Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hank's Toddler Room + How We Transitioned Him to a Bed

It's hard to believe but Hank is going to be two in March! I think your second child (or any child after the first) seems to grow up so much more quickly than the first.  Maybe it's because we are so busy tending to multiple children that time flies by or perhaps it's because they have an older sibling that they learn (way too quickly) everything  from. Likely it's a combination of both.  If you want to see Hank as a baby, check out his cuteness here.

As we began to close in on two-years-old we decided to get Hank into a big-kid bed and transition his room into a toddler space. We did this for a few different reasons.

First, we transitioned Colton out of the crib around 18 months so we felt it was only appropriate to make the move with Hank at about the same age - we like to think we are fair parents. It was out of necessity that we transitioned Colton so early, Hank was only three months from being born.   Second, Hank was starting to outgrow his crib and baby blankets. He would get cold at night which would result in him waking up.  (Yes, I'm a mom that gave her kids blankets in their crib.)  Finally, the kid LOVED beds - his brother's bed, our bed, basically any bed he could crawl into and cover up.  All signs that it was an ok time to make the transition.

Between Christmas and New Years we decided to take the leap and move Hank into a big bed.

Obviously there are some concerns associated with moving a toddler to a big bed.  Will they stay in their bed? What if they fall out?  What if they don't like it?  That's where I suggest getting your head in the right spot to make the transition.  Once you take down the crib there is likely no turning back so you may as well set your expectations low and be ready to handle what comes at you over the next few days (or weeks, hopefully not weeks...)

I had my expectations with Hank set really low. I expected him to be out of bed every hour, on the hour, just because he could.  That's how he rolls. Not to mention getting out of bed was Colton's biggest issue when we transitioned him to a big bed. I was prepared for the worst. Fortunately Hank has stayed in bed since we introduced him to it and he's slept through the night nearly every night since. With Colton, we ended up having to switch around door knobs so he would stay in his room.  Once he figured out he was supposed to stay in his room all night, he began to sleep again. Now he loves his bed too!  We tried to put up a child gate but Colton was too smart for his own good and knew how to take it down.  If this happens, keep in mind that this is just a phase, mama.

Colton (he's 3 1/2) is also an early riser so we got him an ok-to-wake light up clock which has worked really well!  It lights up when it's ok for him to get out of bed.

Personally we like to minimize transitions with our kids, it's just worked for us and we believe it's resulted in less sleepless nights and less frustration. From the day we bring our babies home from the hospital they sleep in their cribs (one less transition from cradle to crib or our room to theirs).  I should mention that our house is small so it was never a problem getting to their room if I heard the slightest peep out of them. Then we go right from their crib to a twin-size bed. (one less transition again from toddler bed to twin-size bed).  Again, our house is small so we don't have a lot of room to store extra stuff like beds or even extra bedding.

Since we are moving them directly into a twin size bed we use a bed-rail and after a couple months we'll take it down once we know they are sleeping comfortably.

Here are three additional things we considered as we've transitioned our kids to big-kid beds.

1. We've rarely (if ever) used their cribs or beds as a "time-out" spot.  We want them to like their beds and their bedrooms (and they truly do!)
2. The mattresses we get for them are memory foam mattresses so they really aren't any fun to jump on.
3. I make sure there is a stool or something for them to be able to get in an out of their bed by themselves.

All of this being shared, now that I'm a mom I've learned to not pass much judgement.  Do things about other people's parenting surprise me once-in-awhile? Absolutely. But, we are all doing the best we know how to for our kids because each child is different. So, you do you because you know what works best for your kids.  Maybe you've found something in this post to try.  Share your best suggestions in the comments!

I'm a true believer that God hand-picked us for our children because He knew they needed mom's like us.

Quilt, Target | Striped Sheet Set, Target | Dresser (8-drawer dresser) Ikea | Nightstand, local thrift store | Airplane picture (similar), Target | 'Hello' wall art, Hobby Lobby | 'Ladies Love a Gentleman' Art, Hobby Lobby | Galvanized Letter, Hobby Lobby | Toddler bed rail, Target

Want to see what Hank's room looked like before?  Check out Hanks nursery  If you want some details on the plank wall, check out this post.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Healthy(er) Eating, Where I Started

You know why I started eating healthier? (This is going to sound weird and crazy) I have always wanted a great pair of legs - Lean, muscular, Miss America-like legs that always look good in a pair of shorts.

But, it's taken me until my 30's and two kids to get on track with healthier eating to (hopefully) get me those legs. Of course I think more about the long-term health benefits for myself and my family.

As I've educated myself more on the topic of health and fitness I found that there are 3 things that are really important. Here they are, in order:

1. Sleep
2. Eating good food
3. Exercise

I seriously thought that just exercise would would do it all. Turns out there is more to it than that. There are some easy changes that I started with and a few resources that keep me pointed in the right direction.

