Layers are the secret!!

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Hi friends. I want to tell you a little trick I’ve learned in my years as a homemaker. There are lots of different secrets and tips to make you home look the way you want, but I am going to tell you my all-time favorite recipe for COZY!!

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We have the honor of working with our friends Garnet Hill to showcase the magic powers of LAYERING!!! I like to joke around a lot about my love of pillows and blankets, and also maybe chairs and wardrobes and then also baskets:D  But! there is a reality that I’m super influenced by my environment and when I feel cozy, our days just function so much better.
As the weather is cooling down and Fall right around the corner, this feels like the right time to show you how I try and create cozy spaces with layers.

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I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of typical Fall decor. I don’t think any less of people who decorate that way, but I don’t own any pumpkins or Fall-themed art. Those just don’t feel like us. However, what I do like to decorate with in the chillier months are more pillows and blankets! The only thing my husband loves more than my collection of pillows and blankets is when I add more pillows and blankets:D But for real, decorating your home should be personal. You should create an environment that makes YOU feel HOME!

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STEP 1. Mattress Topper! We have the Garnet Hill Organic Mattress Pad and are really enjoying it! It’s an easy way to add some extra comfort and protect your mattress. And let’s me real… a lot of stuff just gets peed on these days:)  Honestly, I wish we would have invested in a topper the moment any of us got a new mattress.. Still…better late than never:D

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STEP 2. Down Comforter. Theres something magical about a good down comforter to me! They just add so much coziness to a bed and bedroom. Their fluffiness makes me want to jump right in! I also love that they can be all-weather blankets. When I’m cold they keep me warm and when it’s hot, I don’t feel bothered by them.

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STEP 3. Linen Duvet Cover and Pillow Covers– While I will admit, I have to mentally prepare myself, maybe even stretch a little, before I change a duvet cover,  I love that linen bedding only seems to get cozier and cozier with each wash! Linen covers protect our comforters and are easier to wash than essentially a giant sack of feathers, making the challenge of putting a cover on worth it!

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Step 4. Pillows– Pillows might be my love language 😀 They’re a simple way to add depth, layers, and they can easily be changed out and moved around to make way for differnt color schemes and seasons!

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I like to add vintage pillowcases to our bed and Garnet Hill currently has some that I plan on adding to our room soon! This is a fun way to change up the bedding for the seasons or if you just want a simple refresh. Simple changes can make a huge difference!

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STEP 5. Textures. Don’t be afraid to mix and match textures! In fact, you should do this! Layering different textures and colors doesn’t have to be anything crazy. I like bright whites mixed with warm creams and deeper beiges. When it comes to textures, the more the better for me:D I enjoy layering cottons and silks,  linens,  quilts,  waffle prints and knitted blankets together,  and feel like mixing all of these beautiful textiles together makes for such an inviting space!

 

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STEP 6. The power of the throw blanket! It’s something so simple, but such an easy way to add warmth and layers all over your home! You can simply add a throw to the end of a bed for that lived-in cozy feel! Or easily stuff your messes in baskets and then cover that mess with a beautiful knit throw 🙂Even throw one over a chair or chairs to create cozy little nooks around the house.

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Layering doesn’t just have to be for the beds though! We store throw blankets in baskets and crocks and on the chairs and couches and try to create an environment that’s, not only pretty, but invites us to rest. It’s so nice to be able to have blankets close by to snuggle up in as we read our favorite books and watch our favorite movies together.

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Garnet Hill has such a lovely collection of linens, quilts, florals, waffle knits and we truly enjoy adding their cozy touches to our home!

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See?! layers and textures and patterns together can look SO pretty when it comes to bedding!

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A mix of layered make wardrobes look like this!

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And linen closets look like this!

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Another example of how we have paired a Garnet Hill down comforter and Striped duvet cover with vintage and handmade pieces.

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I think that even messes look pretty with the right textures and layers!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Garnet Hill but all opinions expressed are our own. Thank you Garnet Hill for helping us cozy up our home!

 

That rug really tied the room together | Warming up our home with Rugs Direct

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Rugs Direct, a specialty online retailer of decorative area rugs, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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When we moved into our home, it was covered in baby blue shag carpet and like two inches deep! The previous owners had already pulled up a lot.. but it was still all over. We’re talking in the closets, on the stairs, channeling that blue song from the early 2000’s kind of feels. But under all that shag were gorgeous hardwood floors in immaculate condition! We quickly learned though, that all of that hardwood made for a loud, echoey, and cold space. Not just temperature cold, but there was something missing.

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We started adding rugs, but discovered that we were getting the wrong rugs for us. I remember our first was this thick black and white rug that was just felt too intense for me. As our tastes changed and we added more babies, we got more of a feel for what we liked and wanted in our space. We liked pretty, but we also needed to start focusing on the practical.

