I’m about to turn in for the night, and since making the bed up with our new bedding gifted from Garnet Hill, I can’t help but pinch myself that this bed even exists in my house. Listen though, a cozy bed does not have to be expensive. Most of our bedding has been from target, Walmart or thrifted and it’s served us beautifully through years of wear. But if you’re looking to invest a little bit in your bedding, this stuff is quality. And it has the look I love for our house – modern cottage through and through. I just thought it might be helpful to have the links to these pieces all in one spot for future reference! And I love all of these picture so much I needed them to be here forever.
Let’s start with the heirloom quality Agnes quilt. Ours is in oatmeal but they have other colors too! I’m desperate for the blue for the boys’ room now that I’ve seen it in person.
Ok you guys, this Blissful Silk Quilt. It is such a dream. Silk on top, cotton on bottom. The visible stitching keeps this from feeling too fancy fancy. I think if I had to pick just one thing, it would be this.
The French stripe lumbar pillows in slate blue are so cute, adding a little bit of contrast to this neutral bed. And lastly, the chunky knit throw has already moved to our corner chair, but it adds the perfect bit of cozy fluff to this bed moment.
It’s all come together to be such a sweet spot in our home! I hung up some thrifted hats to replace our kind of winter-y red wreath that was up before and now it feels like summer in here. ♥️
You guys, the second half of the school year has just really gotten the best of me this year. I haven’t posted a thing on here since February and it’s not for lack of post ideas. I have so many! It’s for lack of time time time. I know. This coming from the person who says that if you want things to be done – you have to make time for them. I’m hoping to get back into a regular routine of posting over the summer, which begins in three! more! days!. I love having this little corner of the internet to myself!
Ok, enough ruminating on time and blogs and wordsmithing my life away. Now on to the topic of this post – nightgowns. The other day I mentioned on Instagram that I am a nightgown person, through and through. I grew up wearing very 90’s nightgowns – think flannel, lace trim in winter and silky little girl princess vibes in summer. Around middle school I switched over to giant oversized sleep tees stolen from my dad or older brothers, and finally I graduated to sleep shorts and a t-shirt from high school through my mid-twenties. But when I was pregnant with my first baby boy, Charlie, I started wearing nightgowns again. You see, this extremely attractive thing started to happen where my belly got so very large that a strip of it started to show between where my pajama shorts met my tank top. Lovely. If you’ve been pregnant before – maybe you can relate. I can’t think of many things that could make you feel less attractive during pregnancy than constantly trying to hide the ever-growing strip of belly with pajamas that feel like they’re shrinking onto you. Well…I also do have this rather memorable photo of myself very pregnant and trying to wear a wrap dress, but it…wouldn’t wrap around my whole body so it just came to a point and left from my belly button down exposed in a big upside down V. Low point. lol. Ok, truly, I digress. (who let this wordy girl have a blog anyway??)
Now that you have my entire history of sleepwear…oh shoot I forgot to tell you that my mom favored sleep sacks when I was a baby – yes, back to nightgowns! Modern! Cute! Nightgowns! Even after pregnancy – I’ve continued wearing nightgowns in adulthood. They’re feminine, they don’t leave me feeling at all frumpy like sleep shorts can, and especially for summer, they’re just the best, easy breezy, old world romantic way to sleep. But! (of course there’s a but!) It feels like there are typically two types of nightgowns. Old lady, or lingerie. So here-in lies the topic of discussion. Where can one find nightgowns that land perfectly in the middle of these two extremes? I went hunting around to find some cute nighties that maybe you guys would like too! And now I might need to buy a couple because there are some cute ones out there! I tried to find a few different price ranges because I kind of hate when bloggers post $200 options that hello, normal people can’t buy.
I did get a couple questions about nightgowns riding up during sleep and honestly, I’ve never thought much about it either way, but I do believe that’s something you may have to grapple with depending on what kind of sleeper you are. Your nightie may ride up, especially if you are a turbulent sleeper. I’m the kind of sleeper that moves not even an inch while sleeping, so that may be why I’ve never thought about it before. Other notes from my lovely instagram friends: suggestions for TJ Maxx, Target and Marshall’s were all given as places to find cute nightgowns too, but for those – you just want to give them a visit. On to the nightgowns!
1// Ok, so I know there are mixed opinions about Shein, but! This nightgown was too sweet to share. And for $14! How could I not tell you about it? I think I’m going to order it. Will report back on my love level.
2//Aerie has this cute kind of athletic option. Looks easy breezy summer-y.
4// Well I will just have to lust after this one that is out of my price range, and hope that one of you gets it so I can hear if it’s truly as good as I think it is. (They also have a long version which is so very dreamy.)
It’s here! It’s Friday! Hooray! SO very grateful that my parents were here this week. We took advantage of them like crazy. My car was in the shop all freaking week , so they drove the boys and I around, let me borrow their car when I needed it, made dinner every night, cleaned, done every little bit of laundry, entertained, and were just such a comfort to me. So thankful for them. Really can’t do any better than those two. I’m a lucky gal and I know it.
In other news, I signed Charlie up for Pre-K and soccer last week and I feel like we’re entering into a world of activities and kid stuff, and once it starts, I know it doesn’t end. Trying to soak up these days of just coming straight home from school to be in a little cocoon of a family. It will be good to get him involved in some other stuff – he’s totally ready, and I know Ben will be too once Charlie starts. But it’s a little bittersweet, ya know? Speaking of Ben, that kid, sheesh. He has been such a delight lately. You know how your kids go through phases where they’re like…really difficult and then suddenly you turn around and you’re totally enchanted by this tiny person that you created out of nothing? We’re in the latter phase right now, and gosh he has been so much fun. And oh yes, Lukey Lou is being a good boy too, now that you ask, despite waking at 4:50 on the dot this morning. His hair is getting curlier and curlier by the day, he says “wow” about everything, yells “mama” at everyone (including his dada), points to the tv and cries if we don’t turn blippi on, loves tromping around in the backyard in his rainboots, wants to be anywhere his brothers are, tells us when he poops in his diaper and gives the best hugs in (I’m pretty sure) the state, or maybe even the world.
