A little Spring around our Home

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It’s officially spring and we are welcoming it with big wide open arms over here at our home! As a family who normally loves the winter season to last as long as possible (because skiing) we could not be more happy this year to see all the snow melt and the little purple crocuses pop up all over our lawn. This winter was one of the best as far as snow we’ve had in years, but for some reason both my husband and I just weren’t feeling the “ski every minute we can” vibe this season. In fact it was quite opposite for us. I think we just needed a bit of a break this year and maybe next year the ski vibe will be back for us. But for now give me all the spring!

So in honor of sunshine and little blooming flowers I thought I’d share some cheery spring photos from around our home with you this morning. Happy Spring 2017 friends!

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Grey Ceramic Bowls + Mugs from Rove Concepts.

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Glass vases // Wishbone Chairs // Dining Table // Rug

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Marble Tic-Tac-Toe // Marble Pawn Vase

 

Photos by Jessica Kettle Photography

 

 

Love Your Hair, Love Her Hair with Dove

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As a mother I believe that it’s not only my job, but my obligation and duty to instill confidence and self love into my daughter. All the way from her sweet hair on her little head down to her cute little toes. Inside and out and all around. There is a narrow depiction of what “beautiful hair” is traditionally thought to look like and earlier this year, Dove Hair found that 8 in 10 women feel pressure to wear their hair a certain way. For many, these pressures began at an early age.

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Although I grew up without a mother I was fortunate to have a Father who instilled confidence in me and not shame. I’ve never felt pressure to wear my hair a certain way or wished that it looked differently. I’m grateful that my Father taught me to love myself for who I am and what I was given, and hope to instill the in my daughter.

In todays society, where young girls and women face all kinds of societal norms, I want my daughter to feel strong and confident in not only who she is but also how she looks. I want my daughter to love her hair, to know just how unique & beautiful it is and that it can be a source of confidence and not anxiety for her.

Dove Hair believes a positive role model can greatly impact a girls confidence and is empowering mothers to be a leader in their daughter’s hair confidence by teaching them how to love their hair. In fact, a recent Dove study found that 82% of girls learn to care about themselves from their mother. That means it’s mostly up to us Mother’s to speak positively about ourselves in every way so our daughters will too.

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Join myself and Dove in celebrating the beauty of your daughter’s hair today–so she loves her hair tomorrow.

You can tell her why you love her hair and inspire her to do the same by sharing your #LoveYourHair photo on Instagram and tagging @Dove. To add some extra love, visit LoveYourHair.Dove.com to create your own custom animated message and share with your friends & family.

 

This post was sponsored by Dove. All opinions are my own. 

 

Photos by Samantha Broderick Photography

 

Coding for Kids with Bitsbox

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Last month we received a fun subscription box from Bitsbox filled with all kinds of fun coding projects. Liam couldn’t wait to open it up and get started in on coding his very own apps. And literally every day after school he comes home and immediately wants to get on the computer so he can make new app! I think my favorite thing while watching him play with Bitsbox so far was his excitement when he realized that he was the one behind the scenes making the color’s change or whatever else he wants to do within the apps he’s created. It was like a total “WHOA!!” moment for him.

With a Bitsbox subscription you can expect new coding projects to arrive every month for your kids to build real working apps. Along with it comes a Binder to organize all of the app cards, and if you choose to get a deluxe box you will also get fun trading cards, stickers, and tattoos. Along with all of that this month we also received a fun Paint by Sticker book which has been perfect for Liliana to use while Liam is busy building apps!

You’ve heard me talk a bit about managing screen time here, but with Bitsbox kids I don’t mind giving Liam some extra screentime when I know that he’s learning all while he thinks he’s just having fun. A total win win!

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With today’s high tech world that our kids are growing up in I love finding companies who are helping us parents and our children embrace it. Our culture thrives and survives off of computers. And we can’t run any programs on our computers, tablets and phones without coding. It’s truly the future for this generation and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised that if soon enough it is what is taught in school instead of cursive.

Since this week is Computer Science Education Week, I thought it only fitting to share our experience with Bitsbox with you! If you would like to try out a Bitsbox coding subscription you can get 20% off by using code “Creator20”. It would make a great gift for Christmas that would keep on giving!

