This post was sponsored by S&W Beans and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
You know how some days you think that maybe feeding your family grilled cheese and cereal again probably isn’t a great idea. I get in a making dinner rut, too. I just don’t want to make it. But because I’m the only one that cooks I just have to do it- even if it is something simple. Continue reading Recipe: Chili Bean and Quinoa Tacos
This post was sponsored by Reebok through Activate Bloglovin’ All opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!
Is it shallow of me to think that fashion is more than just superficial- but that it can serve as a way to connect? When I see someone wearing a beautiful piece of clothing, I usually tell them. It often starts with a compliment and then leads to a conversation. And then sometimes friendship:
I remember one of the first times meeting my sister in law and she was wearing a hoodie with gorgeous pearl earrings after an evening at a bonfire. My husband, her brother, later told me that she knew we’d get along because we were both wearing the same thing. Silly? Yes. But, it’s true! Continue reading Connecting Through Fashion
I think there are only a handful of times when I am actively trying to get my kids to wear coordinating/matching outfits: Christmas, Easter and when we take family pictures. Any more and I’d drive myself mad! Running from store to store trying to pick out something that matches the other store’s outfit and the one in the closet…..ahhh it’s just too much. I rarely go to store anymore. I prefer to online shop and that makes things easier but after having to plan for multiple of these events for years already, I’ve learned a few things when trying to coordinate outfits for my kids for special days like Easter.
Try to shop from one store. Stores, like Carter’s, usually have a unifying color palette throughout their departments from babies to kids. I got shirts, shoes, bowties (the ones I got sold out but linked to similar one) and dress shorts for my boys that coordinate perfectly with the girls’ cute spring dresses. And if you can find shoes, bonus!
Pick a statement piece (like a bold floral pattern) for one or two people to wear. Then pick subtler (like light stripes or even a solid color) coordinating pieces for everyone else. For those wearing the subtler main piece, try to sneak in a little oomph with texture (like a crochet dress), a patterned shirt layered under, a patterned bow tie or embroidered bottoms. Alternating the patterns (within patterns and from top to bottom pieces) is important so doesn’t look cluttered and overloaded.
Know before you go. If you are planning on going to the physical store, then I say you have to do your research and check their online store. See what they have and see if it matches your criteria. It saves you from having to go from store to store to see what they have. When shopping for multiple kids I also look for coupons or promo codes because…ouch! Kids grow out of their stuff quickly (goodbye baby clothes) and it hurts to spend all that money! So if I can save some money I will look for it! Lucky for you I have a special 25% off Carter’s coupon promo code that you can use online or in-store when you spend $40. My kids just steal the show, huh? I can’t wait to take pictures of them all dressed up for Easter before we head to church…or maybe after because church is too early we are always rushing to get there on time.
It is still a little cool here but my kids are anxious for spring weather so they can stock up on some more cute and stylish tees and knit shorts so they can play in the sun comfortably and alllll dayyyy long! And can’t forget the swimwear….. my little fishies live in the water in the summer time.
I wish you well on your journey to dress your kids this coming Easter. Seriously, I know it can be a pain but it’s only a couple of times a year. Can’t wait to see all the kiddos in their darling Easter outfits. Tag me on Instagram so I can see!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDayGoldfish #CollectiveBias
Who’s ready for the Big Game?? In all honesty, I am not super into football but I love hanging out with family and friends so it is just another reason to have a gathering, right?
We watched a college football game the other night and while my oldest son and husband were completely enthralled in the football game, my younger kids were over it. “Mooooom! This is so boring!” is just one of the phrases we heard during the game. They just wanted to do something else. This was supposed to be a family activity and if we all were in separate rooms doing completely different things it would kind of defeat the point of “family time.” I wondered if this would repeat itself during the Big Game. I didn’t want the kids to be bored, but I still wanted us to be together as a family. I know it is cheesy but my husband and his dad and brothers would watch football all the time. It is one of his favorite memories. While I don’t particularly love football I just like doing stuff with the family. So I thought I’d use someGoldfish® crackers and my love for drawing together to make something entertaining for my kids. Continue reading The Big Game “Find It” Printable Football Edition
I had some ideas on how to take pictures of this dress but then reality set in. I could be relaxing reading a book alone, prancing around downtown stainless and childless, exploring the forest in heels….you know, the normal stuff. Ha! My friend and I did plan on going out and taking these pictures, however we decided that staying home with the pseudo princesses was more of “our jam.”
