Tuesday, October 18, 2016

New Arrivals for Fall

I am currently eating the entire row of Oreo thin mints and watching Madam Secretary on Netflix for the second time while my babies sleep and Eric is out of town for work. And I am swooning over all of the new Fall arrivals for my two little people. It still feels too warm for beanies and knit sweaters but when it does we will be ready! :) This season I am loving the bell sleeves and cannot get over all of the pink! We love it at our house and the hat, with the shoes makes for a perfect weekend at the pumpkin patch. And sneakers that are just as fabulous and are velcro, a total mom win! The detail on the wren top is perfect, a total bohemian feel and perfect for Fall. 

I have always loved the Rags rompers and Aden looks stinking so cute in them! This one is the best colors for an afternoon crunching leaves. The jacket is to die for and I cannot wait to have cooler weather and have him wear it out for a Mommy and Aden date! :) Plus those shoes, easy to put on is exactly what we need for our busy mornings getting sister to pre-school. We have plans for picking apples, watching movies and being outside now that it's a little cooler. Mornings in the park have been our new favorite thing! The giggles along with the crisp fresh air is exactly what I need to wake up!

p.s. there are only 68 more days until Christmas and I cannot wait! I am literally so freaking excited this year!!! As always, thank you so much for following along!! -XO!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dinner Date with Yankee Candle

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveAmericanHome #cbias #CollectiveBias

Nothing is better than when you walk through the front door and the fragrance of cinnamon or cookies welcomes you! We are always burning the wicks to make our house feel more like home. We keep candles in every bathroom, in the kitchen and of course our master bedroom, it's just part of the decor. I love when guests come over and are invited with your favorite fragrance, I think that helps create memories and holidays are a perfect fit with candles, the fragrance of Fall or Christmas helps burn the memory in for years to come. Holidays are a perfect fit with candles and with the upcoming holidays, party planning can be simple with these few steps.

1 || Simplicity is key, so strip it back; it should be approachable, not finicky or cluttered. Entertaining should be unhurried, yet natural and it should illustrate an effortless chic. Have the confidence to embrace a lighter touch and focus more on the overall feel of a scene than the traditional details. It should be personal, comfortable, simple, and always chic. Avoid taking anything too seriously, it’s all about relaxation and great company. If something goes wrong, laugh it off! French tablescapes are natural, rustic, relaxed, and effortless, which is perfect for a Fall themed party or event. Beside each setting, arrange some olive-tree leaves or cut some pretty green springs from your surroundings, anything for a natural vibe. Bring anything from outdoors to your table settings. I used leaves that we found at Adie's soccer game and branches from our neighbors dead lemon tree. For the finishing touch, make sure you have plenty of candles all along the table so that you can keep talking long into the night. (Bonus: Everyone looks good by candlelight.)

Set a simpler table. 
| a water glass and another glass at each setting for an alternate beverage.
|| a white plate: food always looks best on a white plate and especially for Fall, topped with a bowl if you’re serving soup!
||| a bistro napkin folded on the plate, choose a cotton one, linen often requires ironing
|||| a fork, a knife, and a spoon, though you need the spoon only if you’re serving soup. Too many forks and knives can be overwhelming and one of each is plenty and keeps the tablescape simple. When you serve dessert, you can bring the dessert spoons or forks in a mason jar.

A final note on the table: I'm a big believer in place cards, they are so fun! You can have your little people help make them ahead of time, and then arrange them so that no one feels the pressure of figuring out where to sit (which is the worst).

