• gifts,  motherhood

    Mother’s Day Gift Guide

    Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I can hardly believe it. I feel like I just finished Christmas shopping and over a quarter of 2018 has come and gone. That said, Mother’s Day is a great way to show our mom’s just how much we care for them with a little something special. Today, I’m sharing some gift ideas to make your Mother’s Day shopping easier. (Take notes, babe!)

    Lisa Leonard Designs Jewelry

    stacking rings {sterling silver}

    (Photo via Lisa Leonard Designs)

    For Christmas, I received three of these stackable rings with my boys’ names. It was one of my favorite gifts.

    Kendra Scott

    Ethan Gold Pendant Necklace In Aqua Howlite

    Necklace 

     

     

    I love to read and I absolutely love to be given books. There are a few great books just released that will make great Mother’s Day gifts.

    Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering

    Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering – my sweet mom surprised me yesterday and let me know she has this for me! I can’t wait to dig in (literally!)!

    The Light Within Me

    The Light Within Me: An Inspirational Memoir – I read an excerpt of this book a few days ago and can’t wait to read the whole book. Plus, she’s a South Carolina girl like me!

    The Secret to Southern Charm – I know I keep talking about this book, but seriously, it was so good!

     

    Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life – I’m dying to read this book (hint, hint!)!

     

    Grateful Bags

    I LOVE my Grateful Bags! I love that the monograms are interchangeable. I have a few different styles that go with my bags and love them. I use the tote for work, have a clutch that’s great for a night out, and two smaller bags that will hold my phone, lipstick, and keys. Trust me — this is a great gift!

    MantraBands

     

    Bracelets - Always In My Heart

    I love my MantraBands. They have been a go-to gift for me and everyone I’ve gifted with one has loved them (or so they say!).

    In addition to the above, anything that can be used to make the moms in your life feel pampered are great – mani/pedi, bath salts, bubble bath, or nice pajamas.  Cute journals, chocolates, and handmade cards are always loved, too. Whatever you choose to give, remember, moms are special and more than anything, they just want to be reminded how lucky you feel to have them.

    **We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
  • Easter,  gifts,  holidays

    How to Build the Ultimate Easter Basket

    I love holidays and I LOVE preparing gifts for my kids for them. With Easter just around the corner, here are my tips on building the best Easter baskets.

    Start with a great basket. All of our kids have similar baskets that are used year after year. When I was growing up, I got a new basket from the Easter Bunny (and both sets of grandparents) each year, so my parents’ attic is full of Easter baskets. I didn’t want to have this same clutter problem in my attic (It’s cluttered with plenty of other junk already!), so we’ve stuck to the same basket year after year. Last year, when it was time to get Caleb a basket for his first Easter, I tried to find one just like our older boys, but couldn’t, so I got one very similar from Target and had his name embroidered on it. (I love anything personalized!) Just for fun, here’s baby Caleb in his basket.

    A similar basket can be found here.

     

    Add some basics. I always add a bunny or stuffed animal of some sort to the basket. I love Jellycat stuffed animals. Caleb got the Jellycat Bashful Bunny for his first Easter and he’s getting another Jellycat Bashful Bunny this year, just in a different color. He loves his bunny and carries it EVERYWHERE, so we thought it would be smart to get another one. You know, just in case something happens to Mr. Bun Bun.

    I also always add a book or two. Our oldest loves Rick Riordan’s books, so I’ve picked up The Red Pyramid for him. Our middle loves these crazy treehouse books (if you haven’t read one and have little boys, you should), so he’s getting The 78-Story Treehouse. For Caleb, I got Fred and Ted Go Camping. He loves Big Dog, Little Dog, so I thought he’d enjoy this one (I know I will, too!).


    I also like to get a devotional or a book that tells the reason for Easter – that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again three days later so we can spend eternity in Heaven with Him as long as we ask Him into our hearts. One devotional that we recently received is Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science by Louie Giglio. It’s really good and includes all these cool facts about things our boys are interested in. (Side note: I heard Louie Giglio speak during a concert I went to when I was in college. Talk about awesome!)

    For Caleb, I picked up The Story of Easter.

    Include things you need. Now, I don’t know about your house, but at my house, we have so many toys. With our two older kids close in age, we seem to have nearly two or everything (or two similar things… for everything), and now with the baby, we have baby toys galore, so for holidays like Easter and Valentine’s Day (and even birthdays to some extent), I try to include things that the boys could really use instead of just toys. For Easter, I always like to give the boys a new bathing suit and anything else they may need for the upcoming warm weather like new flip flops.

