Sunday Suppers: Truly a night to remember

Sobremesa | the time after a meal when food is gone, but the conversation around the table continues. 228101AA-EB7A-421C-81AF-997E43338BB6

A few weeks ago, Chris and I got to attend a Sombremesa Sunday Suppers event hotsted by our dear friend Amanda Watters, and for lack of better words, it was truly magical. A few months ago I was on the gram and saw a post from my sweet friend Amanda (mamawatters) sharing about the event she would   hosting.  I had been meaning to get to Kansas city to visit with her since it had been some time since we hung out, Chris and I hadn’t been on a date without a baby in literal years, and after months of binge watching Top Chef as a family, this event seemed like the perfect night to enjoy with one another. Perfect almost feels like an understatement now.B0C33603-958A-4839-AED4-8ADE76B686BD

I immediately texted Chris a screen shot about the event and he was like, Yes!!!! So, I knew we had to get tickets… But then I got to thinking… Who would watch all FOUR girls for several hours and into the night? I thought of a few people who might be interested and whom I knew Frankie and the girls would feel comfortable with and I felt like I knew the perfect people. We were actually hanging out with them that evening, so I knew I had to ask, knowing that this would probably make or break our ability to attend the Sunday Supper’s event.

I asked our dear friends who I might add have 4 of their own, including twins, and without any hesitation, my friend said yes! And an excited yes! She actually told me she felt honored that I asked them and, insert Chris and I both crying literal tears of joy, we just felt so incredibly loved and blessed to have friends who would take in our children and with joyful hearts.  I have a really difficult time leaving the girls, especially Frankie, but I had such a peace about letting them go with these friends and knew they would have the best time! So…we got tickets and were so excited for November 3rd to roll around! Fast forward, the girls had THE BEST time and we are so excited to hopefully get the chance to pay them back by watching their babes!

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There were so many reasons I was so excited about this event.. I was excited for the time with Chris, to see my friends, to maybe make new friends, to enjoy good food, and just excited about being excited:D One of the highlights was meeting my friend Caley!!! We met on the gram, I think our first conversation was about paint trim colors, and then we discovered we had lots in common, including home birth and so many things motherhood related, and our friend Amanda. I’m trying to find the words to describe just how life giving and refreshing this night was for Chris and I. First, the little road trip to Kansas City itself. I love road trips and some of the very best conversations Chris and I have happen on these little trips and having that time alone together was just awesome. Now I’ll skip to our arrival.

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We pulled up to the house and I was like Christmas morning excited to see Amanda and see the love I knew she was pouring into the event. Amanda and I met on Instagram as well and after small talk here and there, developed a friendship which has been so special to me. We laughed about how the last time we came to visit I was SO pregnant with Frankie and was actually dilated to an 8 and had to go on bed rest like the day after we hung out. 😀 #worthit. Anyway, we walked in and were met with the warmest welcome and if you’ve been to Amanda’s house, you walk in and just feel home. I have gleaned so much inspiration from her as a mother and from the care she pours into everything she does.

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I started to recognize people from Instagram and it was so fun getting to visit in real life! I recognized this gem, Whitney, but had no idea that within minutes she would become one of my new favorite people on this planet! Then another person, Karen, whom we literally met just a few weeks prior while we were visiting our sweet friend Stephanie in Colorado Springs.

15C9FE81-8730-4A6A-B010-661A1D86252ELife is so strange sometimes and it was so cool how so many of us shared connections we didn’t know we had. I got to meet friends I have followed on Instagram for years, meet shop owners whom we’ve collaborated with, meet incredible artists and mothers and shop owners and just truly beautiful, beautiful people! I felt like I walked away with new friendships to cherish and such precious memories!

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We ate fancy cheeses and exotic grapes and felt pretty cool:D

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Then we ate fancy bread, exotic butters and felt even more cool:D

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There wasn’t a moment that felt awkward or uncomfortable, it was just so fun! I will share Amanda’s blog on this evening at the end of this, so you can read about more details of the night!   The food was incredible! Amanda worked so hard and it was transparent in every bite! She taught us how to make delicious ricotta, introduced us to foods we had never experienced, and gave us a very fun culinary experience. But what made the evening really magical was the booze:D Totally joking!

E28B1FC8-F906-456E-9724-3F6113EB7628 It was the awesome fellowship and connection we shared with each other around the table.16F15AF4-79C0-4746-82FB-85BFE0A3047B

Sunday Suppers is intended to be a celebration of good food and great community and it was that and so much more! Amanda and Andrew worked so hard and poured themselves into each nook and cranny of the evening, and it was just so special! Have I said special and magical enough.

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Chris and I work in ministry and it is very rare for us to attend anything where we are not in charge or serving in some role of leadership and even more rare to do anything without our children. While we love our children and serving others very much, this evening felt so freeing! We got to go and just be Chris and Amanda. We had no agenda, no obligations, no responsibilities or expectations to fulfill. We held hands, laughed, told stories, heard amazing stories,  had teary moments and left feeling beyond refreshed. We couldn’t stop talking about it the whole way home. I know Amanda had intentions to make this a special night, but I don’t think she knew how truly life giving it would be for some of us. I walked away feeling so renewed!

