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Let’s Talk: Video Baby Monitors

Let’s talk baby monitors. Sure, some people go without and that’s cool. Some people have the audio only monitors while others opt for the video monitors. Some people may be wondering why I even need a baby monitor anymore. My baby is almost 2! Two! I don’t even believe myself when I say that.

This post is sponsored by CocoonCam; however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

The truth is- I have a little anxiety. I get a little nervous when my kids sleep longer than usual and if they are crying whether or not they are actually hurt or just want to get out of their crib. Sometimes I crack the door open to check on my baby and of course it creaks like the mother of all creaks. The baby stirs and jolts up because obviously when she hears the door creak that means it is party time! I don’t know why I do this to myself. My inquisitive mind needs to know she is safe. Plus, I really want to see when she starts climbing out of her crib so I can line the perimeter with pillows….or just get her a toddler bed. Continue reading Let’s Talk: Video Baby Monitors

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DIY Personalized Quiet Time Bag + Toys To Go Inside

This post was sponsored by The Baby Cubby but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my blog.

You know how when you are sitting at the doctor’s with your well behaved kids in tow or sitting in the pews at church with your kids with their arms folded and quietly listening to the speaker? If you do, then you are a magical unicorn mom. If not, well, you are in good company.

We were running late to church so we just grabbed our church bag and bolted. As we sat between two families and our kids were much more interested in the fun toys they had. We, of course, were ill prepared since we just ran out the door and it was then that I realized, I have to put together a better “quiet bag.” I’ve been carrying around the same items for the last 2 years and the items had become trite to the kids. While my older kids should be able to sit quietly, my younger ones still struggle. I found some fun quiet time items to keep them from going crazy at church and actually let us listen to the speakers. Just bein’ honest guys. Continue reading DIY Personalized Quiet Time Bag + Toys To Go Inside

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DIY Shibori Napkins and How to Keep Them Stain-Free

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

I looked on in horror as my young son wiped his spaghetti sauce mustache on his sleeve. Nooooo!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told him not to do that. Wait, I can. About 3489257489284920583092 times. Yep. I mean the napkin was within his grasp but I guess his sleeve was closer. I thought, it’s a good thing I don’t have nice napkins or I’d internally flip if he stained those. As I was washing the dishes I remembered a story I heard about a woman that had a beautiful pearl necklace. She put them in a safe place so they could never get lost or ruined. She never wore them for fear of something happening to them. She passed away never having worn that precious necklace she valued so much. While I don’t go to that extreme, we use our china several times a year, I realized my mistake. I CAN have nice things. Yeah some might get ruined because we are a young family. But, I can also take more steps to protect my “nice” things. Thank you Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector for existing!! I don’t want to be worrying about things getting ruined because they are being used. Helloooo!! Napkins are supposed to be used to wipe off spaghetti sauce mustaches. They are supposed to wipe off chocolate after a fun fondue night. That is their purpose. My logic was all wrong and I decided to do something about it. I finally bought myself some nice cloth napkins and wanted to personalize them by using the shibori method of dyeing. It’s just a glorified version of tie dyeing (throwback to summer camp). And it was fun to get all messy crafting up a storm. And you sure are bound to feel pretty awesome looking at your new creation and confidently saying to yourself, I freakin’ made these. So you wanna make some of these yourself?? After some trial and error and some more error, here is a way to make these. Take note that every dye is different and while your napkins will don the same hue, each method of tying results in something different. I like to think of it as unique and personal. I love when they are imperfect because well, we all are imperfect and beautiful. Alright, enough with the sappiness and bring on the mess.

Materials:
100% Cotton Cloth Napkins
Navy Blue Dye
Disposable Gloves
1 Cup of Salt (optional)
Bucket (I lined mine with a trash bag so it wouldn’t dye it)
Tools: rubber bands of various sizes and widths, cardboard, string, paper towel tube, etc.
1 Cup of White Vinegar
Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector (coupon for $1 off here!)