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

I originally learned about Rugs Direct through Instagram. I entered a giveawayand won! That’s one of the best feelings! It was a lovely rug which we got questions about all the time. I’ve linked it here . It didn’t take long for me to learn that I needed less. The rugs we bought at first were bold and had a lot of colors and contrasts. I learned that I wanted something more simple for our space. Something that would add warmth, would be easy maintenance and give off the cozy feel that I want people to feel in our home.

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We have this area in our bedroom that kind of feels like a walkway. And it felt so empty. I knew I wanted a rug that was thick, with lots of texture, and neutral colors that would go well with our bedroom. We had a different rug in this spot previously that was pretty, but just did not fit in here. I gifted it to a friend and recently visited her home and it looked amazing in her hallway! Side note: If you’re no longer feeling your rugs or other decor, but they’re in good condition, gift them to friends! It’s such a fun feeling to change your space and get to help someone change theirs at the same time! I love seeing items we have previously loved being loved by someone new!

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Anyways, I saw this one and knew it was the one. Our bedroom has so many warm creams and beiges that it needed something that would match, but not be the same colors. This rug has cooler yellow and sage tones which compliments the wood floors, oatmeal bedding, baskets and leather in our room. It warms up the space so well and made this area feel so much more cozy! I love getting out of bed and walking on it. The textures are so nice to me.

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Bohemian Collection by Safavieh

This particular Bohemian collection is an all-organic, biodegradable and recyclable, hand-knotted in India, and harvested only from Cannabis Sativa (commonly known as the true hemp plant). It’s a quickly renewable resource that excels in length, durability, anti-mildew and antimicrobial properties. So, she’s pretty, but also really  kind of amazing thinking about how much work has gone into such a piece.

The Pahls Family

We have several Jute rugs in our home, and while I love the look of jute, you know the cons if you have one. They’re beautiful and durable, but they stain easily, shed, and are pretty dang itchy. I have found that they work best in high traffic areas like a landing or an area like an office or under a bed where you can see them but not have to sit on them necessarily. They add such a warmth to a space, but are not great if you’re going to be spending lots of time sitting and playing on them.

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We originally had this beautiful bleached Jute rug in the girls’ room, and while I loved the look of it, it just wasn’t cozy to sit and play on. The girls spend so much time in this space and every time I would sit t play with them, I would think about how uncomfortable it was and stand up to find my clothing covered in jute fibers. We needed something much softer and that wouldn’t shed on us.

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Confetti Rug by Colonial Mills

I stumbled upon this Confetti Rug and loved it! It had that beautiful braided and classic look of Jute, but it’s made up of chenille and cotton. It’s so soft and the textures, colors, and oval shape are the perfect compliment to the girl’s room. The soft chenille fibers, soothing colors and reversibility really makes this an amazing rug for a nursery or child’s room. I’ll say that again, this bad boy is reversible! I maybe spilled a cup of coffee and while I got most of it out, I went ahead and flipped her upside down and now she looks brand new!

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They had several colors, but this one had sweet pops of this gorgeous tan and it instantly made me think of our 3 year-old daughter.

The Pahls Family

Our home is made up of lots of neutral colors, with layers of whites, creams, wooden tones and, in one room in particular, LOTS of oranges:D If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that our 3 year old loves the color orange like her momma loves the coffees.

The Pahls Family

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I had originally picked out this rugfor our school room, but it only took about a week with it in that space to realize I had these rugs in the wrong rooms. I switched them and moved the Confetti rug to Ada’s room and it fits this space perfectly!

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Did I mention how well it softens the sounds of towering blocks being knocked down:D

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I’m no genius or interior decorator… But here’s what I’ve learned about rugs. Get what you like and what works for your home. Get a rug that makes your space feel how you like it. Sometimes we’re quick to get a rug because we see someone else have it on social media, which isn’t necessarily wrong, but be sure to invest in what you really like and what’s most comfortable for you and your family!

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Get a rug that is both pretty AND practical! We learned this the hard way! Norah and Charlie, our two oldest, wanted a super fluffy rug. The first one we got was synthetic and had such a strong and overpowering chemical smell, we felt sick and had to send it back. So research the materials and make sure you’re ok with them. We then returned it for the fluffiest white wool rug I could find. And it was beautiful… But NOT practical! That thing was soft, but it swallowed up little toys and barbie shoes and I probably stepped on a sharp little something hiding in its untamable mane every day. Also, no matter how much I vacuumed, that stuff collected dust bunnies, seemed to multiply like bunnies, and there were wool clumps all over our home! And I’ll never forget finding an orange crayon that had made it’s way to the bottom, been mashed up, and melted, and well… that was not a rug we were able to gift:D

The Pahls Family

I have learned what kind of rugs I want in our home. Something with neural colors and made with mostly natural materials, that can be cleaned easliy and hide coffee stains well, that is soft and enjoyable to play on, run on, wrestle on, maybe even make some babies on:D  A rug has a classic and timeless look, but doesn’t need to be combed or deshedded like a dog, that is friendly to our vacuum, and where lots and lots of memories can be made!

