Kari Berry Posh Sweater

I could have never anticipated loving this cardigan as much as I do. It’s far better than I could have hoped, and the material is quite possibly the softest, most amazing quality of any I own. It is a beautiful heather grey and will go with so many different outfits (although all black underneath will probably always be my go-to) and ya’ll… it has pockets! It is very oversized, so be sure to size down. I ordered a M/L and could have easily gone with a S/M.

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If you aren’t familiar with Kari Berry Posh, they offer beautiful clothes for women and also for little girls. There’s even a small selection of Mommy + Me dresses (which I can hardly wait to do with my Harper girl). I love this beautiful royal blue maxi dress, this red bell sleeve dress, and this sweet floral top that I think would probably work well for maternity, too.

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Kari Berry Posh got started about a year ago and the owner, Kari, said that she started the boutique because she always had a hard time finding comfortable, stylish clothes. One thing she said that really resonated with me is, “as a mother of three and always on the go, comfort is very important to me. I wanted to find clothes that were comfortable enough to be at home in but cute enough to run errands in.”

As a mom, who can’t relate to that?! Kari has been so sweet to offer my readers 20% off through the end of November with code KATE20. So, be sure to take advantage!

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Thanks so much to Kari from Kari Berry Posh for providing the sweater featured in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

My Mama’s Chocolate Buttercream

This is my Mama’s recipe so you know it has to be delicious. Becky doesn’t fool around in the kitchen. I’ve made it more times than I can count, and it’s really the definition of an “old faithful.” She always puts this rich, creamy buttercream on her brownies and they’re truly the best thing you’ve ever put in your mouth and such a treat with an ice cold glass of milk!

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The first few times you make this, you’ll think it isn’t going to turn out right, but then at the last minute, it comes together and you eventually just get the hang of it. Each time you make it, you’ll become more and more confident in the consistency.

Ingredients:

  • One bag of powdered sugar
  • Two tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • One stick softened butter
  • A couple splashes of milk (as needed for consistency)

Instructions:

  • In your stand mixer bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  • Then, with your mixer on its lowest setting, incorporate the softened butter (be careful or powdered sugar will go everywhere!).
  • Let it mix for a few minutes and watch the consistency.
  • Add a splash or two of milk (but not too much, or it will be soupy).
  • Frost anything you’d like – brownies, cake, cupcakes, etc. YUM!

Go Happy Plates

It’s so funny how now as a mom, I do things that would have never crossed my mind ten years ago. Did I ever think I would text my husband at 2pm saying, “Harper finally used the bathroom!” accompanied by ten clapping-hands emojis? Nope. Did I ever think I could ruin a two year old’s entire day by handing him the wrong sippy cup? Nope. Did I ever think I’d retrace my steps through Wal-Mart searching like a crazy person for a lost shoe or lost pacifier? Nope. Did I ever think I’d obsess over toddler meal ideas and inspiration on Pinterest and hashtags on instagram? Nope.

But here I am. Guilty of all of the above (and loving it)!

If you have a toddler to feed, you know the struggle it can be to make mealtime fun and you understand the need to constantly change it up so that they don’t get bored. I am by no means an expert (and I serve prepackaged mini muffins every now and then just like the next mom) but I share Landon’s meals with hopes that I could give someone else ideas and inspiration just like so many have given me! It’s so fun to try new things and see the smile on his face when he says, “I made a happy pwate Mama!” Yep, he says “pwate” and it’s the cutest thing ever!

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These stainless steel plates from Go Happy Plate are so great and easy to clean (dishwasher safe). They are now available on Amazon, which makes them even better (all the praise hands for free two-day shipping with prime, am I right?). You can get the complete set (plate, fork and spoon, and 8oz tumbler) for $32.99 or just the plate, which is sectioned into four compartments for $16.99.

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The stainless steel dinnerware for kids featured in this post were provided to me by Go Happy Plate, but as always, all opinions are my own.

The Giving Manger

I have admired The Giving Manger from afar for quite some time, but now that I have one of my own, I can say without any reservation that it’s far better than I could have ever hoped or imagined. If you’re looking for something special and meaningful to do with your little ones this year, look no further. This is a precious, memorable way to teach them that Jesus is the reason for the season.

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From the way it’s packaged to the beautiful illustrations in the story book, to the craftsmanship of the wooden manger and the simplicity and perfection of the Baby Jesus figurine, it’s all absolutely wonderful and so very special.

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From the moment I opened the box, it was clear that this is going to be a cherished and highly anticipated tradition in our home. Traditions have always been so important to me and incorporating traditions from both mine and Grayson’s childhoods with our babies has been so precious to us. It’s also been so sweet to start new traditions and Landon is at the age where everything is extra special. I wouldn’t trade anything for the way his sweet little eyes light up with awe and the most innocent wonder, and it seems like as the holidays approach, that’s all just magnified.