2 || Prepare everything in advance in order to create a festive atmosphere, you need to lead the charge in serving up that party spirit, but you can’t do that if you’re stuck in the kitchen the entire time. As the host, you need to ensure everyone is having a good time, including yourself. :) Now you can enjoy the convenience of Yankee Candle® brands and their favorite fragrance brand while shopping for all of your holiday staples at Walmart. The American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brand collection offers timeless fragrances for dinner parties, gifts and creating memories. One of our favorites and has been burning all day is the Homemade Pumpkin Pie and we are in love, it's one of the first things we do when we wake up, light the candles. It's like feeling cozy even when you have a to-do list that keeps you busy. I spray painted leaves I found outside and sprayed them gold and wrote their names on with a white paint pen. Taped off the stems of a few white small pumpkins and sprayed gold paint and let dry a few days before the party. And that’s why I always make sure to prepare the dishes in advance, so all I have to do are a few little last-minute arrangements, lighting our favorite American Home™ by Yankee Candle® and pouring drinks. Preparing cheese trays is fun, delicious and easy. I prepared these trays the night before and kept them cool overnight. My new favorite to serve is this pretzel bread I found at Trader Joe's, perfect with peppered salami and cheese! If people aren’t rolling out our door at the end of the night, the meal wasn’t a success. 

3 || Final Touches include flowers, lighting candles, hiding anything in drawers and pushing play on your favorite playlist. Cut your flowers ahead of time to create the perfect centerpiece. Keep them in water overnight and they will last the entire party. The Spicy Cinnamon American Home™ by Yankee Candle® brings back memories of the holidays, Christmas morning to be exact. I love how a fragrance can bring you back to unwrapping presents with your little babes. Create a playlist! If you really want to set the scene, music is key. Softly playing in the background for moments where silence catches you off guard. Which really never happens with great company and even better food. We are always listening to music, it's another way to create those memories that will last a lifetime.

4 || Smile and Relax! Yes, having people over and feeding them can be stressful, especially when you run into any last-minute hiccups. If you seem stressed, your guests get a message that this is a burden. When you invite people over, your job is to feed them and make them happy and take care of them for the night. So that means even if you’re totally stressed out and the chicken is burnt, you welcome them at the door with a smile on your face and make sure they get a drink. Better yet, avoid the stress in the first place. Make something you’ve already made before, so you don’t get too caught up in a recipe. Even if you're totally stressed out and the chicken is burnt, you welcome [guests] at the door with a smile on your face and give them a beverage. 

5 || Cheers! Once everyone is seated and served, kick things off on a high note with a toast. All that matters is taking that moment to mark the meal, just toast to whatever you’re grateful for, like fun friends and good times. And remember that part of taking care of your guests for the night means leading the way, right until the evening is over. So don't clear any plates until you are ready to break up the party. Your home deserves the finest seasonal fragrances and Walmart offers you the convenience of shopping this beloved quality brand while preparing for all of your other holiday gifting and festivity needs.

You can literally serve a loaf of bread, a bottle of whatever, and if you are genuinely happy and grateful for the people at your table, you will have a great dinner party.

A few tips and tricks with American Home™ by Yankee Candle® 1. Always burn your candle on a heat resistant surface, keep it out of drafts and NEVER leave it unattended while lit. 2. Make sure the candle wicks are cut 1/8 of an inch to ensure the flame isn’t too large 3. Each time you burn your candle, allow the entire top layer to become a fragrant pool of liquid wax and you’ll get the biggest, boldest fragrance possible.

photos by our favorite gina_b_photography

Friday, October 7, 2016

Crockpot Potato Soup

Happy Friday!!!!!! (finally) Last week I actually wrote out a menu and this soup is one of our favorites that we made. I love meals that I can quickly throw together, being busy with two little people and it turn out like I spent forever in the kitchen. Fall is our favorite time to make yummy soups and I want to try a really good chili, like a spicy delicious chili. This one looks so delicious and perfect for Fall's chilly weather! :) Just a few ingredients, a few hours and even leftovers, which seems to always be better with soups. This crockpot potato soup is creamy, has major flavor and the more cheese the better! You can literally top it with anything you would a baked potato. Eric likes bacon on his, I stick to cheese (a lot) and green onion. It is fast to make, so easy and most importantly, delicious! Perfect for any weeknight dinner. Eric only had one request, bigger diced potatoes, so we are calling that a win!