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It’s honestly hard to find the right words to describe how wonderful the evening was. Amanda writes this, “The smiles and warmth in these photos say it all. Making food for others is one of the ways I show love to those I care about, and when done where we live, it’s even more meaningful for me. It’s home. Andrew and I did our best to make our guests feel at home, and in return, they gave us meaningful conversation, memories, and laugher, along with a newfound perspective of what gathering and sharing a meal can truly do for our souls. Like a steadfast buoy in a turbulent sea, this evening lifted the spirits of all who came and gathered and shared. The vulnerability in not knowing who would show up, both for us hosting and the guests, made for a delicate experience that blanketed our home in grace. The world needs more of this. Our supper was one I know we will talk about for the rest of our lives, and one that will live on in the new friendships we made around the table breaking bread.”

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The world needs more of this indeed! We will cherish this evening for as long as we can remember it! If you get the opportunity to attend a Sunday Suppers event, we highly recommend it! I feel like I’m leaving out a million things, but basically we walked away with the reminder that we were made for community. We were made to enjoy the good things our Creator created and with one another! Eat Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

(The photos shared here are a collection of photos taken personally, some from Amanda herself, some taken by people whom attended and from MacyAnn, who took photos of the evening.)

You can read about this evening from Amanda’s perspective here. http://www.homesongblog.com/autumn/sunday-suppers-autumn-sobremesa-tips-for-hosting-large-gatherings/

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Cozying up with Burrow

Chris and I have been super fortunate and have been given almost every single piece of furniture that we own as a hand-me-down. While this is so awesome, we have also recently learned that well worn in furniture sometimes doesn’t last so long and we also learned that the couch that once comfortably sat the two of us, could no longer sit all SIX of us. So, our hunt for the perfect sofa began.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI wanted a couch that could comfortably fit all six of us. I wanted something grey or beige because you know how I do.  I wanted something that was easy to keep clean, could handle 4 little monkeys and all their jumping and wrestling, something that would fit our space, and let’s be real… One that would hold up to all of the netflix and chilling that goes on☺️☺️ Chris’ only requests were that the couch be midcentury, grey, tufted, that it could handle getting a little burrito or coffee on it, and he seconded the netflix and chill criteria.

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I remember scrolling through instagram and seeing someone with the beige sofa from Burrow and loving it! I checked out their website and as soon as I saw this sofa, I knew she was the one. It met all of our criteria, shipped in super-easy-to-assemble pieces, and I’m really happy we went with this one. We chose the King Sofa in Crushed Gravel with High Arm, Dark Wood Legs and paired it with a matching Ottoman. 74B49745-FAA0-4028-AA42-5F00DC266789Chris says this is the first couch that he’s been able to lay all the way down on, he’s 6’4 and has plenty of space!!🙌🙌We are so grateful that we can all cuddle up together! Oh! And it has a phone charger!! So you can do adult things like charge your phone while you veg out and neglect your other adulting responsibilities.

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As I type this, Norah, our 6 year old, is laying with me and I asked her what her thoughts on the couch were and quote her exact words. “The couch? It’s good. It’s beautiful. It’s comfy. It’s really good for pictures. It fitteds all of us. We can sit down on it. We can watch tv as a family…and do i pee on it? Yes.” Her words, friends:D And she ain’t lying:D. We pretty much can’t stop laughing now.

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Actually, the only thing that I might change about the sofa, as a mother of peeing babes is to have removable covers on the seat cushions. But, the covers are really easy to clean! I just spray the sofa with my homemade pee remover, sprinkle with baking soda, and she’s as good as new. Mostly, I’m just in the stage of life where I prefer anything that can be  peed on to be removable😂 Oh, and that reminds me. The top and bottom cushions are reversible so you can have the tufted look, a super clean, minimal look, or that let’s-just-flip-the-cushions-over-until-we-clean-that-coffee-stain-off look:D

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Anyway, if you’re on the hunt for a lovely sofa and your criteria is similar to ours,  please pay Burrow a little visit! We are enjoying this sofa so much!!

pillows || @maewoven & @theivorygull

photog || @megganharrisonphotography

(Disclosure: This post was made possible by Burrow, but all opinions expressed are my own honest opinions.)



 

A Barn Full of Memories: An Interview with Framebridge

A corner shot of a room with a wicker chair and flowers on the windowsill. A framed drawing of a red barn hangs on the wall in a gold frame.

Years ago, Amanda Pahls and her husband Chris were married in a big red barn. When Amanda rediscovered an art print of the barn that was given to the couple on their wedding day, she had to get it up right away. Here’s the story of the day the Pahls began their life together.

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Why did you decide to get married in this barn? 

Chris and I knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, but the barn just kind of happened. We wanted a large venue and we were fresh out of college with a very tight budget and the barn just kind of fell into place! We drove out to look at the barn together and it was just gorgeous!

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There were chickens running around, beautiful fields of wild flowers, lush greenery, a gorgeous homemade wooden swing hanging from one of the large trees, the most beautiful sky, and it just felt so right. 

 

How did you come by this art piece of the barn?