    My big boys are now into board shorts. They especially like Quiksilver. For the baby, I love Target’s swimwear. Since he’s growing so fast, I hate to invest a ton of money into bathing suits he may not be able to wear in three months. These suits are so cute:

    Surfboard Swim Trunks

    Cactus Swim Trunks

    Multi-Stripe Swim Trunks

    He also needs some shoes that are good for the beach and quick wear, so I ordered these Native Kids from Zappos.
    Native Kids Jefferson

     

    Finish with fun and candy. No Easter basket is complete without a chocolate bunny and Peeps. I also add some plastic eggs filled with candy. To top it all off, I add some fun, little things like kites, bubbles, or other outdoor items. Some other items that I always like for baskets are beach towels, hats, and sunglasses. Really, anything that is good for Spring/Summer and being outside.

    Image result for peeps

     

    There you have it. Start with a basket, add some basics, include some things your kids need, and top it all off with some candy and fun items.

     

    What tips do you have for building an Easter basket?

  • gifts,  motherhood

    MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE | For the mom who has everything

    I can’t believe April is almost over. It seems like just yesterday I was yearning for warm weather, and now, in less than two weeks, we’ll celebrate our favorite mothers.

    If you’re anything like me, choosing gifts for Mother’s Day can be challenging. In our family, Mother’s Day falls a few weeks before both my mom and my MIL’s birthdays. I like to give heartfelt, thoughtful gifts with meaning, but it’s sometimes hard to come up with those gifts in a few weeks’ span. My mom and my MIL would both tell you that we don’t have to get them anything, but that’s really not an acceptable answer (Love you both!) The truth is, sometimes picking out gifts can be overwhelming especially when it involves purchasing things for the mom who has everything (and if she doesn’t, she’ll go out and buy it when she wants it).

    Here are 8 gift ideas to make your Mother’s Day shopping trip(s) a little easier!

    1. A Stack of Inspirational Bracelets to Show How Much You Care

    I am obsessed with MantraBands. I received a few for Christmas and gave some as gifts. I’ve not-so-secretly hinted that I’d like some in silver for Mother’s Day. 
    2. Birthstone Alex and Ani Bangles.
    I must be stuck on bracelets today, but I think they make good gifts. Why not give the mothers in your life birthstone bangles?
    3. Monogrammed Bag
    I LOVE Grateful Bags. There’s just something about a monogram that makes anything better. I received a tote for Christmas from Grateful Bags and love it.
    4. Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
    I saw this company on Shark Tank and I have to say, this idea is genius. Who doesn’t eat raw cookie dough? Anytime we make cookies, I find our boys and myself dying to eat the cookie dough, but I know we shouldn’t because of the raw eggs. Why not give mom some safe-to-eat cookie dough to enjoy? After all, she deserves it!
    5. A Day of Pampering
    Being a mom is the greatest thing in the world, but sometimes, you get tired. Why not show your mom (or wife) how much you appreciate her by giving her a day to get pampered rather than do the pampering? 
    6. Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt/Sorbet/Ice Cream Maker

    When I was growing up, I remember my parents making homemade ice cream so many nights. As an adult, I love frozen yogurt and am often the instigator of our trips to get some. Why not make it easy to have frozen yogurt at any time? 
    7. Rodan + Fields Products
    Rodan + Fields is awesome (disclaimer: I’m an independent consultant). I love knowing that I’m doing something good for my skin when I use my R+F products. If you’re interested in trying the products or purchasing some for your mom, please let me know. I have mini-facials I’m happy to send for those just wanting to try to products. 
    8. A Basket of Her Favorite Things
    I love basket gifts. My sister and mom are both really good at giving these gifts, too. Basically, just a basket of her favorite things. 
    VS Giftcard – Who doesn’t want a new bathing suit?
    Reese Peanut Butter Cups
    OPI Nail Polish
    Do you have any Mother’s Day gift ideas? I really need help! 
  • gifts,  holidays,  Valentine's Day