What To Do:

  1. If you are using new napkins, make sure to wash them to remove any chemicals that might alter dye. Leave them damp.
  2. Using various tools like rubber bands, string, tubes, tie damp napkins using various methods. Or you could use the same method if you want them all similar. Here are a couple of links to help you with different tying methods.
  3. Every dye has slightly different methods so make sure to read their specific directions. I used a combination of colors: navy blue and royal blue dye. Then I filled a bucket with hot water. Add a cup of salt and mix really well. You could also just use a singular dye.
  4. Make sure your napkins are still damp. This helps to soak in the dye. Depending on how big your bucket is, place the napkins into it in sets. I did 6 an 6. Insert into dye and agitate the dye every 5 minutes. The amount of time you let it soak will determine the intensity of the color. I would recommend letting it sit for at least 30 minutes. I accidentally learned this haha! Dyeing is a unique technique because even if you use the same method all the results slightly vary.
  5. Once time is up, remove the napkins letting the excess dye drip off. I wouldn’t recommend using a white or porcelain sink to wash off dye or it could stain it. Without removing the ties, let cold water run through napkin until the water is clear-ish.
  6. Once the water isn’t an intense color, remove the ties and run under cold water until the water runs clear. Run the remaining napkins under cold water.
  7. Once they are all done, put into washing machine. Don’t mix with any other clothing. Wash it (no detergent) with 1 cup of vinegar in cold water.
  8. Wash again using detergent in cold water.
  9. Dry using low heat. Once dry, iron. Or not. Ironing really isn’t my jam but it makes it look crisper.
  10. Using Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector, shake bottle really well. I recommend using a test swatch to make sure color doesn’t rub off. Holding the can 6″ away, lightly spray one coat onto fabric, front and back. Make sure to be in a well ventilated area and cover your work space. (watch video here on how to apply)
  11. Reapply a second coat once first coat is dry.
  12. Once dry, it’s ready to use! Because napkins are frequently used, you’ll have to reapply every few months. But now you can use them without any worry! And they won’t change the feel or look so spray away.

So go take a stroll through Target and grab some supplies. Not gonna lie, my Target stroll not only included grabbing the Scotchgard™ product. A few other things jumped in my cart, too. #sorrynotsorry I finally found them in this aisle on the third shelf…not that I minded perusing every aisle to see what else I “needed.”

Now go spray your sofa, sofa pillows, other table linens…all the things. Actually first read on back what you can spray. And then stop worrying about it and just live your crazy awesome life.

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Tips to Coordinating Kid’s Easter Outfits

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

baby easter dress | baby sandals (sold out but linked to similar)

toddler easter dress | sandals | headbands (similar)

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

 

 

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Recipe: White Bean, Sausage and Barley Hash

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Do you follow me on Instagram? If so, you may have seen my “dinner fail” when I made tofu for my family. My husband refused to eat it. My picky eater liked it until he saw no one else did. It was a mess. And truth be told I couldn’t deal with the texture either…. it was good if I just swallowed it- hahah!

The reason I turned to tofu is because my picky eater needs more nutrition. This kid eats nothing. It is frustrating and worrysome so I don’t know why I tried tofy. Desperate times call for desperate measures I suppose. I turned for advice from friends on facebook and a lot of them suggested beans. Beans are full of protein and they are a lot easier to stomach than slimy tofu.So, there is this dish in Peru called “tacu tacu” which is essentially fried beans and rice. It is meant to use up your leftover beans and rice from a previous meal. So simple and genius right? And it is so amazing. People underestimate beans and rice and let me tell you, I’ve had beans and rice in different countries and they are incredible. The other day I was feeling hungry but rather lazy so I made some tacu tacu using navy beans. I thought that if I added in some veggies and sausage perhaps it would be a little more hearty. I changed a few ingredients but the essence is the same- you gotta sauté it.I love using traditional Peruvian recipes and just adding in a little change just to spice it up. While adding more veggies takes a little longer, only because you have to chop it up, it did prove to be pretty satisfying.