So we took pictures of motherhood. And motherhood brings us everywhere- from the kitchen washing dishes, to a walk to the car to pick up the older brothers, to the bedroom where we normally don’t jump on the bed… but it sounded fun, to the playground watching the kids climb to the top of the dome. In this dress, I did all of this. It didn’t limit me- it was part of living my normal daily mommy life. (This swing dress is on sale for $21.95 + free shipping!)
I’ve been thinking a lot about my daily routine and my thoughts were so jumbled. Until I read this. My friend Christina is amazing. I have seen her through her journey of becoming a photographer and have just seen her blossom. I love the idea of living life deliberately…with intention. She says, ” I want to do that won’t fade.” So much of the daily can feel like it just fades. Like, what the heck did I do all day? I vacuumed 2940329 times and put 324 sippy cups in the dishwasher. BUT, we did jump on the bed. And we did have yummy chocolate cookies at bedtime. And those memories won’t fade. Not that I wrote them down anyway- haha.
I jerk awake, my adrenaline rushing. I fumble around searching for my phone. What time is it? Oh crap. It may be too late. I nudge (or maybe slightly harder than that) my husband awake. Now I shake a little harder. “Lorin, grab (insert child name here)!” You’d think we were about to miss a flight with our rapid but clumsy movements. Sometimes we are lucky and grab our child right before they have an accident. Sometime we aren’t. And those nights are the worst. My husband and I tag team getting the child all cleaned up and changing the sheets. We were getting to a natural rhythm and it became part of our routine to have a million sheets in our laundry room. I kept thinking that here had to be a better way (Friends, anyone?!) I was getting eaten alive by the mounds of sheets and dirty laundry from all those accidents.
After several weeks of this madness we decided to be proactive. While our kids were fully potty trained during the day, they couldn’t help their pea sized bladders. We gathered some tools to help us deal with these accidents and hopefully put an end to them. It really was pure madness.
1.Waterproof Mattress Cover + Mattress Liners: Of course we hope that everything is soaked up by the blanket around his legs but in case it isn’t, at least the mattress is protected. Or is it? Sometimes it would soak through so we started putting a mattress cover, 2 liners that span the top of the bed as well as the bottom because our kids move around like crazy. On top of the liners, we put the fitted sheet. The liners are much easier to change than a mattress cover (unless you have this mattress pad) so you could layer those on if you want to be extra careful. We have several liners as we put a couple down on each bed for any emergency like if they get a stomach bug.
2.Easily removable sheets: Let’s be honest. How often do you want to just throw a towel on top of the sheets because in your delirious sleep deprived mind because you just want to sllep? Well, it is a quick fix. However, you may want to consider using the QuickZip sheets. These are so easy to zip off and change so your sweet little one doesn’t have to smell or lay on pee. Plus they even have these soft fleecy type material that is heavenly. And let’s not forget how easy they are to change on bunk beds. You just put the set on once and just zipper around to place a new sheet on. No more trying to lift up the mattress or scarping your hands against the dang side of the bed. We didn’t have these when all the madness happened a while ago but they would have made those late night sheet changes a heck of a lot easier. We have them now and I can’t go back to regular sheets. I love it because it is useful all the time not just specifically for potty training.
3.Training Pants: While potty training you won’t want to revert to a heavy diaper like pant (like pull ups) and if the child is old enough he may not even want to wear pull ups because only “babies” wear those…in their words of course. Underwear with a little bit of padding helps absorb any minor accidents and your child won’t feel embarrassed and will still feel like a big kid. My kids would fight me on wearing pulls ups and that’s when the accidents would happen.
4.Bed Wetting Alarm: Night after night, we found ourselves changing bed sheets and waking up to take our child to the bathroom. Nights when my husband traveled were incredibly difficult for me because my kids are tanks and I have no upper body strength. Pulling them out of bed to use the bathroom was torture. I finally found Chummie and it was freaking amazing. There are different settings to wake up the child as soon as any moisture is detected. With our kids we used the vibration setting and the attachment on his shirt would buzz to wake him up. You press the button to make it stop. In less than a week, our son was able to train his body to wake up as soon as he felt the urge to use the bathroom. I actually contacted them about their product and even spoke to the CEO. They are very passionate about what they do and helping kids recognize the cues their body gives them. They have an amazing program to help those that can’t afford to buy this- if you are interested go to their website and email them. Their customer service support is amazing.