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There are so many different kinds of rugs and rug shopping can be overwhelming! I’m currently trying to choose a few more and it has literally taken me months to decide:D However, I hope you found this to be helpful and I am happy to answer any questions if you have any! I also have a giveaway happening right now on INSTAGRAM you can be a part of. Head on over for more details and maybe win a rug of your own! Thank you friends for being here and reading, and thank you RugsDirect for helping us cozy up our home!

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Several Photos in this blog are by Bethany Meysenburg andKaleyFromKansas.

Hacking laundry with Whirlpool

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(Disclosure: The following post was sponsored by Whirlpool. I received product and compensation, but all opinions expressed are my own.)

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As a home-educating mother of 4, it feels like we are always on the go. Did I mention our four children are all little ladies under the age of 7?! If you have children, you know this means that they each wear about a load of laundry a day:D  I absolutely love our days at home, but I am also all for the little life hacks that can save time and simplify our lives right now!  I’m not sure if it’s I’m still recovering from the holidays or it’s just this season of life, but it definitely feels like there is more to do and less time to do it. Anyone else? Is this just part of motherhood? Anyway, I was beyond stoked when we got the new Whirlpool® Smart Front Load Laundry Pair with Load & Go™ XL Plus dispenser a few months back.

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The features are beyond cool! For example, The Whirlpool® Smart Front Load Laundry Pair with Load & Go™ XL Plus dispenserallows you to pre-load detergent and fabric softener for up to 40 loads, meaning you can skip a step with this beautiful, time-saving feature! Being able to pre-load our detergent and save a little time is so lovely!

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Plus, many of these features make it easier for the girls to help me. They think the touch screens are the coolest thing, and they aren’t wrong. The imagery makes it easy for the girls to follow directions and they truly enjoy helping with the laundry as much as they can!

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The girls have truly enjoyed helping me with laundry since we started using our Whirlpool washer and dryer! We can save our favorite settings, and I can simply have the girls push the onscreen button, which they get so excited about,  and it’s that easy to get our laundry started. We are truly grateful for this beautiful washer and dryer and wanted to share a few personal time-saving laundry hacks that we’ve adopted to help make laundry as enjoyable as possible.

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TIP #1: MAKE YOUR LAUNDRY SPACE COZY

If you know us, you know we like to re-purpose as much as possible. I’m a little too short to comfortably enjoy having our washer and dryer stacked, so we have ours next to one another. We had an old door laying around in our basement when we moved in and decided that it would make the perfect table top to help store baskets of our laundering goods and give us a better place to fold laundry. I topped the table with an old linen shower curtain that we had. You could also easily thrift something similar, or even use a sheet or table cloth. This doubles as decor and also provides a clean and washable surface for the table. Any other friends have a creepy basement laundry room? It’s the only space we had washer and dryer hookups so we’ve done our best to make this space cozy and try to keep anything we may need for laundry in this space so we’re not having to run up and down the stairs each time we do laundry.

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That leads me to what we keep up on our table top. Baskets, always baskets! They make for the prettiest storage and, again, can easily be thrifted. We keep our detergents, softeners, stain treatments, our DIY fabric refresher and all of our dryer balls here in baskets on our little homemade table.

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Also, wool dryer balls:  another beautiful, non-toxic, time-saving laundry hack I hope you’re using! They speed up the drying time, soften clothing naturally, are hypoallergenic, and because they cut down on drying time, they save you money. I’m not actually sure how often you’re supposed to change them out, but I give mine a good wash with towels every 6 months or so and they’ve held up for several years!

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TIP #2: DIY LAUNDRY REFRESHER

Another fun laundry tip is you can add your favorite essential oils to the balls to make your laundry smell delicious without having to add any toxins to the mix! I love using lavender & citrus oils!

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I store our essential oils for laundering in pretty thrifted crocs as well. I store our laundry balls in pretty thrifted glass vessels as well. To spruce up our basement a bit, I put some fresh lavender on the top of our washer and dryer. Not only does it smell good, but helps this creepy basement feel much more cozy! 

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I mentioned above a DIY laundry refresher! Sometimes our laundry just smells musty. I feel like our towels and linen napkins get this way especially. I mix white vinegar and a couple drops of my favorite essential oils and add about 1/2-1 cup of it to our laundry to keep our laundry smelling fresh! We also find that this helps soften our laundry. To treat stained linens, I use the pre-soak feature on our Whirlpool and pre-soak linen items in 2 cups of vinegar for 30 minutes. Before I tried this hack, I could never get stains out of linen and now when I do this , stains come out easy peasy!

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Also, one of my favorite things about the washer is theFanFresh® option! If you know you won’t be able to switch laundry right away or want to start a load and go run some errands, Fan Fresh modekeeps clothes fresh for up to 12 hours so you can finish the laundry when you’re ready and avoid that musty smell that occurs when the laundry sits wet too long. This is just genius and I’m convinced a mom must have come up with the idea! 