I started with making some simple ingredient swaps - iodized salt, sour-cream, and granulated sugar for sea salt, greek yogurt and pure maple syrup.

Sea salt is less processed than table salt and because it's less processed, it has more flavor resulting in the idea that you may use less. I also think sea salt has a better flavor.

Greek Yogurt is a really easy swap for sour cream.  Anywhere you use sour cream - tacos, fajitas, potatoes, dips - you can swap for greek yogurt. You can also find it in dressings, usually those in the produce aisle. If you are a fan of chip dip, make your own with greek yogurt.

Pure maple syrup  is a really good swap for white, granulated cane sugar. I use it in a lot of recipes and put it in my oatmeal.  There are some online resources that show you how to swap it for granulated sugar. Pure maple syrup does come with a bit of a price tag so buy it on a grocery shopping trip when your husband is not with you (I'm telling you this from experience.) Other really good sugar substitutes are raw honey or coconut sugar.

I've also found a few clean-eating cookbooks that not only have good recipes but are really good resources. I've been able to successfully make these for my strictly meat-and-potatoes and casserole liking husband.

My favorites are the Laura Lea Balanced Cookbook, Dashing Dish, Lexi's Clean Kitchen, and Nutrition Stripped.  The recipes are all pretty normal, run-of-the-mill dishes. They just have healthier ingredients. All of these authors have blogs full of recipes and really good instagram accounts that serve as really good resources.

Additionally I've tried to add a vegetable and protein to every meal, and eat snacks that include a vegetable or fruit, protein and healthy grain or healthy fat. Snacks are my biggest downfall - not because I eat junk, I just don't stop during the day to eat snacks which leads to poor meal decisions sometimes.  I also try to make something healthy I can grab for breakfast as I'm running out the door like these blueberry donuts.

Now that I've shared all of this, you need to know this one important thing about me. I'm a sucker for Cheetos (the Simply kind), Casey's pizza, and sweets (give me all the cookies and caramel m&ms).

However, I did find the perfect healthy cookie for you all (actually my sister found it and recommended it to me). I made these ones last week and they are SO GOOD! Here is the recipe.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Living Room Addition Decorating Plan

Yes - we are putting an addition on our house.  No - we are not expecting another baby.

It seems that we tackle a big renovation project when we are planning to add another member to our family.  When we were expecting Colton we renovated the whole main floor of our home.  When we were expecting Hank we re-configured our second floor to add a third bedroom.  Now, we are putting an addition on our living room and re-doing the front porch on our house.  Needless to say, we are spending the rest of our lives here since we've stuck so much money into this 100+ year old farm house.

But, it's home.

If you are new around here, or even if you're not, I think it's important to tell you that my husband and I are not DIY renovators.  We are more like the hire it done type of renovators.  Our projects usually go something like this....

Me: "Honey, I think we need to add onto the living room.  The boys are getting big, we are crammed when people come to visit and the boys have a lot of stuff."
Him: "We'll be fine, when the boys get older we'll never be around anyhow."
Me: "Right..."
Him: "Ok, I'll call the contractor"

He's good to me like that.  We also have a fantastic contractor in our area.

I do enjoy the decorating part of renovations and additions. I usually tackle this on my own.  For this living room addition I feel like I have a clear idea of how I'd like the space the feel - warm, cozy, modern farmhouse-ish.  I am also in love with texture - a variety of texture is what will give the space the cozy feeling.

I put together a mood board to give you an idea of the look and feel for the space. While some of these items will be exact items, I may find similar items that fit the budget a little better. Like the Pottery barn sectional - unless they want to do a collaboration??!!  (I'd do all the posts and complete a list of 100 requirements if they offered up this sectional!)

You'll probably take a look at a few of the items, like the counter stool and coat rack, and wonder what in the world they have to do with a living room decorating plan but let's be real - one thing always leads to another when you're re-decorating.

For the color, I'm going with Sherwin Williams Pearly White SW7009 for the entire main floor - living room, dining area, kitchen, entry, and staircase to our second floor.

no. 1 curtains | no. 2 bamboo shades | no. 3 sectional | no. 4 black & white pillow | no. 5 green tassel pillow | no. 6 herringbone area rug | no. 7 poster | no. 8 gold circle mirror | no. 9 Moroccan pouf | no. 10 velvet pillow | no. 11 runner rug | no. 12 counter stool | no. 13 coat hanger | no. 14 fiddle leaf fig

Want to see more things I'm thinking about for the space? Check out my Pinterest board.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Where I Get My Daily Dose of Inspiration

Social media has become a double-edged sword to for me - it can be a huge distraction to ourselves, our relationship and our families.  It can also be a source of inspiration for areas in our lives where we have an interest. For me that's faith, fashion, food, fitness, home decor and mom life.  (Huh! I guess I have more interests than I thought!)

So, here are a few people that I follow to get my daily dose of inspiration.