5.Rewards: Something like this also helped our kids. We would give them 2 jellybeans if they didn’t have an accident. It doesn’t hurt to bribe, right?!
After using the Chummie we stopped having accidents. However, we continue to use these bedding products on our beds because it makes changing sheets so easy- even the bunk beds!
Our friends at QuickZip are honoring Autism Awareness Month by offering 10% off all orders (from their site) for the entire month of April with the promo code AWARENESS and donating a percentage of their April sales to organizations that help individuals and families affected by Autism.
If you have any questions about these products let me know! I still can’t believe we went through all of that and having some of these products would have made the madness easier.
QuickZip + Chummie provided product for my review but opinions are 100% my own.
I can feel my stomach turning as I put my lipstick and phone into my tiny bag. Everything feels tiny compared to my always reliable diaper bag. I walk into the kitchen and reread, rewrite and close my eyes to remember anything I may have missed in the babysitter notepad. I pace back and forth until I hear a knock at the door. I open the door sheepishly trying to hide my worry behind my smile. I greet her and let the fact that I am entrusting my most prized and important people in my life to someone else sink in. Here comes the butterflies again. I grab my bag and my husband’s hand and let him lead me to the car. He squeezes my hand- reassuring me that everything is going to be alright.
Am I a worrier? Kind of. I worry about my kids when they are not in my care. It’s just part of my nature. My husband calls me Mrs. Safety and while I am not a helicopter parent I do everything in my power to make sure that all of my kids are safe. Leaving them with a babysitter is a hard thing for me to do but I am consistent in checking my phone to make sure I don’t miss a text or call from the babysitter should something have happened. I also have to let go a little and relax knowing that the babysitter is taking good care of my little ones.
The little one I worry about the most is my 6 month old baby. While I know she will be sleeping for most of the time she is being watched, I find it comforting that I can still check in on how she is doing without bombarding my sitter with texts.
Thank you to Owlet for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
Have you heard of the Owlet? It is a device that uses hospital technology called pulse oximetry that you put on the baby’s left foot to monitor the baby’s oxygen levels and heart rate. While it is not a life saving device, it will alert with lights and sound you if your baby stops breathing. An alarm will sound from the base station as well as your phone. Knowing your baby is breathing while you are busy doing something else whether it is working downstairs, doing laundry, going away for the weekend or even on a date is quite the weight lifted off your shoulders. The base station is connected to your WiFi and as long as you have WiFi anywhere else you can still check up on your baby. And if your phone isn’t connected to WiFi it will still alert you if your baby Please tell me I am not the only one that has nudged by sleeping newborn to make sure they were still breathing. Now you don’t have to nudge and wake that beautiful little babe to ease those mama worries.
I honestly think every mama, new and experienced, should add the Owlet to their baby registry. It’s one of those things that you think, is it worth it? My answer hands down is yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I am financially conscious and I love a good deal but I also love quality items. And I will absolutely pay for something if I know it will be worth it. So my friends at Owlet and I want to offer you an Owlet Baby Monitor Limited Time Offer. Just click this link to get the offer. Something awesome about this company is they have payment plans! They really want to ease the worry of parents and keep babies safe so they offer this to those that can’t pay the whole amount up front. Another thing is they really have amazing customer service. I had some trouble setting it up to my WiFi but they quickly helped me out and Madeleine little foot was in the Owlet sock as soon as possible! She is 6 months old now and is wearing the size 2 sock and in a few months will be on the size 3 sock that is included, as well as a newborn sock.
This monitor has really eased my anxieties when I go out without my baby as well as when she is close by sleeping while I sleep. Knowing that there is an extra set of eyes monitoring her is absolutely worth it. But please make sure that you do everything you need to do to keep that baby safe like have baby sleep alone, on her back and in a separate sleeping space without loose pillows and blankets.