The owners of the barn were so kind to us for our wedding. It was so special. When we arrived for the ceremony, the owner Gloria gave us this lovely print of the barn as a wedding gift. We saved it but never framed it. On the back of the print was a card that gave us the history of the barn and print! The print is titled “Fall Harvest” and is a Prismacolor pencil drawing done by Cherylene Caver.

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The site was homesteaded by Karl W. and Augusta Martin in 1893 and the spacious barn constructed in 1916. The barn served as a safe haven for livestock during winter storms and has now been renovated to be able to host special events like our wedding. The print captures a moment that was photographed in the Fall of 1921 and depicts Karl and Augusta’s son, Carl, putting the fall hay crop up into the barn. It’s so cool having this special piece of history to warm up our home and to remind us of our wedding day!

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To be honest, I kind of forgot about it until I was moving some things around in our new home and found it! I knew I wanted Framebridge to frame this piece as soon as I found it, as we have a few other special pieces framed by them that we really enjoy.

A poster my husband designed for our family. My hand in his with the lyrics, “we are family, I got all sisters with me”, a song Chris sings to our daughters often.  

 

A family portrait painting from @lachlanandlenny and one of my favorite family photos taken by my friend @bethanymeysenburg framed in some of our favorite Framebridge frames.

 

What does having the framed piece in your home mean to you?

I look at this print and I remember the way everything felt on our wedding day. I remember the big ol’ white fluffy clouds that look like they were straight out of the Toy Story movie. I think about all of our friends and family from around the globe who joined us and made the day so special for us.

I remember my little brother walking me down the aisle and how strange this was. I had always imagined my father doing this, but our father and sister were killed in a tragic car accident a year before this special day. I remember my brother telling jokes as he walked me towards my almost husband and the incredible mix of emotions I was feeling, but how the joy of marrying my best friend was stronger than all the other emotions.

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To most people, this will just look like a photo of a barn, but when I look at it, I feel so much peace, love, and joy.

I look at this print and remember the life that led up to the day that we said “I do” and all of the life that we have shared together since and grateful is not nearly a strong enough word.

 

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(Disclosure: This post was made possible by Framebridge but all opinions expressed are my own.)

Operation Purty Mouth

3E3C464E-740E-48FD-9AE1-693F9CC93938.jpegOk, so recently I have felt this big urge to take better care of myself. I wouldn’t say that I have completely let myself go, but I have definitely neglected a few things that I don’t want to neglect any longer. I gained many a pound with Norah and right about the time I would get back into my pre-pregnancy pants, was right about the time that I found out I was pregnant, again and again and again:D But for real! I have said it several times, but I have been pregnant and breastfeeding without a break since late 2011. While I love this with every ounce of my being, those ounces, along with some other poor habits, have really added up, and I am ready to nourish my body in ways I just haven’t been doing well.

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I’ve started eating better, juicing again, working out a bit, celebrating the Sabbath with our family, am trying to incorporate several new habits and routines into our days at home and have even committed to taking better care of my teeth! Teeth you say?! Yep! Guys, my teeths be jacked up! A lot of it is due to poor habits, years of not taking better care of them, several weird teeth injuries and then they seemed to have actually gotten worse while pregnant and breastfeeding? Maybe that’s because I have chosen extra sleep over flossing too many times, but anyway, I’m ready to take much better care of and fix my mouth!

IMG_6476I don’t consider myself an insecure person, but as my teeth have continued to shift and their condition has deteriorated, I have found myself becoming insecure about my smile.  I tried finding recent photos of myself smiling confidently in the direction of the camera, and I couldn’t really find any. My go to poses are kiss a baby, look at a baby, laugh at a baby, and have a baby 🙂 I do genuinely enjoy candid photos more than posed ones, but I have definitely noticed that my being insecure about my smile has affected the way I interact with cameras.

With all of that being said, I am so excited to share that I have teamed up with a local dentist to commence ‘Operation Purty Mouth!” I’m not saying I don’t feel pretty or don’t like my mouth, I just think I will like it more with a full set of teeth that line up in a fancier fashion and match one another:D So, over the next few months, I will be sharing this super fun collaboration with you guys!

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Meet Dr. Guy Gross.  He’s the man behind ‘Operation Purty Mouth’. Dr. Guy  has been working on some really cool stuff that I had no idea even existed before visiting with him. He and his wife, Dr. Kate, started their family friendly practice, New Horizons together and they’re working really hard to take care of people and boost their confidence with a healthy smile.  Dr. Guy focuses almost exclusively on dental implants, restorative, cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry, along with educating other dentists so they can use these awesome new techniques and technologies to fix up them pearly whites! I’ve been to many dental practices and this was honestly one of the nicest I have ever been to! I was greeted by the friendliest ladies at the desk and one of the first things I saw when I walked in was the little coffee bar! Blessed be! There was plenty of stuff to keep the little ladies entertained and did I mention the coffee? Ok, before I talk any more dental jargon or share with you the details of my experience so far, let me introduce you to my mouth.

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To begin, I am missing a tooth that I had to get pulled recently because I most likely cracked it while wrestling Chris in college:D No, I’m not using an innuendo, I have legit broken my tailbone, had double whiplash, had both feet sprained and a had a tooth or several cracked and chipped while wrestling around with friends. So fun, but also maybe a bit costly. I should note, I’ve retired my wrestling career to ensure the safety of all my new teeth and the rest of my body parts. While I am sure that some people are super into missing teeth, I really miss her and am excited to have a new tooth moving in!