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TIP # 3: STORE YOUR SOCKS

Another time-saving hack we have adopted is collecting and storing all of our socks in a big bag or basket. We put all of the clean socks in here and then while we watch movies, we all pair them up together as a family. It makes it a fun family responsibility instead of another boring, tedious chore.

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We are so grateful for our Whirlpool® Smart Load Laundry Pair Load & Go™ XL Plus dispenser and the sweet, sweet time these innovations save us. If you are currently on the hunt for a new washer and dryer, we would highly recommend this set!

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To learn more, visit https://www.whirlpool.com/laundry/washers.html#load-and-go.

Make a joyful noise

This summer I had a fun opportunity present itself. I was put in touch with a local vocal instructor as she was looking for a local blogger to check out her classes. I am always looking for fun classes for the girls to try out and happen to dabble in the blogging, so it worked out just right! We talked about the classes that were going to be offered over the summer and I got so excited when she said she was teaching a Greatest Showman vocal class! The girls are obsessed with ‘The Greatest Showman’, so much so that we dressed as the crew for Halloween this past year! 

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Maybe not our best..but with little moneys and what we had.. we made it work and the girls were so pumped!!!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the class, but I signed Norah and Charlie up and was so happy I did. We want to let the little ladies experience lots of different things to help them discover what it is they love and the explore the gifts they’ve been given.  They had been showing lots of interest in singing and I am happy to share that they truly had a blast!

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Side note, have I mentioned lately how much I love Norah and Charlie being so close I’m age?! I’ve always loved it, but now it allows them to be in most of the same classes and is just so cool to me! They’re basically inseparable and it’s very special to me that they get to enjoy so many awesome things like this together! Sisterhood is the coolest thing! 

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I got emotional thinking about the two of them and how it almost always feels like they’ve had one another. I had to find the very first time they met, and my first photo with both of them, right after our home water birth with Charlie. It was the most special moment!

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Like… I can’t even…this moment was so special. Norah was instantly in love and Charlie was just born into such a cool relationship.

Okay, so let me tell you a little bit about the class and why I am happy we enrolled the girls! Melissa Burrows is the owner of Joyful Noise Studios and has been a licensed Kindermusik® educator since 2009 along with teaching private piano and vocal lessons. She teaches music at our local Classical Education Center and is very passionate about what she does. It was easy to see upon first meeting her that she loves what she does, and that excited me. 

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As a home educator, it’s important to me that I give the girls opportunities to socialize in different atmospheres, with different peers, instructors, and influences. I found a lot of comfort in knowing that they were being taught by someone who genuinely cares about what they’re doing.

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The more research I have done, the more I discover that the benefits of music are truly transformational. Chris is currently teaching Norah ukulele and it’s so exciting thinking about where their passion for music will take them. They’ve been talking a lot about forming a band like the Cranberries and are already staring to write songs. One of the things they have been doing since they were old enough to sing is making parodies out of their favorite songs and it will always be one of my favorite little things they do.

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“The study, practice and discipline of making music gives the brain a complete workout.  When you sing or create music, we use all the parts of the brain: left, right, front and back.  All these parts collaborate.  Which is something very unique!  To access the benefits of music one does not need to be an artist! Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than those without musical training.  Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.  Research has shown that after two years of music class the brain has large improvements in processing speech and reading.  Beyond all the brain science music is fun and is an easy way to challenge the mind and bring joy!”-Melissa Burrows.

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These are just a few reasons that enrolling the girls into these classes seemed like a great idea! The girls met for an hour each week and it was so fun listening to the girls practice their little vocal warm ups and songs they were learning throughout the week! I also didn’t mind the little weekly break to grab coffee and thrift with the younger ladies.☺️ They practiced and practiced and celebrated with the most darling recital at the end of the Summer where Melissa had all of her classes join together for the Greatest Show (pun intended:)

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If you are on the hunt for vocal classes for your littles, I highly recommend Melissa and her classes at Joyful Noise Studios! We also tried one of the family Kindermusik classes that was so fun! Chris got super into it and I know the girls loved it!

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Melissa is accepting enrollments now and offering $15 off any class when you enroll using the code, AmandaPahls.

Thank you for giving us this opportunity, Melissa, and we look forward to more classes with you! 

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“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”-Plato

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Chris and I could not stop laughing at the girls on stage. They were being so sweet and goofy and maybe still need a few lessons about what not to do when on stage:D So special getting to watch them perform what they had been practicing though!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible thanks to Melissa Burrows and Joyful Noise Studios, but all opinions expressed are my own.

