like I wear this one enough to justify buying the black one. If it goes on sale, I'll probably cave. 

My mom gave me this bag last week and I was all heart eyes over it. I know I'm late to the party, but I am loving tribal type prints. I've been swooning over Nena & Co bags, so when my mom pulled this out for me, I was like, "How did you read my mind??" It's definitely not a high quality bag and I still want a Nena & Co bag (or one that's similar quality) someday, but it's still cute and I'll probably use it until it's all gross and falling apart. 

After we had our smoothies we went to Walmart for groceries. What a romantic evening. 

p.s. I had brought my DSLR camera to take these photos, but I forgot to put my memory card back in it! It was super annoying, but I'm thankful for decent phone cameras. These were taken with Ryan's Android phone. Not too bad, right?

Check out these ladies for more mama style!

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts
Madeline at CaseyLand
Britt at My Little Sunshine
Juli at Journey of J^3
Erica at Good Job Momma
Kristen at Eat Play and Go
Chelsea at Tessa Marie

Interested in joining us? Go here or here to sign up. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Say Hi Society Mini Con

Let's just start off by saying that this blogger meet-up has been my favorite one to date. For real. Maybe half of the reason is that my awesome friend Lydia was in town! If you've read my post about the last blogger event I attended, you'll know that I always find them to be awkward half the time. But I hardly felt awkward at all at this event! I'm sure it's because after going to these local meet-ups for the past 2 years I have made a handful of friends, and it's easier to feel relaxed around people you know. The last Say Hi Society event I went to had assigned seating. I understand they did it that way so everyone can meet someone new, but I was not a fan. I'm sure the ladies at my table were lovely, but I honestly just wanted to sit with my friends! I'm glad that this event was not assigned seating. Instead, there was an ice breaker game involving BINGO cards that encouraged everyone to get out of their seats and talk with one another. 

Pictured above is Merrick of Merrick's Art. She shared with us how to become INSTAGRAM FAMOUS. Haha! But really. She had some awesome tips about growing an Instagram audience and using hashtags and algorithm tricks and maintaining a theme, etc. You can listen to her talk here if you're interested. I've tried implementing her suggestions on my IG feed and have already noticed a difference. 

After Merrick's talk, there were three different round tables taught by other bloggers- one about Pinterest, another about Snapchat, and then Facebook. I chose to sit at Snapchat and Facebook. I'm not sure that I learned anything new about Snapchat, but it was still nice to talk about how fun it is to use! The Facebook table on the other hand.... I learned that I kind of hate Facebook. When it comes to promoting your business/blog, FB is kind of an itch-bay. The stupid algorithm, man! You've basically got to post a bunch of viral content on your business page and upload videos straight to FB (instead of linking a YouTube video) for anyone to see it. It was very informative. 

It was a great little conference. I learned lots of new things about how to navigate social media and, as always, I felt inspired to improve my brand. A+, Say Hi Society.

All photos were taken by Let Me See You Sparkle Photography