Second, I have a tooth we will call snaggletooth whom loves a fresh breeze and is slowly working her way out so she can better feel the full effects of the wind against her sideways self. Dr. Guy gave me several options to correct this tooth and after weighing some options, we decided caging her up with some discrete, comfortable and convenient Invisalign trays would be best to tame her curious and outgoing ways. She’s been a stubborn gal for a long time! You can see me back in my prime when we tried to tame snaggletooth’s wild ways a few years back:D So thankful for the technological advances in dentistry!

 

Last but not least, I’m getting a blue tooth upgrade! When I was a teenager I was being super cool and jumping on the trampoline with a hose. Smart! I was feeling so cool splashing around under the hot summer sun… That is until the metal end of the hose whipped up and broke one of my teeth in half. So lame, but made for a good laugh and a great tan! I had a root canal and a crown put on the broken tooth but over the years she has changed colors, been replaced and popped off many a time. Blue tooth has gone adventuring on her own while white water rafting, hiking, boogie boarding, simply biting into a delicious baked good and one of my all-time favorites, the time she jumped out of my mouth while I was just checking out at the grocery store:D Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds and you have to ask your cashier if they could kindly hand you your tooth:D Blue tooth and I know how to persevere!

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signature look at a baby pose:D

I tell you all of this fun history so you can understand how truly grateful I am for this partnership! Let’s go back to where this partnership began. Have you guys ever done a smile virtual consult before? I hadn’t either but am glad I did. Dr. Guy had me submit a couple photos of my teeth to their website and share what I was hopeful to correct about my smile. He then got back to me a few days later with a video highlighting all of the options there were to fix these things; Different procedures, different timelines, different prices and shared some pros and cons of all of them. It was so nice to learn the specific options for my case from the comfort of my couch. Did I mention this was all free?! So cool! . If you’re needing some work done and are wanting to know your options, you have got to check this smile virtual consult out. From there, I made an appointment and went in to meet Dr. Guy. I was super impressed with their staff and facility! This place be fancy! Two words, massage chairs! We then decided what we would do to my mouth and that’s where the fun begins.

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A few weeks later, I came back in to begin the implant process. I got nestled into my massage chair, was given a cozy blanket and was just treated so well. Dr. Guy uses a pretty incredible technique that he has been fine crafting and I am super impressed! It’s a minimally invasive, super fast technique that makes for an almost instant recovery, very little pain, no bleeding, no stitches and overall a pretty pleasant experience. I maybe sort of watched him do my procedure via the reflection of an iPhone, and it was seriously so cool. The whole thing from start to finish lasted 6 minutes! And, I was barely sore afterwards. I’ve left wrestling matches feeling much worse. In all seriousness though, I was incredibly impressed with how easy and convenient this procedure was and with, Dr. Guy’s skills and with New Horizons as a whole.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFor those of you who might be wondering what exactly an implant is, let me enlighten you. It’s a big ol’ metal post, titanium to be exact, which is what Captain America’s shield was made from. Don’t be silly, that was vibranium, and yes I totally just goggled that. Anyway, that post was literally implanted into my jaw bone where my former tooth used to be using some kind of magic because I saw no blood and felt no pain. Let me repeat, a big ol’ metal rod was implanted into my bones and it didn’t bleed or leave me feeling like I just had a metal rod inserted into my face! The bone will now grow around my new metal buddy and create a replacement “root”, providing a cozy new home for new tooth to go! Welcome home new tooth! This badboy should last a lifetime, and can help prevent further damage to the bone, tissue and other teeth surrounding the implantation site. Plus, ain’t nobody gonna know its fake… except for all of you:D I have been amazed at how many people have shared with me they need an implant since staring this process, so if you’re in need of an implant and have been hesitant because of fearing the process, you need to look into this. You can read more here.

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Now let’s move on to Invisalign ! I later met with Chelsea and Dr. Kate to discuss taming ol’ snaggletooth.

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I decided on Invisalign because there are two things my husband has asked me not to do since we got married; get bangs or metal braces. So, you’re welcome husband. These trays are for you and sweet snaggletooth. There were no weird gels or molds or alginate that I had to cram in my mouth, just a scan that makes a digital mold of my teeth. Technology is seriously so cool! Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

After getting scanned, Dr. Kate walked me through what the next few steps would look like. In my specific case, I need 13 trays to get my teeth where we want them. I’m almost 2 weeks in and very impressed to see that my teeth have already shifted! If you’re not very familiar with Invisalign, they’re pretty convenient. You wear each set of trays for about a week, take them out to eat and brush and leave them in the rest of the time. Ideally, the trays should be worn 22 hours a day and, I’ve found that’s pretty easy to manage. Today I’ll start my second round of trays and I kind of can’t belive that this process is so fast! Each case varies, but I’m just so impressed with this technology!

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If you are currently looking for a new dentists or are curious about your options, New Horizons has several practices you can choose from! New Horizons Dental Care belongs to New Horizons Dental Practice Management, with 6 other practices in Salina, Wichita, Tulsa, Rossville, Lenexa, Shawnee, Olathe and are continuing to grow.