That time Madewell accidentally changed my life

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About a year ago I received the sweetest surprise package from our friends at Madewell. It was a beautiful wooden box containing a lovely red floral scarf, a timeless white tee and THE PERFECT denim jacket.I was so excited and grateful and honored to be gifted this, as I was a new appreciator of the Madewell goodies! I have slowly been building a capsule wardrobe with Madewell pieces being my staples. Everything I own from Madewell is so comfortable, so flattering, and well, made very well ☺️

The only problem with this surprise gift was that the shirt and jacket were a size small and I was wearing large, or more commonly, an XL. When I went to try the jacket on, I couldn’t even fit my full arm through the arm holes😂

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I was still very thankful that Madewell gifted me such a sweet gift, but thought I should probably go ahead and gift the shirt and jacket to a friend since I couldn’t fit into either. I asked a few of my small sized pals if they wanted the goods and they all said the same thing, “save it and maybe you’ll fit back into them one day!” I listened, but wasn’t quite convinced I would ever really get to wear them.

My first pair of Madewell shoes and they do not disappoint ! These Frances Loafers are SO comfortable!!!

I was pregnant and breastfeeding without a break for the last 8 years! I have absolutely loved it! Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, growing, nourishing, teaching, and raising our daughters… This is my greatest joy!  However, I suffered a serious back injury that caused great pain and rendered me unable to be very active while I was pregnant. I picked up some poor habits and developed a bit of apathy in regards to myself over the past few years and I hadn’t even realized I had gained so much weight or become so out of shape. I didn’t have much energy. I didn’t like how I felt or how my clothing no longer fit. I decided I was ready to make some changes; not just for my benefit, but for the benefit of my daughters and husband. I wanted them to have a healthier version of me.

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I told my husband and a few friends that I was going to fit into that Madewell jacket and, although I really meant it, I eventually just put the box of goods up on my closet shelf and honestly forgot about it.  Fast forward to late June and something started stirring in my heart. Our babies were no longer babies. I was beginning to think about weaning Frankie, Chris and I had agreed that our family was most likely complete, and most of my wardrobe had become too tight to wear. I knew I needed to make some changes. So I did. 

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Wait, what is this? Is this Jurassic Park? Is that Laura Dern? What is happening?!

I’m going to tell you guys something only a few people know about…The year was 1997. My favorite movie Jurassic park. I was obsessed with this film and when I envisioned myself as a grown woman, wife, and mother, I envisioned myself as a bruenette Laura Dern in my high waisted denim!

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I mean… 1.) Jurassic Park is my all-time favorite movie! 2.) I just wanted to wear mom jeans and look for dinosaurs:D

When I entered adulthood, the high waisted jeans I had dreamed about wearing had gone out of style. When they finally came back I met them with a strong-willed mom pouch that had no time for pants with real pockets or buttons😂 I know this sounds so silly, but it was like a real thing to me. While I was loving growing and nourishing our babies, I had stopped nourishing myself along the way.  It occurred to me that only I could make the changes I wanted to make. And dangit! I wanted to feel comfortable in those mom jeans!

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I pulled out that Madewell denim jacket and decided that was my goal. I was going to wear that jacket and was going to Laura Dern the heck out of the highest waisted mom jeans Madewell had to offer (which are these 11” high waisteds if you’re curious😂🤘).

I started July 1st. I was around 190 lbs,  wearing a Madewell size 31 jean and they were TIGHT! I want to add here that there is nothing wrong with the size you are wearing if you are comfortable and healthy.  I just wasn’t happy or healthy where I was and I needed change. Some of my friends were also beginning some self-care journeys.  Seeing their results, along with their encouragement and motivation, helped me so much in getting started and sticking with the changes I have made. Community is so helpful!

When I got these pants, I couldn’t even button the bottom button! It felt amazing that I could button them to the top!!!

I decided to start with a low carb/clean eating diet, incorporating meals from whole 30, and cutting out processed foods, bad sugar, carbs that weren’t properly fueling my body, and the booze. I started drinking kombucha daily and adding more fermented foods to my diet. When I would crave sweets, I would eat a spoonful or two of RX vanilla almond butter and found that adding a little bit of heavy whipping cream to my afternoon collagen + bone broth protein filled coffee helped me from eating junk. I still do this and crave it and look forward to it! Also, I add citrus essential oils to water in the mornings and evenings and that really helps satisfy my cravings. There were very few days I would “cheat”,  but I allowed myself lots of treats that tasted good and wouldn’t hurt my progress. Honestly, I would google “whole 30 approved version of whatever I was craving” and learned how to make many of my favorite things in a way that benefited my family and I so much more!

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Norah always checking to assure my crinkles were still there.

Week 1: I lost 7 pounds and my clothing felt looser. I didn’t take before photos or measure any of my inches, but I could already feel a difference in how I felt and how my clothing fit. I ate a variation of eggs, veggies, and proteins for breakfast and lunch. I continued making most of our favorite meals, but substituted zucchini noodles and squash for regular noodles. I replaced breads I would normally eat with more veggies and lettuce wraps. It almost felt too easy. Giving up the foods I once ate daily didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice at all. I reduced my portion sizes but never counted calories, carbs, or macros because I’m too lazy for this stuff. I mostly just paid attention to what foods made me feel the best and added more of those. While I added these, I also removed the foods that made me feel not so good.

