February 5, 2016

DIY FRIDAY: EASY FLORAL CROWN TUTORIAL







WHITE DRESS (under $50!)  ||  INITIAL NECKLACE  ||  WATCH

photos by rad and happy

Two years ago for Valentine's Day, my sister in law and her family came to visit. We had a fun V-Day dinner all together, and as part of it we each made floral crowns. I think they're such a pretty, feminine accessory and are fun to wear this time of year to a Valentine's (or Galentine's) party, or really whenever you feel like adding a pretty, floral touch to your outfit. And of course my little nieces were obsessed with them and wore them all night long.

This one is super easy to make, and although I just used baby's breath and some little green leaves, you can use this tutorial and add as many other kinds of flowers as you'd like. Just have fun with it!


Click READ MORE to find the full step by step tutorial!

February 4, 2016

A DAY IN THE LIFE (OR HOW I BALANCE LIFE AS A WORKING MOM)


One of the questions that I think mom bloggers get the most often is, "how do you do it all?" And while I absolutely do not do it all, and do not have it all together, I've figured out a system that works for us right now and allows me to do as much as I can. And it all hinges on my secret weapon that I'll share with you today.

Quiet time.

I've always been a huge advocate of my kids learning to play on their own. I'm the kind of mom who reads to them, colors with them, and takes them to the library or the park, but I fully admit I don't like to get down on the floor and play cars or legos (although I get coerced into it every once in a while).

But both of my boys have bursting imaginations, and there's nothing I love more than seeing those imaginations take flight as they play together and on their own. Toca Boca just launched their "Stand for Play" campaign, and I love their philosophy that play is not something that's "nice to have," it's essential for raising happy and good kids who turn into awesome adults.

So even though I'm not a playing kind of mom, I make sure there are large blocks of time in their day when my kids can play, imagine, and create. That's where quiet time comes in, and it's also how I get anything done during the day with two small children. It keeps them happy, since they get to freely play, and keeps me happy because I'm able to get my work done.

Want to see how we do it? Here's a little Day in the Life at our house.




7:30am: Everyone wakes up. The boys often wake up a few minutes before, but they aren't allowed to come out of their (separate) rooms until the clock says 7:30. The second it reads 7:30, they're in B's room to squeeze in their 25 minutes of play time (which always means legos) before it's time to get ready for school.

7:30am: My alarm clock goes off, I check my phone for a few minutes, say my morning prayers, make the bed, and get my exercise clothes on. Also a quick teeth brushing is thrown in there.

7:55am: Remind B to make his bed if he hasn't already, then get Fos dressed. We lay out B's clothes the night before, so he gets dressed first thing.

8:00am: Time to head downstairs for breakfast. Bagels cut in thirds with a different cream cheese on each section is the favorite right now. I make a green smoothie and divide it between the three of us, then make myself a piece of toast with butter and raspberry jam.

8:15am: Pack B's lunch and make sure his backpack is ready for the day.

8:20am: Clean up breakfast, everyone gets their shoes on, and we head out the door to walk to school.


8:45am: Drop off B at school and head home with Fos.

Up until a about a month ago, my friend and I would go on a 4 mile walk at 9am, three days a week. I've been sick and very pregnant, so we haven't been doing it lately, but this is my exercise time and would get us home at about 10am, and then our day would continue as follows, just with no park time.

9:00am: Once we're home, I unload the dishwasher from the night before and usually Fos asks for a little more breakfast.



9:20am: I pull out the basket of cars and bring them up to my room so Fos can play while I get ready. I take a shower and then do my hair and makeup. Fos loves this morning time on his own when B isn't there to steal his favorite cars, so he happily plays by himself, telling stories about the cars and driving them around on the rug and the wood floors.


10:15am: I'm all ready for the day, so we clean up the cars and head to his room to read some books together. After a few books, we head back to my room and sort the laundry and get a load started.


11:00am: It's park day with friends, so we pack a lunch for each of us and get ready to go. We pick up his best friend on the way and the three of us head to the park.

11:45am: Since it's lunch time, we head straight for the picnic tables and eat our lunch before they head off to play. Other moms are at the park too, so I sit and talk with them while the kids play. Fos calls me every once in a while to show off some funny way he's going down the slide, or how he made it to the top of the climbing structure.



2:00pm: It's getting late and the kids are exhausted and sweaty after playing and running, so I load them up in the car and we head home, dropping off his friend on the way.

2:15pm: We switch the laundry, check the mail, and open a few packages that have arrived.

2:30pm: Time to go pick up B from school, so back in the car.

3:00pm: Back home, unpack the backpack, and the boys are up at the counter ready for an after school snack. And I'll never say no to a snack either.

3:30pm: Once they're done with their snack, it's time to start quiet time. This is a full ninety minutes of them playing on their own, and my time to work. They usually play together, but if they're not getting along then they play separately in their rooms. They mostly build with legos, but they also play cars and imagination games. Also I should mention that I do have to run downstairs to help Fos go to the bathroom, and occasionally they come up to my office and want to show me something they've built, but for the most part they know they need to stay in their rooms and that I'm pretty off-limits for these 90 minutes.