Thank you so much Dr. Guy and the New Horizons team! We are so thankful to get to partner with you!

(Disclosure: This post was made possible thanks to Dr. Guy Gross and New Horizons Dental team, but all opinions expressed here are my honest opinions.)

 

 

 

Spring baking with Rough Linen

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If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know momma likes herself a baked good!

You know what I also like? Baking delicious baked goods with our daughters!

You know what else I like? Linen!

You know what I really like? Matching with the little ladies!

You know what I really, really like? Baking delicious goodness with our daughters while wearing “matchy matchy” linen pinafore aprons!!!

I am so grateful to get to partner with the lovely shop Rough Linen!  What is it about linen that is so perfect?! I can’t get enough of it! If I had to choose one kind of fabric to live in, it would be linen. I want to wear it, sleep in it, use it in the kitchen and dining room and bathroom and on my furniture and pretty much it is just the best ever!

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For real though, I absolutely love baking with the little ladies and I am so grateful to get to partner with such a beautiful company to make our baking sessions ever more enjoyable!

The girls love wearing aprons when we bake, but they love it even more now that they all have their own special pinafores!

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Tricia Rose, the owner of Rough Linen  says her company kind of started by accident. She used linen that was very special to her to make lovely things around her home and her friends started asking her to make the items she was making or herself and from that passion and sharing her gifts, Rough Linen was born.

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I have the Regular Natural Pinafore and it is absolutely perfect! The girls have both the Children’s Smooth Natural and the St. Barts Aqua.  And, if you know a mom and daughter crew who might love these, Rough Linen is currently offering a Pair of Pinnies Gift Set made up with a mom and daughter pinafore in the colors of your choosing! Seriosuly so adorable!

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Ada’s pinnie has been very well loved!

Since Spring time is among us, making lemon bars just felt right! I love lemon bars. Homemade lemon bars paired with a delicious cup of coffee is like one of my all time favorite pairings!  My husband’s too! So, I asked him if he would take some photos if I paid him in lemon bars and coffee and he kindly obliged. Thank you husband! You are awesome!

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Chris and I have been trying to eat much healthier, but we definitely splurged with these bad boys! We were inspired by a Paula Dean recipe, and man… she does not disappoint! I have to say inspired though because I promise the girls took some serious creative licensing with the proportions in this recipe. However, I’ve never enjoyed a lemon bar more, so good job ladies! Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

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While I absolutely love baking with the girls, things have also changed a bit since Ada has joined the girl club.  She is amazing and hilarious and the sweetest kind of sweet that exists… But, she’s also TWO!  So, as lovely as it is to bake together, you also need to know that I definitely lose my patience with the girls in this season of life too. We have a blast, but after the third prematurely cracked egg and fifth handful of flour in Ada’s hair, we also had to have a regroup, an explanation as to why mom is yelling and another cup of coffee:D Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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sooo much flour in ada’s hair:D and the table and the floor and in the pockets of her apron and just errrryyywhere. #worthit!

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aaaaaaand, we still haven’t finished painting the kitchen:D we’ll get there!

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The crust was the most delicious thick buttery shortbread and the lemon filling was moist but almost more like a cake brownie than your normal “gel like” filling. The edges were super chewy and caramelized and I don’t know what the girls did, but I definitely wish I would have been taking notes!

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Paula Dean Inspired Lemon Bars

Here is the Paula Dean recipe we used, but like I mentioned above, the girls got pretty creative:D

Ingredients

  • 2 cups for crust, plus 6 tablespoons for filling all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus more for dusting confectioner’s sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks at room temperature, plus more for greasing butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
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Directions

Preheat that oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease 9x13x2-inch pan.

Make the scrumptious crust by combining 2 cups flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture or have toddlers smash it up in their hands for a more spa-like experience. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and by press, I mean let your toddlers punch it in the pan for 15 minutes. You may need to dip your fingers into a little flour or confectioner’s sugar to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. We’ve also found that dolloping heaps of flour into the crust and everywhere else works great! Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, mix the eggs, granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons flour and lemon juice. We’ve found that it’s more more time efficient to crack the eggs into a bowl. Pour this over the well- beaten and baked crust and bake for 25 minutes longer. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and try your best to practice that self-control!

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you ever just look at your babies and want to cry the most grateful tears

 

 

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don’t be fooled. they were actually fighting over the stool:)

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she doesn’t look 12. she doesn’t look 12. she doesn’t look 12. why does she look 12?!!

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Thank you so much Rough Linen for helping make our baking even more exciting!

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(Disclosure: This post was made possible thanks to Rough Linen but all opinions expressed here are my honest and genuine opinions.)

Baby, It’s cold outside…

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Back in December, which literally feels like yesterday, we had the privilege to meet up with a super sweet and local photographer, Meggan Harrison, and warm up in one of our favorite local coffee shops as a family of SIX! Still not over saying that:D  We used to take Norah and Charlie to this coffee shop most weekends and now with 4 it’s gotten a bit tougher… But we have such sweet memories in this place and enjoy making new ones! Coffee shops with my loves will always be one of my favorite things! Here are a few of my favorite photos from our visit with Meggan.