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The first person who said anything about me losing weight was our oldest daughter. She walked into the bathroom one morning and said, “You look smaller, Mom!” I explained that was something that sometimes happens when you give your body what it needs. Then my husband started commenting on the changes and my friends and acquaintances began motivating me more and more. Others were seeing the changes I was feeling and that was super encouraging!

Norah often comments about different ways my body is changing and asks regularly that I please don’t lose my crinkles. She has been one of my biggest supporters and reminds people when they comments about my weight loss, that I might be skinnier, but I’m also healthier. She maybe also said something along the lines of, “Wow! those used to be so round and big. Now they just kinda hang there, huh?”:D So… #balance #yep #thanksgirls #truth

At the end of month 1, I was down a surprising 28 pounds and my jeans were so loose I got to thrift some belts!!! 😳😳😳😳

I was in it! I felt energized and pumped up and ready to keep going!

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Matchy sets from our friends at Shop ARQ

I started working out almost daily in August and just felt SO good!!! My sister in law introduced me to the beach body workouts and I started doing the Real Time 21 Day Fix Lives and loved them! I’m doing the extreme version right now and look forward to them! I’ve tried lots of different workouts and have learned to do what I like and not try to do something that I hate because someone else is doing it. Actually, that’s one thing I have really learned in the last few months. You need to do what fuels YOUR body, what makes YOU feel well, and gives YOU positive results. Once September rolled around, I decided it was time to try on THE jacket. I honestly didn’t even think it would fit, I just wanted to see if I could tell a difference in the way it fit.

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GUYS!!!!!!

And with legit tears in my eyes right now, I am here to tell you, IT FIT LIKE A GEM! 😭 It was loose even! The jacket that I couldn’t fit more than a forearm into, FIT! AND the white tee that legit looked like a child’s small on me when I first tried it on, is now a loose  tee and it just feels so good!

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Thanks for capturing this hair flip, Morgo.

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I was feeing SO good but, October was a weird month. I passed out, my face caught my fall, and suffered a concussion so I couldn’t work out like I had been. I couldn’t look at screens or do much and felt pretty lethargic most of the month. I continued to eat clean and decided to have some blood work done, as I was concerned about what might have caused the passing out and wanted to make sure my lifestyle changes hadn’t caused it.  All my blood work came back as ideal as possible and I got the go ahead to get back to normal! Also, probably my favorite jeans ever!

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Every time I wear this jacket I feel like I have superpowers. That sounds dramatic, but it reminds me that I can do hard things! And also THESE JEANS!!!

Now, I want to emphasize again that I don’t think there is anything wrong with being in a size large or extra large or any size where you feel good and healthy… But I wasn’t healthy. I felt miserable, was growing more insecure, felt tired, and lacked the energy I wanted. Today, I look different, but I FEEL so different! I have energy, I feel strong, I can do legit push-ups, I feel healthy, have no back pain, and am officially down FIFTY POUNDS AND SIX JEAN SIZES!!!

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I thrifted this Madewell Cardigan but here is something similar!

Guys! LIKE, our 7 year old is 50 pounds just to put how much weight that really is into perspective!! 😳  While this journey isn’t as much about weight or sizes as it is about health, I went from a size 31 to a size 26 and a L/XL to a XS/S simply by making some healthy lifestyle changes. I feel so grateful! I can play with the girls so much more! I can jump on the trampoline more, wrestle around more, and run through the house more! And Bonus! I‘m even better at hide and seek as I can comfortably fit into smaller spaces now:D It’s really the little things that feel like huge victories to me! And also, maybe I can share a few tops with our 7 year old now. In all seriousness though, I get a little emotional thinking about all of the girls and I sharing our clothing with one another a few years down the road and want to remain in a state of health that allows me to do that… Some days I still can’t believe I get to mother these 4 beautiful daughters ❤️

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I  want to add that while I made some big changes, I’m not a crazy person. If we want pizza and beer, we have pizza and beer. But I still find ways to make it healthier and realized I don’t need 4 pieces of deep dish and 4 wings and four breadsticks and half a growler of IPA at one meal to feel satisfied. 😂. I’ve actually stopped drinking almost entirely, and for me, that’s another big success. Another story for another day, but a really cool thing.

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I truly feel capable and confident in ways I have not for years.

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I have more energy to do every day things and just that alone feels so incredible! Also, a thrifted bodysuit from Madewell that I could live in!

That was a really long way to say, THANK YOU MADEWELL for accidentally triggering something incredible for me. Thank you for new self control, new goals, new perspectives, the ability to wear more of what I enjoy, and the gift of feeling well (AND ALSO that high waisted denim)!!! It feels SO good! I am just so grateful to everyone who has helped me!

 

 

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Grainy photo but a funny story and the most artsy self portrait I have of myself. I’ve been laughing with friends, joking a lot about how I feel like you can see more of my French heritage now and then also I got a turtle neck after telling friends a week prior I would never wear a turtleneck… So one of my besties documented this moment for me… The moment I felt very fashion and turtlenecky. This friend also had her friend from France tell me I looked very French over FaceTime and it was so funny and I’m just really grateful for my friends who have laughed with me and helped take care of me and truly helped me reach my goals!