    VALENTINE’S DAY PRETTIES | A gift guide of sorts

    I got an email this morning from an old colleague about the best chocolates in the world. It was a reminder about Valentine’s Day. It made me start thinking about the upcoming holiday (and chocolate). I’m generally not a huge “I want this!” kind of girl, but that email and my husband asking me what I’d like for the holiday made me think about some things that might be nice to have.
    I enjoy Valentine’s Day because it’s fun to think of something sweet and unique to give my husband. I like to reminisce about our love story, too. (Cue the sappy music.) I’m very thankful, though, that our love for each other is demonstrated every day and I don’t need a special day to remember that. That said, I do love the romance and fun that comes with this set-aside day to celebrate the one I love!
    I’m not a huge things person; I’d rather get a really sweet card and and an experience (I’m all about that.) I’d plan something fun to do together like a concert, dinner and a movie, or a couples massage. (Don’t worry, I take care of that one for every occasion – it’s become a joke in our house that I get a gift every time there’s something, including my husband’s birthday, to celebrate because I always get him a gift certificate for a couple’s massage!) But, if I have to make a list of “things” I’d like, here are a few ideas.
    I’ve started wearing a lot more gold jewelry than I have in the past and I don’t have a gold watch. I got a nice silver watch for our first anniversary and have a tortoiseshell I wear from time to time, but I don’t have a gold watch. I like wearing a watch to work because I like to know what time it is, especially when I’m sitting in a long meeting (I don’t like to take my cell phone in most meetings).

    Another sweet gift would be a photo book of you and your Valentine. I’m the queen of making photo books and a nice small one with photos of my Valentine and I would be treasured forever. Blurb is currently running a 20% off promotion.
    I also need a new makeup bag. My old freebie bag from Clinique has seen better days. We gave my sister a cute Scout bag for her birthday and I rather liked it for myself.
    A box full of love notes and chocolate is always welcome, too.
    But really, the greatest gift (as cliche as it sounds) is getting to have my Valentine everyday for life.
    What’s on your Valentine wish list?

  • boys,  family,  fun,  gifts,  Halloween

    Halloween Recap

    We had an awesome Halloween… a week ago! We had a great time with our Indiana Jones and Ninja. We did lots of fun activities and had a blast with everything!

    Treat Bags
    The weekend before Halloween, the boys made their treat bags. I love doing treat bags for each “big” occasion (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter) and they love helping. This year, they each picked out their own bags and goodies and even filled them themselves. All they needed me for was to tie the bags up with tulle and ad a tag! 😉

    (Sorry for the poor quality iPhone pic!)

    K.C. picked out orange and black striped bags that he filled with neon teeth, parachute skeletons, Halloween pencils, some chocolate candy, chocolate graham Goldfish, Halloween ring pops, dum dums and gummy eye balls.

     Kaden chose pumpkin bags and filled them with skeleton parachuting men, Halloween pencils, chocolate candy, chocolate graham Goldfish, Halloween ring pops, dum dums and gummy eye balls.
    I found these cute printables on Lil’ Luna. I printed them out and tied them on each bag and added the boys’ names to the back.

    Teacher Treats
    I like to give teacher treats, too. I bought everything for Christmas treats a month ago, but couldn’t decide on Halloween. Thankfully, Lil’ Luna came to the rescue again and I made these awesome cookie jars. The boys gave them to their teachers and I brought some to work for my colleagues. They were a big hit (even if they were semi-frustrating to put together but that could’ve been because it was almost midnight when I was making them!)

    Pumpkin Carving
    Pumpkin carving is a big tradition in our family. My granddad always gets a pumpkin for us to carve and we always carve one with Kevin’s parents. This year, since my granddad fell and has been moved to a rehab facility, we didn’t get to carve one with him. He’d already gotten us a pumpkin, so we did the next best thing – painted one for him. We were down at my parents’ one afternoon and I let the boys each design and paint/color one side of the pumpkin.

    Before Halloween, we dressed the boys up in their costumes and took them to visit and to deliver the pumpkin to Bruce. He was excited and so were they!

    We also carved a pumpkin with Kevin’s parents. K.C. designed it, my FIL cleaned it out and I carved it (Kevin’s finger injury had happened at this point, so he took pictures).


    School Parade, Fall Festival and Halloween Night
    Kaden’s school has a Halloween parade each year. He looked so cute marching in it!

    Our church has a really nice Fall Festival every year and the boys had a great time with their cousins at it. We ate hot dogs, played games and rode on a hay ride. It was fun! Kaden and sweet Mia were literally inseparable all night.
    On Halloween night, we all met at our house for Trick-or-Treating. Ordinarily, we go to my SIL’s neighborhood, but this year, we stayed in ours for the first part. We had a great time, but it was insane. People were parking at the entrance to our neighborhood to trick-or-treat there. We walked down our street and another with the boys, our youngest nieces, my FIL, mom, sister and our neighbors while my MIL and dad handed out candy at our house. After trick-or-treating, we all went over to my SIL and BIL’s for some great food and treats!

    What’s your favorite part of Halloween?

    Do you have any Halloween traditions?