The month of LOVE

As we are officially into February, the month of love, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve been loving lately.

•At the top of my list is shopping and dining small business; you know the ones where the staff knows you by name, is happy to see you, and genuinely appreciates your business. Those kind of places are my favorite. My list is long but if there’s something in particular you’re looking for let me know and I’ll send you in the right direction.

•Another is afternoon naps whenever I’m not at work because my little boy is full of snuggles, and being a mom is down right exhausting. So excuse me while I take a moment to rest.

•And then there’s free workouts complete with a calendar. Check out Nourishmovelove.com for more information on this but essentially there’s a variety of workouts, an amazing instructor, no cost, minimal equipment, and a calendar that tells you what workout to do when. My favorite way to start my day.

•Lastly, bath night because that’s when I can go all out with my Monat hair care routine, epsom salt and a face mask – the perfect way to recharge.

New year, new you? No thanks

New year, new you? Sorry not sorry, I hate this saying. Do you need new you? I doubt it. Could you do better? Probably. How about “new year, better you, every day”?

As a self-improvement book junky, I love reading books that help me do life better or coach me. One of my favorite take aways over a long list of books is “you’re only competing with the person you were yesterday.” That’s why I love the saying “new year, better you, every day”.

I think most of the change we want to see in ourselves are things that take time and dedication. You want to be in better shape? That takes months, maybe years; I’m 18 months deep in this change. You want to be kinder? There will forever be moments you can find more kindness. You want to make better choices with your money? That may be a lifetime of learning and adjusting. You want to get organized? That’s a practice you have to maintain. You want to spend more time with friends and family? You have to be intentional to set those dates.

Rather than setting myself up for a new year, new me I’ll be focusing on small changes and setting intentions daily to do better than I did yesterday.

How to style your family for photos

Styling your family for pictures can be challenging and break the bank if you aren’t careful. One of my biggest goals for family pictures is for everyone to be comfortable, family pictures can be awkward so the more comfortable everyone is in their clothing the better chance you have for more relaxed photos. 

In our house I am the pickiest dresser, imagine that. Because of this I recommend starting in moms closet. Many times we think we need to buy the perfect new outfit for family pictures but I’m willing to bet almost all of you have more than one article of clothing in your closet you feel good in. If possible give yourself a few options so when it comes times to choose a color scheme you don’t feel stuck. 

Next determine what type of clothing dad is comfortable in. In our house this is jeans and a polo, super easy! More than likely this is already in the closet as well. Consider what colors you find most flattering on your spouse, again try to give yourself two options here. 

Dress the kid(s) last because their clothes are usually the least expensive, so if you need to buy a piece it’s affordable. Once I decided I would wear a white top with black shorts and jean shorts (yes I am high maintenance and require at least one outfit change), I looked in Sumner closet to find a shirt with white and a blue to match one of Josh’s polos. I didn’t find one but I was lucky enough to find one on Target from Cat & Jack for $10, so I only spent $10 on clothes for our photos (score!). 

This outfit was for our “nice” photo. I decided last minute I also wanted to do a few pictures that captured how our family is on a daily basis, jeans and t-shirts. I had the boys wear matching t-shirts but it was important for Sumner to wear overalls to break up the color blocking. I then chose a shirt for myself that was in the same color tone as the boys with jean shorts. Everyone had jean bottoms and darker tops. I think overalls are awesome for family pictures because they can break up color blocking easily but still allow for people to match, and they’re in style right now for a wide age range (I mean Sumner and I both have a pair).

Last year in our larger family photo everyone was to wear white, yellow, blue and jean (see below). While the boys all wore button up shirts each were different in color, pattern and sleeve length. Two of us ended up in full white, one long sleeve dress and the other a short sleeve romper. You’ll notice overalls in last years picture too. Side note: shoes were not a big consideration in any of these pictures.

I find the key to a well styled family picture is have color tones or fabrics (such as jean) match while putting pieces together that share a common element without being the exact same. I love helping people style their family for photos so please reach out if you want help!

Kelsey

Pasta recipes you’ll want to make ASAP

Does anyone else pin a million recipes on Pinterest then only try a few? I’m so guilty of this because some require too many ingredients or more prep work than I’m willing to do. I went through my Pinterest “bites to eat” board and picked out my favorite (read made over and over again) pasta recipes, I’m all about those carbs.

At our house we love homemade mac n cheese, this one is super simple and doesn’t require many ingredients. I skip the mustard powder and only use sharp cheddar (2 cups).

Another mac n cheese because sometimes you need to mix it up a bit. I skip the mustard powder on this one as well. I once tried to skip the mozzarella cheese (because I was out of it), and I do not recommend it.

This pasta is super yummy and only requires you to use one pan (it’s true!). I recommend buying a bottle of apple wine and splitting the chicken broth amount to half broth and half wine. We always skip the salt. Here’s a link for Cajun seasoning.

This is the best (for real) Alfredo sauce and SO easy to make. Only make this if you’re willing to give up on the pre-made type permanently because you won’t be able to go back. I don’t buy fresh parsley because well it will go to waste and sometimes I use plain cream cheese.

Enjoy!

-Kelsey

How to help a friend who has had a premature baby.

We all know someone who has had a premature baby. After having one myself it always tugs a little bit extra at my heart when I see someone else had one and I want to help. Here’s a few ways you can help someone who has had a preemie and is having a hospital stay, mind you some of these are helpful even once they are home.

1. Bring home cooked food. My sister-in-law did this (among many other things) and it’s one thing I will never forget, it tasted amazing to eat home cooked food while we had been eating our every meal.

2. Use the hand sanitizer. New parents in general are freaked out about all the germs you’re bringing in so do us a favor and use the freaking hand sanitizer. Frankly, maybe you shouldn’t touch the baby at all depending on the situation.

3. Offer to stay with the baby while the new parents go take in some fresh air. The nurses are wonderful but it’s comforting to have someone you know stay with your baby while you go for a walk or grab a quick bite to eat.

4. Take the new parents out to eat but know that going out to eat isn’t always easy and refreshing. Getting out of the hospital is nice but also stressful. If the new mom is anything like me she has a pretty scheduled day for when she needs to pump and feed the baby and drink a million gallons of water, so be mindful and choose a restaurant that is close by.

5. Offer to bring items from their home. We left in a hurry not really knowing we’d actually be having a baby that day. As organized as I like to be my hospital bag was not packed and we had an unplanned extended stay. Thank god for my mother-in-law, who consistently brought us stuff.

6. Keep their home maintained, mow the lawn or plow the snow. These things are necessary but also the last thing the new parents want to worry about.

7. Tidy their house. Likely the new parents were not expecting to go into labor at this time so there may be dishes in the sink or clothes in the wash. Nobody wants to go home to a house in disarray.

8. Buy outfits similar to the one I have shown below, Target for the win. This outfit is perfect for running cords in and out of because it has Velcro “buttons” all the way down and it doesn’t have feet so the oxygen monitor can easily be in place.

9. Let the new parents rest. If you go to visit and notice one or both parents sleeping for the love of God do NOT wake them, any sleep is precious.

10. Don’t be offended if the new parents forget to respond when you reached out. It’s great to hear from people and know they are wishing you the best. However, your text may have came as the doctor was making rounds or the baby was screaming.

Happy helping.

-Kelsey