Thank you for real to Madewell for helping make my wardrobe dreams come true and to all of our friends and loved ones for all of your kind words and encouragement! I am grateful to be feeling so well!

Disclaimer: Many of the clothing pieces featured were gifted from our friends at Madewell or thrifted, and I have tried to link all of the pieces in the post for you! All of the opinions stated here are my honest opinions and I wrote this blog as a way to share some of the changes I have been making and to thank Madewell for partnering with me!

Getting Cozy with Garnet Hill

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If someone told me I had to pick out one outfit to live in and then also told me to fill a basket with a few necessities, I can tell you right away what both would be!  I would pick leggings, a pretty sweater, house slippers, blankets, pillows, coffee, and more baskets😂🤘 Basically, my mom uniform is a real thing and it consists of leggings, slippers & a pretty sweater.

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Being home the majority of my time the last few years, I have really started understanding what makes me feel cozy and at home… And I have no shame about it! Homeschooling the girls has been one of the greatest things I have ever known! Being home so much has made me take notice to how my environment affects Chris, the girls, and I and our days and has kind of forced me into new habits, new routines and even a bit of a new aesthetic. 

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When I feel cozy and comfortable, but also put together, I truly function better. I feel more relaxed, our days are smoother and it’s just so nice!

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So, with that being said, we have partnered with our friends over at GarnetHill to share with you a few of our favorite things that have helped us stay cozy at home!

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1.)  Them leggings though! I never knew how much a person could stretchy pants… Until I was pregnant for 6 years😂🤘  but for real, a nice pair of leggings are a staple for me and these are perfect! 

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2.) A pretty sweater to make me feel more fancy when living in the stretchy pants. Do you guys know about cashmere?! I didn’t, and now that I do, I’m obsessed! SO soft and cozy! But like, it’s even softer than you’re thinking. It’s like wearing a baby sheep… but without all of the judgement and inconvenience that would probably come from wearing a baby sheep😂 I have a few cashmere pieces from Garnet Hill and I bet I will have more one day☺️ I also like the fit of this sweater. It’s a bit oversized so it helps hide the last bit of my mom pouch that doesn’t seem to want to leave, plus, I’m still breastfeeding and this one is super easy to get access to them goods☺️🤘 I’ll link the products featured here at the end of the post🙌

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3.) House slippers. I never knew the goodness of slippers before this stay at home business… Now I have a couple pairs and they’re basically the equivalent to business socks for me. You know if my slippers are on, I’m reporting for duty, or most often literal doody😂 Remember how I don’t get out much…☺️  Just let me have these mom jokes☺️😘 But for real, I feel so cozy and ready for the day in my slippers! 

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4.) Did someone say waffle weave? 😂 Can you even have an Instagram account without some pretty white waffle weave something? 🙈 This merino wool blanket is my new favorite! When we go to watch a movie or cuddle up with a book, it’s the first blanket the girls grab! So, so, so soft… We’re talking that baby sheep softness over here again! 

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5.) Pillows! If you know my husband, you will know we disagree on very few things. But pillows are one of them. He thinks less is more, and I think fit as many pillows into each living space as we possibly can and then add a few more😂. It’s a problem, but he still loves me ☺️ We, and by we I mean the girls and I, and not Chris, 😂 are loving these gorgeous 26×26 big ol’ down pillows!!! I have them on our couch and chairs and bed and enjoy them so much! Chris will learn to love them too, I’m just sure of it.☺️

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Anyways, what is your mom uniform? What things make you feel cozy at home? Should we start a recovery group for pillow and blanket addicts? Thanks for reading friends!A864FF3D-86DC-4D19-89F0-51D0EE2E24A4

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📷 MegganHarrisonPhotography

Garnet Hill products featured:

CashmereCroppedSweater

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Slippers

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(Disclosure: this post was made possible by Garnet Hill, but all opinions expressed are my honest opinions)

Straighten Up: A Smile Update

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It’s been about a year since I began my smile transformation journey with a local dental practice, New Horizons Dental Care with Dr’s Kate and Guy Gross. The first part of this process involved doing a Virtual Smile Consult so we could create a game plan, getting an implant where I had a tooth pulled and starting Invisalign.  I have been asked several questions about Invisalign, so I thought it would be a good time to write a little update and share my experience thus far for my friends who might be considering trying these bad boys out!