Holiday Shopping Guide – What to Get Your Guy – Even EarPrint Headphones

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even-earprint-headphones-holiday-giftThis post is sponsored. All opinions are my own.

It dawned on me just two days ago that the holidays are no longer just approaching but that they are here, like right now! And if you’re anything like me, you’ve not only waited to start your holiday gift shopping until just now, but also have no idea what to get those on your list. Especially what to get your husband. Well, look no further, because I’ve found the perfect gift for you to get your guy, Even EarPrint Headphones. 

Even Headphones aren’t just your average headphones, they measure just how you hear and personalize your tune accordingly. The concept behind Even’s Headphones is that no two ears hear the same, not even your own. We each have a unique makeup that makes us all individuals in how we see, taste, smell and hear. And this is exactly what prompted the team behind Even to make a headphone that could help you hear at the optimum level just like glasses help bring your vision to 20/20. And this why they are perfect for my husband.

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About 12 years ago while teaching this son of ours how to swim my husband took a very deep dive into the pool and when he came up he lost 1/3 of his hearing in his right ear. Ever since it’s been extremely hard for him to find headphones that he can hear well out of from both ears. He either has to turn it up super load so he can hear out of his right ear or leave it down to where it seems like it’s a normal sound coming into his good ear, and barely hearing anything going into his bad ear which can be extremely frustrating for him.

I’m so excited to actually have a gift for my husband this year that will truly benefit him! Now I just need to keep these Even EarPrint Headphones hidden from my teenagers so they don’t try to swipe them for themselves!

I’d love to hear what your perfect gift for your man is, leave me a comment below 🙂

 

 

A backyard birthday tea party + how we manage birthday parties in our family

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Last month in early September our baby girl turned “6”. SIX you guys. I’m only kind of dying inside every time I acknowledge that she’s completely out of the toddler years and fully into little girl mode. We celebrated her with the party she’d been dreaming of having for this past year. And I’m only a month late, which for me is like technically early. But, here’s a peek (actually way more than a peek) of Liliana’s backyard birthday tea party + pony ride.

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Thank goodness for friends (particularly ones who own florist shops and others who are photographers, and know how to set up a party), a husband who is super handy (he built these low tables the morning of the party) and willing to do anything for his baby girl (really any of us) at any time, for family who always step in when I need it and IKEA. Seriously, between a quick ikea stop and the target clearance section I was able to find basically everything I needed to make my vision of L’s backyard Tea party come to life.

Liam had a football game the day of L’s party and it really only left me with less than two hours to prep, set-up and make sure everything was ready before her little friends started to arrive. And without all the help from my village this party would not have been ready on time. And thankfully I was able to whip up a quick crown for my girl just minutes before her party started.

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Soon “tea” was getting passed around by the girls and little plates were getting filled with tiny sandwiches, fresh fruit, madeleines and the sweetest most perfect little tea party desserts one could ever dream of from The Sweet Tooth Fairy. It all looked so good that L’s big brother Aden couldn’t help himself and joined in for the tea party along with our kitten, Milo and our pup, Bella. Who are both never far away from Liliana and could quite possibly be the best little pets that any little girl could have.

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Watching Liliana and all of her little friends just simply enjoy themselves around a table snacking, giggling and toasting their tea made me realize again just why we make such a special effort to celebrate our children’s births like this. If you follow me on instagram you may have already heard me touch on our birthday party theory. Being a large family, we only have a few select parties for our children growing up. With 6 kids, it was just completely unrealistic for us to have a birthday party for each of our children every year. So shortly after we came together as a family we realized really quick that we would need to set a precedence with birthday parties, or we’d go broke. And ultimately, I feel like doing fewer parties with more meaning just makes them all the more special.

**If you’d like to hear what’s worked for us as far as birthday party balance is concerned read on to the next paragraph. If not, keep scrolling down to the very last paragraph here before more party pictures.** 


We generally only have a handful of actual parties for our children as they grow up. And I like to start them at an age where they can retain the memories from it for forever. For us that’s usually been around age 5 or 6. The next ones really don’t follow any schedule or pattern, but usually theres another one around age 8-10, followed by one that I think is such a poignant time is children’s lives. Ages 12-13. Our go to for a party for that age has been a fun overnight hotel stay with a manageable amount of friends (around 8).