Tell me, Mamas. What other things would you highly recommend to new mothers?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PutALabelOnIt #CollectiveBias
I jumped into opening my Etsy design shop with a passion for design but very little knowledge about business. I just wanted to do what I loved and make a bit of “fun” money doing it. As a business owner, we have all made mistakes and hopefully learned from them. We’ve seen others make mistakes and have seen others make awesome decisions that have made them successful business owners. After 4 years of being the designer/owner/social media specialist/ accountant/shipper/mailer and everything in between, I have a few tips on how to make sure your brand is consistent and professional so that you can be successful.
1.Who is your ideal customer? This one is hard for me because I love so many things and have so many hobbies/interests that my ideal customer may not exist. With design, I love designing for a myriad of different occasions: birthdays, baby showers, decorating nurseries, sending thank you notes, helping brand a business. Time and time again, study after study, everyone will say that you can’t cater to everyone. It’s like if you make everyone feel special no one really is special. You need focus. Focus on your ideal customer. Focus on your niche. Focus on your strengths. For example, as much as I loved logo design, it took up too much of my time so I had to do away with that aspect of design. It wasn’t my strength nor my passion. I had to sit and write down what I really wanted to sell and who would buy it. Excluding is not my forte but for the sake of my business it had to be done. Again, I needed to focus on an area of expertise and a customer. The more specific you are the better. So for me, I design for the casual yet sophisticated Kate Middleton + humorous and colorful Mindy Kalings (with a touch of Brenda Bird) of the world. Sort of. At least that is who I’d like to appeal. Because I’d like to appeal to those types of customers I need to create items that attracts them but still has my essence so I don’t feel like I am not being true to myself. Spoken like a true creative, huh? I can’t go and create something for them and also try to appeal to Howard Stern or Hillary Clinton. It would be out of my element and again, out of focus.
2. What’s in a name? So much should go into naming a business. First, it should have something to do with your business. For example, if you bake pies or other goods, Bakerella is a great name as it tells your customer exactly what you do.For those not happy with their brand’s name for whatever reason, rebranding is an option. One tip I wish I knew before naming my company: consistent name on social media. So let’s say you pick a name and get a website- you think you are all set! No no. Before you commit, check twitter, instagram, pinterest, etc. to see if your name is taken. People need to be able to find you on those outlets easily. I think if you have to add a slight variation like a number or underscore that is fine but to be different names on all social media channels will dilute the consistency of your brand. I fell into this mess and what I did was add my name to my company. Instead of just From Me, With Love it is From Me, With Love: Brenda Bird Designs that way people can find me on my website (brendabirddesigns.com) and by frommewith_love on my social media outlets. Keep it simple and keep it short…or at least something that is memorable.
3. As you read above you see that I have some trouble honing in on one thing. I am eclectic but I lean towards a little more simple and elegant. I use neutral colors because I am afraid to commit but at the same time I love bright colors. I am just confused. Hah! So how, with so many likes and contradictions, can you keep your brand consistent but still in tune with the real you? This can be solved pretty easily: use of color + elements. Keep at least one aspect of your logo or other branding elements consistent. For example, you love simple things but can’t pick just one color to be “your brand.” That’s ok! Pick 3-4 colors/patterns to be consistently included on your business cards, website, social media backgrounds, etc. And then you can use your logo in those colors to mix it up a little and feed that want of being colorful simply and consistently. Or perhaps you don’t want to use your entire logo on everything from packaging to header to labels. Pick one aspect (or even font/typeface!) of it and use it throughout different channels. For example, I have a feather in my logo. In packaging, using my entire logo may be too cluttered so instead I just use the feather and my website. And then when I am watermarking my pictures I could include my name in the credits along with the feather. They can all look different but keep the same element (the feather) to keep a cohesive look.4. Having the correct tools is essential in helping you develop a consistent and professional brand. When I first started my business, I used full page sticker sheets to label my products as well as ship them. I had the stickers left over from a birthday party I threw. I hand cut them out and used those to mail out my products. Yikes. Looking back I realize that was a pretty unprofessional and time consuming move. Then I tried precut labels. You know what I am talking about. Mine always got cut off at the top so I would try to fix it but then it was off center (#perfectionist problems). No business owner should be wasting her time on silly things like this! You should be spending your time doing what you do best: creating.