I understand that everyone’s smile and situation is different, so I am simply sharing what my personal experience has been like. So, if you want to sit down and dig your teeth (pun intended) into a story all about my mouth, you are in for quite a treat:D

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First, let’s talk the good stuff! I am super impressed with how fast my teeth have moved and how convenient the Invisalign trays have been for me. I’ll explain more about what I mean by convenient in a moment. I have trays on both the top and bottom and only needed 13 trays up to this point and I only wore each tray for about a week.  I am in my final tray and we’re leaving this tray on for awhile to assure that my stubborn snaggle tooth, whom I introduced you guys to in my first blog post about this little journey, stays safe and snug in her new place in line. Sometimes with

While Invisalign trays aren’t completely invisible, they’re not big and in your face like traditional braces and I like that. They didn’t feel weird or embarrassing to me except for a few times which I’ll touch base on in the cons section. When I say they are convenient, I mean that I really enjoy that I have been able to take them out when I eat, drink something fancy nice, enjoy a meal and conversation with friends, and most importantly, when I make out with my boyfriend, aka, my husband. We’re married, get over it:D When I talked about getting braces he maybe, for a lack of better words, begged me not to get metal braces…So, I guess in a weird way, I can thank him for this experience too.

Also, when I had traditional braces about 10 years ago, I was often in a lot of pain. Whenever they got tightened, my whole face seemed to hurt for days. I haven’t experienced discomfort with my trays like that at all!  The trays feel a bit snug when I put in the new one each week, but never hurt like traditional braces did for me. The first week I had my trays in,  my gums and lips felt a little sore getting used to their new roommates , but after that first week, everything felt fine. Virtually no pain is a huge pro to me!

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I’m wearing my trays in all of these photos, and you can hardly see them! Also, rockin’ them mom nails:D

Without a doubt, the greatest benefit I have experienced up to this point, is a boost in confidence about my smile. When I started looking through photos to share with the dental team at New Horizons in the beginning stages of this process, I realized I never looked at the camera when I smiled and most of my smiles were with my mouth closed or looking away from the camera. I don’t even think I realized just how self conscience I had become about my smile and lil ol’ snaggle tooth until I realized I was always hiding it.  While my smile journey with New Horizons isn’t completely finished, (you can read more about what we’re doing here) I feel significantly more confident than I did 4 months ago.

Also, there have been a few unexpected new habits that I have formed because of Invisalign which I’m finding to be very beneficial.

1. A dramatic decrease in my daily coffee coffee and snack intake.  I personally don’t like taking the trays out often during the day and you should take them out when you eat you drink anything besides water so they don’t stain.  So, I have my coffee in the morning while I allow my trays to bathe in a warm, effervescent bath of denture cleaner and, most days, that’s it.:D  I home educate 4 daughters under age 6, so obviously there are days where the trays come out more for me to down an extra cup or four of the life-giving nectar that is caffeine, but for the most part I’m grateful for this unexpected little change. I started working out again, and that paired with less snackage during the day has me back in my pre-pregnancy pants!!

2. Better oral hygiene. I can’t stand the trays or my teeth feeling dirty, so I’m brushing and flossing much more regularly than I was before I got my trays, so double success!

3. Another thing I have enjoyed is having my teeth protected at night. The last few years I began grinding my teeth while sleeping, and I feel like the trays have been protecting my teeth and preventing me from damaging them anymore through tooth grinding. So, another unexpected benefit from Invisalign trays.27B60015-0728-400C-97DA-E9B14E64837E

Ok, cons. While the cons list is short, I’ll share a few things you might want to consider when deciding between traditional braces and Invisalign.  With Invisalign, you are kind of your own boss. You have to wear your trays for the recommended amount of time every day, keep your trays clean, and take care of them if you want them to do what they’re made to do. I’ve read about many people not wearing their trays like they’re supposed to and then not having the outcomes they wanted. So, as long as you are prepared to take care of your trays and wear them as you’re supposed to, they work great!

Another thing I have experienced is a cute little lisp when I have my trays in:D Although, in some cultures, lisps are considered very endearing, so maybe not a con at all:D… Also, if you know of any cultures where lisps are considered endearing, would you let me know? I’m asking for a friend:D

nh8So, while there are still some changes we will be doing to enhance my smile, I feel like I have benefited tremendously from Invisalign and that I could happily recommend them to those who are wanting to straighten their teeth and avoid traditional metal braces.  I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with Dr. Kate, Dr. Guy and New Horizons and look forward to sharing all of my before and after treatment photos on the next blog I share with you guys! I am looking forward to feeling even more confident about getting in front of the camera more! Thank you guys for reading along and I look forward to answering any questions you might have that wasn’t covered here.

To read more about Kate Gross, DDS visit her blog here: www.drkatetalks.com . To see what and Guy Gross, DDS can do for your smile, check out the Smile Virtual Consult here:  https://www.smilevirtualconsult.com/dr-guy-gross/

(Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Dr. Kate, Dr. Guy and New Horizons Dental Care, but all opinions expressed are my own honest opinions.)

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/

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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Side note: We get asked often about this rug, so I thought I would share about it here.  It’s the Hand Woven Rigo Jute Rug from Plush Rugs. We have enjoyed this rug so much! It’s lovely and sheds much less than jute rugs we have owned in the past. You can click here to see it and here to see more jute rugs similar.

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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.)