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Ada’s first time having whipped cream and she was so happy about it:D

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I love watching the girls grow in independence, but I also already miss them needing me to put on and take off their coats and all of the little things I will only get to do fro them for so long…

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I love watching them order for themselves these days.

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Records have become a new fun family hobby and this guy loves taking his little ladies to find new records in new shops.  There is something so fun about putting on a record and having a dance party! 

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Why does she look 12?!

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I think about the ladies and who they will be and look forward to the many things we will share with one another over our favorite coffee drinks.

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I HAVE FOUR DAUGHTERS!!!!!:D

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I mean…

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Oh sweet Frankie… She’s already changed so much since then….

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These ladies are so blessed to get to call this dude their dad. He’s seriously the best!

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Chris taught me how to play chess in this coffee shop. We used to have late night coffee & chess dates and he beat me every time.

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Ada is definitely a daddy’s girl and watching them together gives me feels beyond feels.

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Oh Charlie! She

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They kind of flipped out when they found Star Wars:D

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Their daddy got them hooked on Star Wars and I’m totally ok with it!

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But seriously!

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Watching their imaginations and relationships with one another grow is one of my all time favorite things right now!

So many memories in a sweet little coffee shop that I just don’t ever want to forget. Thank you so much Meggan!

 

Norah and Charlie’s dresses and tights are from IraLovesMae

The Girls’ bows are from SewLovedCo

Ada’s dress is from SheLovesHerMama

Frankie’s romper from PetiteCoo

Momma’s Ring Sling from Kanthabae

Dress from DwellandSlumber

Leggings from LalabuLalabu

It’s Cutie Time

We are very grateful to have partnered with Cuties and their 100 Days of Sunshine campaign to share with you our love of kindness and delicious little clementines, of course! Cuties has launched this campaign in the hopes that these little clementines will be a reminder to spread the light and to motivate us to brighten the lives of those around us through kindness. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Did you know that February 16 is Random Acts of Kindness Day? I did not, but now that I do, we want to celebrate by making something we can share with our friends. The little ladies and I decided that making up a sweet little care package for some friends who have recently had babies would be a fun way to spread some of that sunshine and Cuties love! A handful of Cuties, a few cute baby items and a little something made with love from the ladies and I!

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We could eat a bag of Cuties a week, and sometimes we do, so I asked the girls to start saving their peels in a jar for me instead of throwing them away.  Luckily, Cuties are easy to peel so the older girls can help themselves.

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I share with the girls that we would be making something special with the peels, an all-natural, clementine cleaner, safe enough for the little ladies to help me clean with and one we feel good about gifting to our new momma friends! Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

So, now that Cuties are back in stores, go grab a bag, eat as many as you want, try this cleaner out and share it with your friends!

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All-Natural, All-Purpose Cuties Cleaner

Ingredients

Cuties peels (enough to fill most of the jar of your choosing)

White vinegar (enough to fill up your jar and cover them peels)

Equipment

1 large canning jar with a fitted lid
Strainer
Big ol’ bowl
Spray bottle

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Save your Cuties peels: As you use are saving these, you can share with your children that a lot of things we often throw away can be repurposed and used again and discuss the beauty of recycling and repurposing and see if they can come up with some creative repurposing ideas!

Add that vinegar: Once your jar is halfway full to all the way full, pour vinegar over the peels until it fills the jar. Cover your jar with a lid, and allow it to hang out in a dark place for two weeks. This turns one of my least favorite smells into one of my favorite smells! You can talk to your jar or play music for it, but I couldn’t find any evidence that this would make your cleaner any better:D You know I love me some mom jokes:D

Strain it: After two weeks, strain your Cuties cleaner using a fine strainer and catch that liquid goodness in your bowl. Now you can throw away your peels or add them to your compost or maybe make some fermented Cuties earrings.. Totally joking. Don’t make fermented anything earrings, please.

Pour you Cuties Clean into a bottle: Add your Cuties cleaner to a spray bottle, use it as you would any other all purpose cleaner and gift away! Oh, and if you want it to be extra hip, print off a cute label and give your cleaner a fun name!  We stuck with, Cuties Clean, but I bet you could get creative and name your cleaner something awesome!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe girls and I had a lot of fun making this and had fun conversation in the process. We ate Cuties together, counted Cuties, maybe even tried to juggle Cuties, and learned that we should probably just stick more to the eating and counting part.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAnyway, I hope that you will join us in blessing someone with a random act of kindness, not just on February 16th, but whenever you think to do it. And as silly as it may seem, let those sweet little Cuties act as a reminder to be the sunshine and spread it around as much as you can!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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(Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Cuties by all opinions stated are my honest opinions.)

Picnicking at Home with ALDI

There truly is no place like home. I actually look forward to winter because it means more cozy moments spent inside our home. Don’t get me wrong, I love going on adventures and getting out, but there’s just something so perfect about hanging out at home, especially during these extra chilly months.

FC3D0431-4AFC-4763-906B-FC3A353D3D05One of the girls’ favorite winter activities to do as a family is to have indoor picnics. Indoor picnics are so easy and fun! We lay down a leather mat and some blankets, spread out, and enjoy a sweet little meal together on the living room floor.