White Bean, Sausage and Barley Hash
Serves 4
A quick and hearty veggie filled meal.
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Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup of barley (the one that cooks in 10 minutes)
  2. 1 1/2 cup of water
  3. 1/2 can of S&W White Beans (or other bean of your choice)
  4. 1 cup of cubed sweet potatoes
  5. 1/3 cup cubed zucchini
  6. 1/3 cup cubed yellow squash
  7. 1/4 chopped red onion
  8. 2 sausages, cubed
  9. olive oil
  10. dash of salt and pepper
For the barley
  1. Bring water and barley to boil and then cook on low for 10 minutes.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes away from heat.
For the hash
  1. While the barley is cooking, cut veggies.
  2. Once barley is set aside to sit, drizzle some olive oil in hot pan (med high heat) and sauté sweet potatoes for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the sausage and sauté, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
  4. Add onion and sauté for an additional minute.
  5. Add barley, squash and zucchini and sauté, stirring occasionally for for 3 minutes.
  6. Put heat on low, cover pan and let sit for 2 minutes.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
BRENDA BIRD http://www.brendabirddesigns.com/
Heaven. It is light and filling- something I need for lunch so it can keep me on my toes for the rest of the afternoon. And since my late mornings are precious (naptime and kids are in school!) I choose to make something quick- don’t have time to soak beans and such and beans are soo good for you! Healthy and quick- can’t beat that. I used S&W white beans but you can use your choice like black beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, etc. They are all so good and they even look good.  And if you use this coupon through April you can get $1 off 2 cans of beans. Experiment and see which one you like best! They have organic beans and 50% less sodium beans as well.

What other veggies would you put in this?

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DIY Scallop Picture Frame

Raise your hand if you have been using the same picture frames forevvverrr. Raise your hands if your style has changed since getting said picture frames. Ok, me too guys. Frames can be so expensive and getting new ones is actually annoying. You can go to thrift stores and get pretty good ones but very rarely can you find a pair that match. I just want something simple with a tiny but of personality to it. Especially when you have something coming up and you just need to hang something up now.
I designed this simple frame that you can make as a place holder until you can find something sturdier and more long term…or you can use them until you change your style. Because for very little cost you can make some pretty cute frames.

Materials:
Cricut Explore 2
5×7 scallop frame file
8.5×11 piece of thick sturdy chipboard + extra for back
paint and paint brush
glue/double sided tape
magnet tape
string/ribbon/chain
hot glue gun

What To Do:
1. Download image file onto your desktop and open Cricut Design Space
2. Open new file and insert image. Select layer and duplicate it.
3.Using the rulers on the screen, stretch the images so they are slightly larger than 5×7 but no larger that the inside of the frame is 5×7.4. Place chipboard on mat making sure to press down hard so chipboard doesn’t move around.
5. Insert into machine and set knob to “custom.”
6. Press continue on the computer screen and select drop down frame to “chipboard.”
7. Press the Cricut button to begin cutting.8. Using the spatula remove the chipboard without bending it. 9. Using double sided tape or glue, glue both frames together to make it even sturdier and thicker.10. Paint one side of the frame the color of your choosing. I painted 3 white coats.
11. Using the hot glue, glue a piece of string (I used a piece of chain from a broken necklace) onto the frame.
12. Cut a piece of chipboard slightly smaller than the frame to go on the back.13. Using the magnet tape, cut 4 pieces small enough to go on the corners of the scallop frame and tape one on each corner of the frame. Cut 4 more pieces and tape them onto the backside piece.
14. Place picture in between the frame and backside piece and you’ve got yourself an interchangeable frame. You amaze me DIY master.
I think my next one I will use really thick chipboard and a stronger magnet tape. While it works for now, it may not hold up another move. I think I will also get 12×12 chipboard that way I can make these frames big enough to hold the 8×10 artwork my kids bring home. You can personalize them by color or having the kids draw on their own frames. These will work until I can complete my gallery wall with thinner and lighter colored frames. Plus it is easy to change photos so I can change the prints as the holidays and seasons change.

What projects are you interested in learning to make with your Cricut? Let me know!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Comments submitted may be displayed or featured on other websites owned by Cricut.

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Grocery Shopping for Busy Moms

I held my baby on one arm, held my daughter’s hand with the other. I asked my oldest son to hold his younger brother’s hand and asked him to hold onto my purse as we crossed the parking lot and towards the sliding doors. We headed towards the daycare, yes this grocery has a daycare for kids under 5, and I started to sign the kids in. My oldest couldn’t go in, the other one was on a clingy streak and my daughter wouldn’t go without her brother. I looked at the daycare worker and sighed. Guess we were all going grocery shopping.