This time also sometimes turns into photo time and I'll hire a babysitter while my photographer and I go out and shoot looks for the week. We usually do that about once a week.






5:00pm: Quiet time is over and it's time for "School Time" while I get dinner ready. The boys sit up at the counter and each have a laptop (although sometimes Fos opts to color instead). Fos works on his letters, numbers, and reading on Starfall.com, and B works on his coding lessons on code.org, typing on our computer program, handwriting out of this book, and he does his nightly kindergarten homework.




6:00pm: Dinner is on the table, Philip usually walks in the door right around now, electronics are put away, and we all sit down to eat.

6:30pm: Dinner is over and while Philip does the dishes (I love him), the boys and I set up The Game of Life Junior. They got this game from friends for Christmas and ask to play it almost every night. We play a round as a family and try to avoid the grouchiness that inevitably comes when someone loses.

7:00pm: Upstairs and time to get ready for bed. A quick bath for each of the boys, teeth brushed, personal scriptures read, and sometimes a quick interruption for some wrestling on our bed with Daddy.

7:30pm: Everyone meets in B's room for family scripture study and family prayer.

7:45pm: Philip puts Fos to bed, and I stay in B's room and read aloud to him for 15 minutes before his bedtime.



8:00pm: Set out B's clothes for the next morning, then one last hug and kiss, and lights out.

8:05pm: I look at my phone for a few minutes, probably post an instagram, and then Philip and I both get ready for bed.

8:30pm: Once we're ready for bed, we head downstairs where I work on the computer prepping blog posts, answering emails, or illustrate a tutorial. Philip sits on the couch by me and watches the news or sports center. I don't work during this time every night...I try to have no work nights several times a week so I can just focus on my husband and spend time with him.

10:00pm: Philip heads to bed, and I head upstairs to my office so I can get some sewing done.

12:00pm: I've made a goal this year to be in bed by midnight every night, and although I haven't succeeded every night, I'm actually doing really well. Probably being 8 months pregnant helps force me there too. Goodnight!



Although this isn't how every day at our house goes, it's how most of them go right now. Of course adding a newborn to the mix next month will definitely change a lot of this, but for now this is how I balance everything and try to maintain a good mix of work time with mom time. And it helps me give my kids enough time with me, and enough free playing time on their own, since we all majorly value that and benefit from it!

Check out Toca Boca's Stand for Play to learn more about the state of play in America, spread the word, and you can even sign up to get one of their cute, FREE posters (the first 2,000 parents will get a free poster if you share on Facebook)! Then have your kids decorate the back and share on social media with #standforplay!




thank you to Toca Boca for sponsoring this post. Photos by Rad and Happy 

February 3, 2016

GAME DAY STYLE (+ MY FAVORITE SALSA RECIPE)








OUTFIT DETAILS: BASEBALL SLEEVE DRESS (refashion by me, tutorial here) ||  CHAMBRAY  || OLD J.CREW HAT, SIMILAR HERE  ||  LILY JADE BAG  ||  CONVERSE 

GRAY STRIPED MATERNITY TEE || JEANS c/o A PEA IN THE POD MATERNITY    


Who else is ready for Super Bowl Sunday? Admittedly I'm only in it for the food, the commercials, and to be a supportive wife. When Philip and I started dating, I was completely clueless when it came to sports, and although I had a college all-sports pass and went to a lot of different sporting events, I was only there to be social, and had absolutely no clue what was going on at any point during the game.

But after nine years of being married to a sports fanatic I've finally figured out most of the rules (specifically of football...don't ask me anything about baseball or soccer), and actually watch the game rather than just blankly stare.

It's tradition in our house to do a big food spread of all our favorite appetizers, especially my favorite salsa (recipe below!) and all watch it together. We used to do it with all of Philip's extended family when we lived in Utah, but now that we're here we just do it on our own with the boys.

It's always so fun, but of course eating on the couch with messy appetizers and two little boys gets super messy really fast, so I had to figure out a solution that kept me from being a crazy clean freak mom the entire game. Persil ProClean sent us their new 2in1 detergent, which is rated higher than any other stain removal detergent, and even a giant salsa splatter on Benson's white striped shirt came right out! So I can sit and enjoy family time without having to stress about the messes that are happening. And after the game is over, I can toss our throw pillows and blankets in the wash with Persil's detergent and clean them right up.

I'm prepping our menu over the next few days, so if you have a good game day food, share it below in the comments! Here's our favorite salsa recipe that's always requested for Super Bowl Sunday:

Salsa
1 can whole tomatoes
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 can diced green chilies
2-3 stalks of green onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes (add less if you want your salsa mild)
1 tsp garlic powder

Chop the cilantro and green onions, then combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend on pulse mode (so you can control it a little better) until it's your desired consistency. I like my salsa a little chunky, so I don't let it blend for more than a few seconds.

Transfer to a bowl and chill. Serve cold with your favorite tortilla chips, and then use Persil ProClean 2in1 to clean it off your clothes when your three year old inevitably spills it all down his front ;) 



thank you to persil for sponsoring this post | photos by rad and happy
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