For the soup ||
5 pounds russet potatoes, washed and peeled, diced into ½ inch cubes
1 small/medium yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced, If you use jarred, it's a 2½ teaspoon equivalent.
8 cups chicken stock or broth
16 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use low fat)
1 tablespoon seasoned salt

Top with optional garnishes, crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream

Directions ||
1. Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning, and chicken stock to slow cooker.
2. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours. 
3. Add the softened cream cheese and puree soup with an immersion blender until the cheese is incorporated and about half the soup is blended. (Alternately you could remove half the soup and the cream cheese to an upright blender, then re-incorporate). 
4. Stir well, top with your choice of garnishes & enjoy!

Happy Weekend! -XO!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Focusing on Joy

A challenge to find joy and happiness in every day. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially being a stay-at-home Mommy. Most days (for me) are filled with meltdowns, sweeping, being the referee, more sweeping and a lot of freaking fabulous moments. Like today, when Adie just grabbed Aden and pulled him on her lap (in her favorite chair) while they watched Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol, I know she picked the movie, my heart literally almost burst. Especially listening to her talk and giggle with him, it lasted for a good two-minutes but today, that's my joy! Nothing at this very moment gives me more joy than my two little babies! It is a type of happiness only parents can explain and it literally is magic. Now moments like when Aden threw his first meltdown (in public) over a firetruck he almost climbed out of the cart for was such a ... hot mess. Granted it lasted not even five minutes which feels like an hour when you are at Hobby Lobby looking for napkins for a photo shoot before pre-school drop-off. He can scream, throw himself back and cry way better than Adie could. 

If you guys follow Mint Arrow on Instagram than you know she helped put this focusing on joy challenge together and I couldn't love it more. I need to remember it's the little things that can bring the most joy. Obviously right now, my little people, but every day actions can change your view on what joy is. "The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives, and everything to do with the focus of our lives." -Russel M. Nelson So if you are following along the challenge, first thing is to print out the download (quote from Russel M. Nelson) and hang it somewhere where you will see every day! I've decided to hang it in a picture frame right next to our front door so we will see it over and over throughout the day. I'm excited to do our daily joy challenges especially with Adie and Aden. So follow along with us and lets have more joy, everyday!

 table (similar here and here) | chair | rug | frames

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Favorite Fall Accessories

Happy October! Crisp air, pumpkin spice everything, crunchy leaves and the cutest outfits, in this case, accessories! Loving all things pink, yellow and fuzzy pom-poms! :) Being a busy Mama I like comfy practical and cannot wait to get those puffball platform sneakers! I think Adie and Aden will get a kick out of them and the fact that I can slip them on and be out the door is a huge win! I am in need of a new favorite pair of sunglasses since Aden broke mine while he was sitting on my lap at the dentist. I am swooning over these round sunglasses and they are super affordable from Nordstrom. Starting the gym this month and want a fitbit to keep track of everything and it seems like to best way to get motivated. Plus you can get texts, has caller-ID and has calendar alerts! So fun!! On days (which is mostly all of them) I don't want to do my hair the knit beanie is perfect and love the pom-pom too! If I was a rich girl (nah nah nah) I would most definitely buy that Fendi Karlito bag charm! The best thing that would happen to any bag, which I am in love with the color of this one. And of course a new bag needs a new wallet, this soft pink one matches perfectly!!! :) I love a small wallet because sometimes I just need to make a quick stop and they fit perfect in your back pocket! 

I cannot believe this picture is from last year, same day! Aden has grown up so much and now Adie is spelling pizza. Tomorrow Adie has school pictures! She is growing up way too fast and today she told me she couldn't wait to grow up and have boobs! #truestory I told her to not be in a hurry she'll eventually get them. Happy Sunday and thanks for following along! -XO!