I think it’s so important for your children to know just how much they mean to you at that crucial junior high age. That can be a rough spot for them. (i mean, do you remember junior high? it was kind of the worst stage of growing up for me) The awkwardness of trying to figure out who you are while you try to not get food stuck in your braces as you’re sitting next to a cute kid at the lunch table, but then you get so nervous because they are actually talking to you that you freak out (out of fear or pure excitement. you can never be sure how to tell what emotion means what, because one minute you’re fine and the next you’re having a full blown melt down because your mom looked at you wrong that morning. you know, that side-eye look where you don’t know if you’re in trouble, or if she just found out that you got the part in the school play. but really she’s just looking at you in pure confusion because she can’t figure out how or why you cry when you can’t find your pants that are hanging out in the pile on the floor in your bedroom that could grow it’s own colony of super funky bacteria or why you get so pissed when you can’t find your band shoes that are literally sitting 5 feet in front of you, but you just can’t seem to find them so you run around blaming everyone else but yourself because you just know that your little brother touched them and did something with them when in all reality you set them right where they are eventually found by that side-eyeing mom who really just wants to tell you that she loves you, but doesn’t really want her head bit off or a cry fest to happen so she just gives you a slight smile and walks away. phew…) and bolt, tripping over your backpack on the way and spill your lunch tray all over them. Yeah, that’ why I think it’s good to do a party at that age 😉

The next age we celebrate is usually 16, and then it’s followed up by the last one of them all while still being your child but straight turning into a full blown legal adult…18. These are just years that seem to work for us and our children. And not all of them have had big parties on all of those birthdays, sometimes we have just celebrated them a bit bigger than we normally would have ;). On years where we don’t have a birthday party we celebrate as a family with a meal & dessert chosen by whoever’s birthday it is. It simple, quiet, and usually just what is needed for them at the time.


From nearly the very first time Liliana saw our backyard at our new home she’s begged to have a horse. Her reasoning is completely valid, as our excuse before was that we didn’t have a yard big enough. So, to make this party more special for Liliana we decided to grant her ultimate wish of having a real live pony in her yard. I mean, I’m pretty sure that was my dream as a little girl too at some point, and since this age seemed best suited for a live pony at her party, her backyard tea party included a pony ride as well.

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After all the girls had their share of pony rides around the yard, Liliana opened her gifts from her cute friends and then they all ran into the pool house for a swim. And of course these little girls can never not end their swimming time without getting in the hot tub which was the perfect way to end any party.

Again, I can not express again how grateful I am for our family and friends. It was so nice to know that while I was sitting & watching all the girls swim, others were tidying up plates, food, etc. When my big kids were younger I used to feel like I had to do it all when it came to their birthday parties. You know, make the food, cake, cupcakes, decorate, and then run around trying to snap pictures too. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that delegating out things like having someone else cater food, or make the dessert is such huge help. I’m so thankful that The Sweet Tooth Fairy was there to make all of the darling sweets and cake for Liliana’s party. It truly took such a load off of my shoulders knowing that it was not all up to me. Also I can not express how amazing it was to have a photographer at Liliana’s party. It made it so easy for me to just be there and take in everything and not have to worry about capturing the magic that was happening because I knew my girl Sam from Samantha Broderick Photography was capturing it all and more.

Before we knew it is was starting to get dusk and while all of Liliana’s little friends had gone home her family and friends were still here and ready to sing happy birthday to this darling baby girl of ours on her day. She smiled and she blew out her candles and still hasn’t told me what she wished for.

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Happiest 6th birthday sweet Liliana. We hope you had the party you dreamed of and know just how much your mama and daddy love you. xx

 

Sources: The amazing desserts were all made by Megan from The Sweet Tooth Fairy. L’s dress can be found here. The tables were made from two of these table tops. We then added 4×4 in posts cut to 14 inches and attached with L brackets. Most of the party supplies (like everything on & around the tables) are from here. And last but not least all of these beautiful photo’s are by Samantha Broderick Photography.

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