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If you aren’t familiar with The Giving Manger, it is an interactive Christmas tradition experience that first started back in 2015. The goal behind it was to create beautiful, timeless pieces that are built to last and will be used by your family year after year. In each box, you’ll find a beautifully illustrated story book, a wooden manger, a bundle of straw, and a Baby Jesus figurine. The idea is that, leading up to Christmas, you place the manger in a prominent place in your home, read the story with your little ones, and find different ways to serve and give to others. After each act of service or generosity, a piece of hay is placed in the manger, which should be full and ready for baby Jesus on Christmas Day!

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This is a tangible, interactive way to teach your children about the true meaning of Christmas and a wonderful way to instill in them a love of giving at an early age.

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On instagram, you’ll find thousands of photos (search the hashtag #mangermoments) of families participating in this sweet tradition and I’ll be sharing more as our family participates this holiday season! You can find a free printable with service ideas here, and The Giving Manger is available for purchase here.

Thank you so much to Allison Hottinger and Emily King, creators of The Giving Manger, for providing my family with this timeless gift. As always, all opinions are my own.

 

Postpartum Encouragement

I’ve started this post about ten times, only to close my laptop each time feeling frustrated that I’m not able to fully and effectively express my thoughts. Postpartum body image is a topic that can be really hard to talk about, and while you can find encouragement and grace in some conversations surrounding it, you can find comparison, pressure, and negativity in others.

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I’m almost six months postpartum after my second baby in two years. If you’ve been where I am, you know the struggle of pre-pregnancy clothes not quite fitting and maternity clothes looking like you’re wearing a tablecloth. It can be so frustrating and easy to forget Whose you are.

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When I read this post by Kate at Naptime Kitchen (she’s one of my favorite people on instagram) it just resonated with me so much and literally left me in tears. I immediately snapped a screen shot and texted it to my Mama (of course) and I have re-read it several times since then. She says here what I’ve been wrestling with in my heart for months:

“Allow me to be a bit vulnerable with you on this Friday morning.

I have an upcoming event that requires me to wear a dress. A fancy dress. So yesterday I went to my closet to try on my dresses and, not shockingly, most didn’t fit.

Here’s the thing I am processing through: my inclination is to of course write this off with a whole lot of grace. “Kate, you’re 6 weeks postpartum. 6 weeks! It’s a miracle anything fits at all and you’re not wearing a moo moo. Don’t worry, in a few months you’ll be back in all your old clothes and this season of daily leggings and flowy shirts will be a thing of the past. This too shall pass.”

But here’s the thing: if I leave it there, I still place a large amount of self worth in my appearance. What if my ribcage doesn’t come back together? What if my hips stay wider? What if I always have a pooch in dresses and my beloved blue jeans never fit right again? What then?? Here’s where I remind myself that my body isn’t beautiful based on a small ribcage or flat stomach or legs with no varicose veins.

But ah! There’s more…my body also isn’t called beautiful based on it’s ability to birth a child or lift my toddlers and nurse a newborn. These things are very beautiful and empowering, but still, if I base the beauty there I am left lacking. What if I never birthed a child or couldn’t nurse? What if I faced an illness that rendered me unable to lift and play with my little people?

The basis of my beauty, and I’ll have you know I’m #preachingtomyself more than anyone, is Jesus. God looks down on me and sees beauty not because of abs of ability, but because of His Son. His son who “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” came and died to make us beautiful.

When I search and see my worth there, there is freedom. There’s freedom to have toned arms but also freedom when they are squishy. There’s freedom to seek after health for the sake of my body being used for the Lord, but also to be ok with its limitations.

I can wear the fancy dress, jeans, or bathing suit whether my stomach be flat or flabby, because He who made me has called me beautiful in Christ.”

What a beautiful reminder of who we are in Christ! I hope that in sharing this, I’ve encouraged you today, my friends. Let’s focus a little less on fitting into those pre-pregnancy jeans and a little more on who we are in Christ. Besides… I’ve always preferred an easy little dress over jeans anyway… wrinkles and all (insert wink face emoji)!

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Speaking of dresses, this pretty little teal dress is only $51 (with free shipping) and it also comes in a beautiful, rich burgandy color. I’m looking forward to pairing it with tights, taller boots, and a cardigan when it gets cooler. All-weather dresses like this that can be dressed up or down are always my favorite! If you didn’t know, PinkBlush clothing is intentionally designed for before, during, and after pregnancy and if you aren’t pregnant, you can shop the Women’s side of their site here.

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The dress featured in this post was provided to me by the PinkBlush Style Ambassador program, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

Belle + Bug Bows

Heather, the owner and creator of Belle + Bug Bows, is a Marine Wife, Mama of two (with one on the way!), and a fellow creative located right here in North Carolina. She first started creating bows so that her daughter and niece could have matching bows, and in the quiet of nap time, her business was born.

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Her Etsy Shop took shape back in August 2017 and since then, has only grown – and with good reason! She offers some of the cutest bows and they’re a wonderful quality. The nylon headband is thick, the fabric is to-die-for, and the sizes are just right.

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If you follow Belle + Bug on Instagram, you’ll find an easy “how to” video saved in the highlights demonstrating how to puff up the flare bows. Although hand-tied bows will always be my favorite, Heather encouraged me to give the flare bows a try, and I have to say that even though I wasn’t a huge fan of them at first, I have grown to love them too.