Indoor picnics are wonderful and there are endless possibilities of the foods you can serve and so many fun, even educational, themes you can create within a picnic.

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The girls had been asking us to have a big picnic for a while, so when ALDI reached out and asked us to share some of our favorite ALDI items that have received the Chefs in America American Masters of Taste Gold Medal Endorsements, I didn’t hesitate to say yes! After I read the list of their 46 award-winning Items, I got pretty excited!

Fancy meats, cheeses, and booze?! Yes please! There were several other items to receive the Gold Medal Endorsements in 2017, but these ingredients are basically my love language, so… Let the fancy indoor picnic party commence!
For real though guys, we love ALDI!  I never knew about ALDI until we had been settled in and married for a while, and it makes me so happy. We pay half of what we were paying before on our groceries, we always find delicious, organic foods, and the girls now save quarters around the house for our cart, which we then hand off to somebody each time we go.  It’s only $.25, but it truly does teach our girls and gets them excited about small acts of kindness.

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This time, Dad went all out and made us poached eggs and prosciutto on buttered sourdough toast. SO thankful for this husband of mine!
So, let me share with you what we got to make Momma’s fancy indoor picnic dreams come true. You can get everything pictured here from your local ALDI, so your picnic dreams are only one stop away!

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First you need to get them fancy meats. Appleton Farms Italian Styles Capocollo, Sopressata, and Prosciutto. Guys, if you like meat… just yes.
Then you need some cheesy yum yums! Happy Farms Preferred Apple Smoked Cheddar, Rustic Red Cheddar, and Vintage English Cheddar.  Momma likes her some cheddar! The Rustic Red literally felt like it melted in my mouth and it may or may not have paired perfectly with some sweet red wine for a little late night snack with Dad.

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The girls ask us to have apples and grapes with every picnic we have so we also picked up some red grapes, organic gala apples, Savoritz crackers, sourdough bread and some apple juice for the little ladies.
You put all of this together and, BAM! Perfect winter indoor picnic! I hope you guys enjoy lots of indoor picnics with all of your favorite people and foods this winter!

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(Disclosure: This post was sponsored and made possible by ALDI, but all opinions expressed are my honest opinions.)

ONE MORE MAKES SIX

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I recently got to partner with the lovely Bethany Meysenburg and Artifact Uprising to bring to life some creative visions Bethany and I had, and I am overwhelmed with gratefulness with the end result!

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Several months ago, I was looking at the ol ‘gram and stumbled upon a crazy beautiful feed! I soon realized that this was a photographer named Bethany Meysenberg and then realized she lived close by!  Bethany’s photos are so moody and romantic and once I realized she lived close by,  I knew I wanted to work with her!  After visiting, we decided to work together as a creative collaboration, and I am so thankful we did!  Some of the belongings that I value the most are the photographs we have been so blessed with by our sweet friends who happen to be incredible photographers and have chosen to bless us with their passions and talents!

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Photos are one of those things that I have learned to treasure so much.  I don’t think I ever thought too much about photography until my father and sister passed away.  The photos I have help me to keep the memories I have of them and even sometimes remind me of a memory I had forgotten or tell a story I still didn’t yet know about them.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetI am able to share photos with our daughters photos of the Grandpa and Aunt they don’t get to meet in this world.  I get to share my childhood and my memories with our daughters so well because of photos! When I say I treasure these moments captured, I truly mean it.  We’ve only done a few family photo sessions and usually only when we welcome a baby, so about every year:D, but I’m going to try and be more intentional about taking and printing more of the daily moments we capture.

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Sometimes I have been teased for taking so many photos, especially of our daughters feet or photos where they’re not facing the camera, but I know all too well that these moments and tiny details that I love so much, might one day be forgotten if not for the sweet photos that I will have to look back on and remind me.

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The way Norah looks at her little sisters, how she takes being a big sister so seriously; Charlie’s pigtails and the way she almost always has a collection of toys, make up brushes or art tools in her hands; The concentrated stare and little tongue Ada sticks out and presses onto her upper lip while reading and building blocks or how she’s climbing on everything lately; Frankie’s itty bitty toes, her dark little locks and pouty lips; The way our girls jump on the bed and dance together.

DSC_9934The way they look at their daddy with this look that lets me know they understand how treasured and valued they are; And the way he looks at them that reminds me just how blessed I am to be married to such an incredible man! Oh, and Chris’ sexy beard and luscious hair that may be receding a bit more each day:D These are things I don’t ever want to forget…

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Maybe one day the girls will look back and think, “I remember you reading us that book mom!”, or “look at dad and that guitar he still plays!”  I want them to have their childhood captured in photos so that they one day can share their childhood and memories of us with their children and grandchildren.

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Because photos are so special to me, I knew I needed to start printing them. I’ve been terrible at this and have felt a lot of conviction to print more photos as there is just something so special about having a tangible photo to hold. There seems to be so much more life in printed photos.  I recently had some lovely prints made from Artifact Uprising and the quality was amazing!  When I saw these new Flatlay Photo Albums , I knew I wanted to get some of our favorite photos captured by Bethany  printed in one of these. And I am so glad we did!!! This book is definitely a treasure! I already am working on another one!