To help me with saving time and resources, so I can have more time to create and sell, I have been using the DYMO LabelWriter® 450 Value Bundle Pack from Staples. I bought this on staples.com but it is available at select Staples store location– make sure to check your local store for availability. I can save money on ink because, guess what, it is a thermal transfer and does not use ink. Hallelujah. The bundle comes with 4 rolls of LabelWriter label rolls! And you know how much I hate wasting things- the LabelWriter is precise and saves you from wasting all that paper when you mess up printing on your printer. You can save time by creating labels directly from text in Microsoft® Word, Excel®, Outlook®, QuickBooks® and other programs or easily print addresses from Outlook® Contacts or Mac® Address Book. Awesome for business as well as personal use… hello Holiday Cards!
Besides the Bundle Pack, the DYMO LabelWriter® 450 Turbo is another option. Labeling and packaging couldn’t get simpler. It prints precise quantities while eliminating the waste and hassle of sheet labels. Using the DYMO Label™ software and DYMO Stamps® Label, you can mail and file more efficiently. Speaking of efficiency, it prints up to 71 labels per minute- it sure lives up to its name: Turbo. Do you know how long it would take me to manually print and cut 71 labels. Not 1 minute. Not even close. You can also customize and print address, shipping, file folder and barcode labels, plus name badges, etc.– all from your PC or Mac®*
I hope these tips were useful in helping you see ways you can make your brand consistent. I’ve learned some things running a small business the hard way and wish I had more guidance on the matter.
Be sure to go check back every week for Staples Daily Deals for special deals on your favorite DYMO LabelWriter® products including DYMO LabelWriter® 450 Bundle, LabelWriter® 450 Turbo, and LabelWriter® 4XL Turbo!
This post is sponsored by Krylon® but all opinions are my own.
I think you all know that I love a good bargain. I especially love finding them at yard sales and thrift stores. The thrill of the hunt, great deals and a thorough use of one’s imagination is what keeps me going to them. You’ve all heard of the saying one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Well, it is true. It is truly incredible to see what a little elbow grease and some paint can do to transform a piece of “junk” into a beautiful treasure.
Krylon offers a variety of unique products and finishes to make transforming these rejected objects into treasures pretty simple. Krylon has a wide selection of paints and paint-related products from general-purpose paints to specialty products to rust-preventative paints and primers to help consumers “Make It Yours.”
This past summer, the Krylon team along with Amy Devers, the host and design expert on A&E’s Fix This Yard and Victory Garden’s edibleFEAST on PBS, embarked on the 690 mile journey, known as the World’s Longest Yard Sale (or 127 Yard Sale) traveling along Highway 127 and stopped at three different locations. They transformed 127 objects they found at yard sales in those locations. All items transformed were used at the first ever Pinterest Yard Sale!
All proceeds from this yard sale were and are used to benefit the non-profit organization, Charity Wings Arts and Crafts, which enables people of all ages to Gather, Give Back and Create while promoting hope and healing through art. What a beautiful cause. Don’t we all feel better and happier when we are creators of things whether it is a delicious dish, a painting or a card that will be used to bring someone happiness?
Come along and follow our Pinterest Yard Sale as they continue to raise money for Charity Wings Arts and Crafts Center. Can you believe how simple it is to transform some of these everyday objects into something unique and chic to put in our homes? I wish I had gotten my hands on this beautiful vintage telephone or this modern looking typewriter. So many good things I wish I had room for and so much inspiration for future projects, right?
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for BellaGravida. I received a complimentary subscription and promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Post partum and nursing wear is the bane of my existence. A little dramatic- yes- but also, very true. I can’t squeeze into my normal clothes and some of my maternity clothes aren’t nursing or c-section friendly. A lot of high-rise stretchy pants and button down shirts are my #momiform. And who really wants to buy clothes for that awkward interim period of in between sizes?
Hi! My name is Brenda. I'm a mommy to 4, wife to the best laundry folder and husband, graphic designer/hand letterer and bilingual blogger. This is my little space of everything I love: diy + crafts, motherhood, family friendly travel + activities, simple recipes, modest + practical outfits and my latest design projects. My hope is you leave this site being inspired to create- whether it's a fun party for your child or memories of a weekend getaway with your family!
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Updated April 2017.
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