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If you are unsure what size bow is just right for your little one, there is also a saved highlight on the instagram page where you can see different sizes on little girls ranging from newborn to toddler to big girl, which I find super helpful.

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It is so much fun to give ya’ll a more up close and personal look at the family behind a small shop. When you support a small business, you’re supporting someone’s dream – and in turn – someone’s family. There’s a face behind that brand, and many long hours spent creating, packaging, and promoting. As we approach the holiday season and many of us are thinking of gifts for loved ones, I want to challenge you (and myself) to shop small this year. Let’s support some other families while buying thoughtful gifts for our own!

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These two. I’ll never get over their love for each other. 

Thank you so much to Heather from Belle + Bug for providing the bows featured in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Inchbug Cup Labels

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What I love about Inchbug Orbit Labels:

  • They come in a wide variety of pretty colors
  • They can be used over and over again
  • They are dishwasher safe and can be boiled/sterilized
  • They are virtually indestructible and fit snug around the cup so toddlers can not remove them
  • They are stretchy enough that they fit almost any kind of cup or bottle (and as you can see here, we have way too many cups around here)

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Since I’m home with my kiddos all day, it’s mostly the church nursery that these labels come in handy for my family. One sign of a growing, healthy church is the state of the children’s ministry (they’re our next generation, after all). Our church is definitely growing because our kids ministry is booming and it’s so sweet, week after week, watching all the babies together. Raising my babies with the friends I grew up with since crib nursery at church is so special and close to my heart!

Inchbug Orbit Labels have given me such a peace of mind, especially during flu season, that Landon’s sippy cups and Harper’s bottle won’t get mixed up with all the other kids.

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Inchbug also offers many other unique personalized products to give Mamas a peace of mind:

Thanks so much to Inchbug for providing the Orbit Labels featured in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Bloomies Handmade Bows

Harper has so many bows, it’s beginning to get a little comical. I found Bloomies Handmade on instagram and love the huge variety of patterns they offer. They are infamous for their .99 cent bow sales, so be sure to follow them on instagram and keep an eye out for their next sale! These are some of my favorites!

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Harper wore the black and white gingham bow with a little dress I found for her at a consignment store to the pumpkin patch and it was just a match made in heaven!

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In the spirit of complete honesty, I will say that the nylon on these bows is not as thick as some other bows I’ve shared, so they do cut into her head more than I would like. I’ve found a simple trick to remedy this – just stretch it out overnight using a book, and problem solved (just be careful not to stretch it out too much, because you don’t want it to fall off).

Thank you so much to Bloomies Handmade for providing the bows that are featured in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

29

Today is a very special day! It’s my husband’s birthday! 29 years ago today, he was born and the world was instantly a better place!

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I’m so thrilled to celebrate his life today and everyday. If you know him, you love him. He has the biggest heart, a strong faith that is evident in everything he does, and is the most devoted, passionate man I’ve ever met.

Even more so than New Years, birthdays are a time that I always look back and reflect on the last year. When I look at all that’s happened in our life in this last year, I am amazed at how much Grayson has grown and challenged himself. This past year was life-changing for us.

Grayson left a job he loved and was very comfortable at and stepped completely out of his comfort zone to begin a new career, which he has excelled at and found a true “home” at. The CCS community has already blessed us beyond measure and Grayson has pushed himself, learned more and more, built new relationships, and just finished his first ever undefeated football season!

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I watched my heart triple in size this year, as Grayson became a Daddy for the second time – to a little girl who already has him wrapped around her finger. And I watched our little boy look up to his Daddy in a way that has healed a very deep hurt in my own heart.

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I’ve seen him work late into the night finishing grad school assignments, rub my back when it ached throughout my pregnancy even after often working 12-13 hour days, joyfully be faithfully committed to our church, and still find a way to always put his family first. I’ve watched him give his all day after day, invest himself in other people, and make time for what’s truly important, and I’ve never been more proud to call him mine.

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Grayson, loving you and building this life with you is the greatest honor of my life. You’re a gift I’ll spend forever thanking Jesus for. Happy birthday! Let’s make this last year in your twenties one for the books!

Alphabet + Number Puzzles

Landon is just starting to love puzzles. He sits in the floor and plays with them for a surprisingly long time (I’m continuously amazed at his attention span, as a two year old). These alphabet and number puzzles from HM-Tech have quickly become favorites and I love watching him hold up the letters and turn to me with a big smile on his face and say, “B” or whatever letter he’s extra proud of knowing that day.

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Most of you know that Grayson and I are both Appalachian State graduates, and we take Landon to a lot of football games. Because of this, Landon associates the letter “A” with football, and although he’s memorized “F” is for fish, “D” is for DaDa, and so on and so forth, he still says, “A… Football game!” It’s hilarious. I wish he could stay this age forever!

If you’re looking for a good Christmas gift for your little ones, these puzzles are not only educational, but they’re a great price and available on Amazon Prime (all the praise hands for free two day shipping!).

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Thanks so much to HM-Tech for providing the puzzles featured in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.