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The girls and I went through it several times and I maybe just wept because I am so thankful for the blessing that these photos and this book are…

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This book is super special. My Grammy gifted this to the little ladies and it is one of the books they always choose when I ask them to pick out a book to read. In it, Grammy wrote a scripture, one she has written in all of my books that she gifted to me when I was the girls’ age.  Proverbs 3:5-6. My mom saved all of these books from our childhood and recently gifted them to me. Another thing I truly treasure!

So, with that, I’ll leave you with a few more photos! If you live in Kansas and are looking for a photographer, please check out Bethany Meysenburg and if you’re looking to get some photos printed, books made or some unique and meaningful gifts to gift, check out our friends at Artifact Uprising!

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DSC_9697DSC_9640DSC_0158Here’s a little slideshow that I discovered after inserting the photos above:D!

 

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Also, without printed photos, I wouldn’t be able to share these gems with you:D Think of this as a thank you for reading!

(Disclosure: This blog was made possible thanks to a partnership with Bethany Meysenburg and Artifact Uprising, but every word is my honest opinion.)

How we Holiday: Traveling with 4 babes & a little help from Philips Avent

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I love this special time of year! I love the weather and the decor and the music and the smells and the food and the fashion and, especially, the Holidays that gather us together with friends and family! My family is in Colorado and my husband’s family in Nebraska so the Holidays usually mean traveling for us! I remember feeling so overwhelmed traveling with our babe as a first time mom.  I almost always forgot to put diapers and wipes in my diaper bag and I thought I needed to pack the entire baby section from Target as well… Turns out you don’t need all of Target, but diapers and wipes are a MUST! I don’t want to call ourselves experts by any means, but we have learned a few tricks along the way to make traveling with babies, toddlers and little ladies a little bit easier!

So with the Holiday season upon us, we have partnered with PhilipsAvent to share with you a few of our favorite products to take on the road with us to make traveling and Holidaying a bit easier!

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We have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, an almost 2 yr old and a 2 month old. This might sound stressful, but it is amazing! In fact, traveling as a family is one of my absolute favorite things to do!

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The girls love it because they get to watch some of their favorite movies along the way, and I love it because it means sipping coffee, long talks with my husband and listening to our favorite podcasts together while the littles sleep. Car rides are actually one of the most refreshing things to me, so I greatly look forward to road trips whenever we get the chance!

As much as I love traveling as a family, there are a few things that I have found make our trips a lot more comfortable for everybody. I will share with you some of the things we bring in the ol’ swagger wagon and what I pack in my mom bag to make for a smoother ride.

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It seems like wherever we go anywhere, the girls start yelling to the front of the van, “We’re thirsty!” After waaayy too many spilled drinks, we have found these PhilipsAvent Straw Cups work wonderfully! They’re leak-proof, easy to hold, BPA free and the straw doesn’t fall off and get lost in the liquid abyss! The big girls seem to really enjoy them and since they’re leak proof, I’m not afraid to stash them in my diaper bag! Philips has several different leak-proof sippy cup options but the little ladies picked out these sweet ‘matchy matchy’ pink ones.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe big girls are pretty much all set to travel with a drink, some snacks and a little throw blanket, but newborns can be a bit more particular.  One thing we have learned 4 babies in is, ALWAYS pack extra pacifiers! Always! Somehow those bad boys have a way of disappearing. Chris and I used to joke that we should buy stock in pacifiers because we were buying so many! Now we know, put a clip on it if you can, and always bring extras! Frankie really seems to like these Soothies and they are BPA free and have a little hole to slip a pacifier clip through! And let’s be honest… they’re super cute:D

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Don’t worry… I take her bonnets off when she sleeps…

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Sometimes, our babies will sleep for the entire trip! While this can be great for the whole family, this breastfeeding mom needs a little relief on the long trips! I have traveled with my double electric pump, but have found that it is much easier for me to just travel with a small manual pump that I can use while we drive. It’s small, doesn’t need a power source, there aren’t a bunch of tubes, it’s discrete, easy to use, and allows me to pump and store a few ounces that I can use to feed Frankie at another time, or use to mix in her probiotics. Oh! And it’s silent, so it doesn’t interrupt our podcasts or the girls watching Elf on a continuous loop:D

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe manual pump comes with the perfect sized travel bottle for collecting a couple ounces of milk along the way.  I try to use glass over plastic whenever I can and so I’m thankful PhilipsAvent also carries these natural glass baby bottles ! I can store any milk I pump in one of these bad boys and feed Frankie with one if I need to!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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I hope some of you traveling mommas will find this little piece helpful for all of your road tripping adventures in your future! I feel like I’m forgetting something… Maybe that’s just mom brain or because I almost always forget something:D

FED80974-657A-44A3-A02C-3E96A15A7A2C.jpegAlso, I shared a detailed rundown of what I bring with me in my diaper bag about a year ago and not much has changed. I added a few new things, but if you’re wanting a few more details about what I have found helpful to have in my diaper bag when we travel, you can check it out at https://amandapahls.com/2017/01/13/whats-in-my-bag-today/

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Thank you PhilipsAvent and, from our family to yours, we wish you a Happy Holiday and Merry Everything!

(Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored by PhilipsAvent, but all opinions expressed here are my own, personal and honest opinions.)