My squirmy baby started wiggling out of her seat while another kid started grabbing snacks and putting into the cart. The other two started wrestling in the aisles. And then one started screaming and telling me he wanted another mom because I said he had to sit in the cart. I was at the end of my rope and told him that there were a ton of moms there so he could just pick any one! And then we left with only 1/4 of my list completed. I came home exhausted and vowed never ever ever to take my kids shopping again. And then it happens again because I need to get food. But for the past 6 months I have changed my ways. 

This post doesn’t have pretty pictures but it’s a post to help other moms that may have had similar experiences or just would rather use their time better than to be at supermarket. I just want to share a list of services I use to keep myself sane, save hours of time and still get food into my fridge. I will go to the grocery maybe once a month with my baby to pick up emergency items like milk. Well, let’s include one picture of squirmy baby because she is pretty darn cute.

One thing that really helps limit either physical trips to the grocery store or ordering online frequently is meal planning. I will take about an hour every couple of weeks to plan out two weeks worth of dinners and special occasions like holiday celebrations or parties. Once I do that, then I order from Instacart for the bulk size items and Safeway/Fred Meyers.

Instacart: I order my Costco items from here about 2-3 times a month. I usually order that third time to get snacks for parties or for the kids’ classrooms. While I do pay a little extra for the items and delivery, it is worth it to me to spend about 30 min-1 hr ordering and putting stuff away when I would normally spend at least 2.5-3 hours driving to and from, shopping and putting it away. I get my bulk sized items here like bagels, fish, bread, fruits, cleaning supplies and snacks for the kids. You can get a yearly membership which gives you free deliveries over $35 and within 2 hours. I don’t have a membership so I just pay for delivery as needed. Oh and one thing I really like about it is that you can share your cart with a friend! That means they can add on to your cart and you just pay for 1 delivery fee. The other person will have to pick up their stuff but it is helpful if you only have a couple of items you need but can’t make it to the store or want to pay a delivery charge for few items. You can sign up using this link and this Instacart referral code: BBIRDFBE83 and you can save $10 off your first order + free delivery.

Safeway Delivery: I use this maybe 1-2 a month for things that I don’t want monster size of and any specialty items. I also get beef, veggies, cream cheese, etc. The price is the same as in store prices. You do have to pay delivery fees but it’s about $6 and I am totally down paying $6 for someone to bring me my groceries. They also have promo codes regularly so sometimes I don’t have to pay for deliveries.

Clicklist: This is a Kroger pick up service. You order online and schedule a time for pick up.I use this when I know I will be running errands around Fred Meyers. Not sure what the benefit is besides just knowing I won’t be home for deliveries but I buy the same things as I do at Safeway. And it is the same price and you can use coupons.

Prime Pantry: I like to use this on occasion, perhaps once every 3-4 months for items I can’t find at Costco. There is a small fee even if you do have Amazon Prime but it is only about $6 I think. I get specialty cleaning supplies, toiletries or snacks for kids. You can get free shipping if you buy select items though.

I know some of you more mature mothers may shake your head at how easy we have it with all these delivery services. While I know you all have done it with your own kids this is just what works for me. My kids aren’t savages rampaging around the grocery store. Not all the time. And I’ve done it years before but right now it isn’t feasible. I have limited time and I’d rather not be using that time trying to find the items on my list while corralling the children. I’d rather order it online while I’m waiting for the kids to get out of school or while my baby is napping so I can do other stuff with my time. So, I hope this helps! It sure has freed up a lot of my time to do the things I love like play with my kids and sneak in a design or blog post. 😉

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A Little High Maintenance to Continue a Low Maintenance Lifestyle

This post was sponsored by Irresistible Me. I only partner with brands whose products and mission I truly believe in. All opinions are 100% my own.

Thank you for your support!