First 5 App
Strengthening my faith. That's always a good place to start the day.  My dear friend Leah recommended the First 5 app to me and it has been life-changing! The idea behind it is to spend your first 5 minutes each day with God rather than on social media. I have learned so much about God, the person he is calling me to be and a historical perspective and understanding of what brought us to this place.

Ashley Donielle
Ashley is the cutest mama to be. I found her account on instagram on a whim and I was hooked.  In fact, her style is so me that I bought two tops she recommended.  And, the icing on the cake was that I won my very first blog giveaway on her blog. Whaaaattt? (It was a makeup palette and brushes)

Hi Sugarplum!
Cassie from Hi Sugarplum was one of the very first blogs I followed going back 7+ years ago. She has evolved from home and lifestyle to more fashion and let me tell you, her style is on point.  She's been known to help me to spend a good chunk of change from time to time.

Beauty by Mimi
Ahhh Emily! She has THE BEST makeup - always - and the best makeup tutorials via Facebook live.  I've learned so much about makeup application from her.  She is also a Younique representative and good at it. She's the type of person who you just want to help her business grow. So, if you need Younique products, get them from her.

Rachel Marthaler
I have personally known Rachel since I was a freshman in college.  She is a beautiful person both inside and out.  Over the past couple of years she has been on a health and fitness journey (go check out her instagram to see this journey or check out her Facebook page.) with Beachbody and has climbed the coaching ranks. After I had Hank, she got me kick started on my own health and fitness journey.  I am now an avid Beachbody on Demand user.  Rachel also has a photography business (Rachel Marthaler Photography) that I highly recommend you check out if you are around Minnesota's Twin Cities South East suburbs.

LL Balanced
Laura Lea is holistic chef from Nashville. Watching her instagram stories has taught me a lot about healthy eating. Her recipes and cookbook are definitely worth giving a try.  I can successfully sneak these recipes on my husband's plate.

Lexi's Clean Kitchen
I've just recently started following Lexi and even got her cookbook for Christmas! Her recipes are pretty simple and filled with good for you stuff - especially if you are gluten free.  You must try out her gluten free cookie dough dip!

Chris Loves Julia
Ok - everyone knows Young House Love but do you know Chris Love Julia?! Julia is a must to get to know if you are into decorating your home. Gahhhh... I drool over their house.  If you asked me what my home decorating style was I'd say "Chris Loves Julia." As I begin to slowly re-decorate our home, once our living room addition is done, you'll probably notice that my house may look like a Chris Loves Julia hack. They also have a podcast!

One Little Momma
I love following Kilee. Her style is great, basically she is my fashion icon for being a cute, put-together mom. She's also a real mom to 4 (going on 5) boys so I feel she gets me. I think what made me feel the connection to her is that she's the first one to share that life isn't perfect.  In fact, I think we could be friends after she shared on her insta-stories that her boys were eating donuts for lunch while they were getting some work done on their vehicle.  Win!

There you go... a look at my daily inspiration.   As I attempt to start this blogging thing again I thought I'd begin with a soft re-introduction. I hope you stick around.

By the way - who else should I be following for inspiration??!!

Monday, May 1, 2017

April favorite things

Again, it's been awhile.  I'd attempt to explain myself but it in the end it would sound something like "I just didn't feel like blogging."  However, from time-to-time I feel inspired to write or share something so here I am!

I've found a few things that have come into my life that have definitely improved it!  Here are 3 of my favorite things that I've found over the past month+ (remember it's been awhile!)

I hate washing my face at night despite all of the benefits of healthier skin.  At the end of the day, after putting kids to bed, all I want to do is sit on the couch and pretend I'm going to watch a tv show with my husband (I always fall asleep) - NOT wash my face.  But THIS, Micellar Cleansing Water, is the answer!  Just squirt some on a cotton pad and gently wipe all over your face. It removes makeup, cleanses and refreshes.  It doesn't leave my face feeling dried out either.  By just getting my make up, dirt and build-up from the day off my skin, it's become healthier and I have a more even skin-tone. Try it.  It's the answer for those of us who are lazy.

I got this idea from One Little Mama (follow her on instagram @onelittlemomma, you wont regret it.  She is my style icon!) This is so refreshing and satisfies my craving for carbonation without the soda.  Since I've been drinking this - coconut LaCroix + Strawberry Crystal Light - soda doesn't even taste good to me anymore. So, if you want to kick the soda habit, try this as an alternative.

I thought I was buying lipstick but was pleasantly surprised when I found out this was actually tinted lip balm.  I've tried so many tinted lip balms only to be disappointed because they are sticky, gritty, or don't hydrate my lips.  This Covergirl Oh Sugar lip balm is the real deal - it feels like lip balm! The only downside is that I always feel like I'm putting on lipstick, which feels weird since I work with farmers all day.  Nothing like pulling out a tube of lipstick in the field... The two colors I got are shade 1 - cupcake (very sheer), and shade 2 - Candy BonBon (a hint of rose).