Last week I talked to you about microblading and how much I loooove my brows. Now I want to tell you about my clip-in hair extensions. Why you ask? Because I love them. Because I can have long hair and not actually have to do all that work to maintain it. I use it when I want that added volume and length but then I take them off and continue my mom-bun wearing ways. I first considered getting extensions a few years ago. I had just had a baby and my long hair was driving me craaaaazzzyyy. Like so crazy that I went and chopped it off to above my chin. I wasn’t brave enough for a pixie cut so I went as short as I dared. And I loved it. Until I hated it. That Christmas my husband asked me what I wanted. I told him I wanted hair extensions. Hahaha- oh my, do we see a pattern here? He must think I’m nuts to always be asking for hair for my head or eyebrows. Anyway, I chopped it off because I hated the maintenance of long hair because who has time to take care of all that and kids but I loved the look of long hair. And then when I chopped it off I couldn’t go back.With hair extensions, you can have your cake and eat it, too. And I did. I was so excited when Irresistible Me contacted me to do a review for their hair extensions. I’ve been wanting to get hair extensions for ever. But then I went back and forth always thinking that hair extensions were for high maintenance people and that is so not me. I’m pretty chill. But then it actually dawned on me that this would help me live my low maintenance life style.I went on the website and picked out my choice of the Silky Touch clip-in hair extensions. I went with silky chocolate brown 22″ hair extensions. I was so nervous about picking the hair color because you need it to match so it doesn’t scream “she’s wearing fake hair!” Ya know? I mean you are wearing hair that isn’t your own but no one needs to know. Ha. So something that eased my mind about choosing a color is that if it doesn’t match, you can send it back.The hair comes sealed in a package that is divided into two compartments. One is the sample hair. You only open that side to make sure it matches your hair- just don’t clip it in or use any products on it. If it matches your hair and you are happy with the length, open the rest. If it doesn’t, DO NOT open the rest or else you can’t send it back.Full disclosure, when I ordered my hair it was lighter since it was ombre. But then I went crazy and bought some hair dye at the drug store because it was so outgrown it looked horrendous. Well, it picked up the darkest color ever even though I picked a medium brown color to match my previous color. I just wanted it all to be even but it was a botched job. I had already opened my hair and it didn’t match. My hair also hadn’t been cut in about 6 months so it was just a hot mess. A mess. I ended up going to a salon where they fixed my botched hair dye experiment and where she put in my clip-ins and cut my hair with them in. I think that is the best way to do it so it flows naturally with your hair. I’ve watched a million you tube videos where girls just clip them in without getting them cut and it must be black magic or something because they make it look easy and amazing. My hair did not blend magically with the extensions so I had to get it cut. One reason may be because I have extremely thick hair and it looked so top heavy so she also thinned out my hair a bit so it wouldn’t be so top heavy. This hair is real hair so you can use heating tools and styling products on it just like you would with your normal hair. This hair looks best when it is curled or braided, which is my favorite thing to do to it when I go out. It also comes with A LOT of hair. Like 11 pieces and included in that is a super thick weft. Here’s the with extensions and the without. It adds a good 6 inches or more to the length. I’ve worn them at least 3 times a month for various parties or dates and I just like how much I can do with them. And at night I just take them off, brush them and slip them back in the pouch until next time.So what do you think? High or low maintenance? Would you get extensions for the sole convenience of not having to deal with long hair on a daily basis and just as needed?

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Microblading: What You Need to Know

Last year for Mother’s Day I told my husband that I wanted eyebrows as a gift. You read that right. Eyebrows. Spoiler alert: I got a helicopter ride instead. Ahahahah. My husband the jokester.

Ok, so my eyebrows weren’t terrible but they didn’t have a great shape and were pretty scarce in some areas. I wanted more of a shape and for them to be darker. I could pretty simply achieve this look by filling it in with shadow or with a brow pencil. But as a pretty low maintenance person I wanted to eliminate those few minutes I would spend every morning to fill in my brows. I guess you could say that I have to do some high maintenance things at first so I can continue living a low maintenance lifestyle. That makes sense, right?! Continue reading Microblading: What You Need to Know

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Introducing Cricut Air 2 + Easy Faux Stamped Gold Foil Art Print Tutorial

I remember laying in the hospital, starving and watching infomercials. Infomercials are what kept me from going crazy from hunger. Because of an upcoming emergency surgery I wasn’t allowed to eat to get my pancreas related levels low. I remember seeing the Cricut Expression in action and knew I needed to have it. A cutting machine that could intricately cut paper for me? My creative soul could see so many projects I could make, especially since I love throwing parties. It’s a good thing Santa ended up getting it for me for Christmas. And as much as I loved the Expression, it lacked more customization which as a graphic designer I felt I needed. Continue reading Introducing Cricut Air 2 + Easy Faux Stamped Gold Foil Art Print Tutorial