This weekend we’re continuing to take full advantage of my parents and going on a freaking DATE tomorrow! I have a little excited smile on my face just thinking about it. Truly can’t remember the last date we’ve been on. And Sunday, of course, is the super bowl, so we’ve started working out a little list for the menu (so far it’s – tot-chos, meatballs, and dorito dip). And then Monday is Valentine’s day (that came up quick right??), so we need to bake something fun to celebrate. Ok, ok, I’m done spilling my guts now. How about some links from the week?
Sometimes I have a hard time deciding if something is worth a blog post when a picture is really all you need, but I know lots of people like to see links for the exact things used in said pictures, so here we are with a helpful little blog post to make your own seed packet valentines! This idea came to me one morning on my way to school as I was contemplating valentine options along with my deeply rooted desire for a giant vegetable garden. The two came together as if fireworks were going off in my brain. The pun options! The seed packet options! I mean, really, what could be more delightful than getting this as a valentine? I decided to give these to friends and family, and the boys are making crayon hearts to give to their classmates. They’ve been tucked away in little kraft paper envelopes and are traveling across the states to be opened and smiled over by Monday. And just in time for seed starting season for my northern friends.
You’re the real dill.
I’m wild about you, valentine.
I love you from my head tomatoes.
Lettuce be friends forever.
Will you be my valentine even though you’re chamomiles away?
Feels a little late to be sharing this, February being a short month and it already being the 9th, but better late than never! But I can imagine this coming in handy next year when I’m looking for monthly to dos. I think I’ll share every month (but hopefully a little earlier next time!).
Now before I dive in, I should explain that I have a little monthly planning hack to help myself get more crossed off of my dreams list. Every month, I go through my calendar, and count how many weeks I have in which to fit a reasonable number of fun things. It’s generally four. So then, I have categories for things that matter to me. Baking, Treats, New Meals, Cocktails, and Home. Sometimes I change the categories, like if I want to focus on organization, for example, or marriage, mental health, physical health, the boys, outings, etc. What I’m saying is that you can choose any category you like. Then, for each of those categories I pick four things (or however many weeks we have) to do. So at the beginning of every new week during that month, I pick one thing from each of my categories and cross them off of my list. Doing my months this way makes me feel like I’m still getting to do what I love and I don’t get overwhelmed with the number of choices out there. Decision fatigue is real! Phew. Maybe I’ll have to post this little monthly planning hack again as a stand-alone post, but (drumroll please), here’s my February to do list – complete with links!
Happy Friday!! Doing my weekly sigh of relief and popping in here to say hi, give a little update and to share some fun links from the week! Luke went back to school on Wednesday after his bout of pneumonia and is pretty much back to his jolly little self. Still has a yucky cough, but his lungs are clear and no fever and praise hands for that. I’ve started to brainstorm ideas for the boys’ Valentines for school and there are sooo many fun ones out there, I just need to pick something and start on it. We did dinosaurs last year, and I’m just not sure if I can ever top that one. Our bathroom should be finishing up in the middle of next week, and I cannot wait to get our house back in order. Also, my parents arrive next week for their annual February stay, and I am so freaking excited I cannot contain myself. Trying to decide where to put Luke while they take the guest bedroom. Do we go for it and just stick him in with the big boys? Do we put up the pack and play in the laundry room and shut him away? Do we put him in our room? TBD. My dad also always likes to have a house project while they’re visiting to keep him busy and we haven’t decided on that either. Phew. This post kind of became my to do list, didn’t it? Or vent? Anyway – I feel better after having it all down.
What are you up to this weekend? It’s supposed to be “cold” here in Florida (think 30’s to 40’s), so whatever we do, we may have to bundle up and have a little bit of hot chocolate on the side. Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you enjoy it! Now, how about some fun links from around the web?
I was going to do one Day in the Life post, but after starting to write, I have found that I need to break it up. I’m so chatty and explain-y! There is after all somewhat of a science to getting out the door in a orderly and not-pulling-your-hair-out fashion with three small children before 6:45am. I’ll do three posts over the next few weeks. This one is a typical morning for us, next week I’ll do a School Day in the Life if you’re curious about my school librarian gig, and then I’ll finish it up with An Evening in the Life. Maybe I’ll even do A Weekend in the Life? But you might be so bored to tears by then that I may have to skip it.
5am – My alarm begins to bong. I recently switched the setting to Timba and I find it a little less jarring than what I used to use. Sencha I believe? Feels more like I’m an extra in Tarzan and I don’t hate it. The first thing I do is make my way to the kitchen to put the water on to boil for coffee (we make ours in a french press and if you haven’t tried french press…well you’re missing out), then comes emptying the dishwasher, packing lunchboxes, getting breakfast ready, switching the laundry if I forgot to the night before, and getting my own stuff ready for school if I didn’t the night before. Typical breakfasts are cereal, frozen pancakes, french toast sticks, oatmeal, a baked good if we have it, (all of the above with sprinkles added if they need urging to eat), or, of course, the occasional refusal of all of the above in favor of…not eating breakfast at all.
Things can easily devolve here during this critical morning prep time if everyone wakes up really early, but on an ideal day, after everything in the kitchen is ready to go and I have a mug of hot coffee in my hand, I get myself ready before the boys get up. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I would say that on 3 to 4 days a week (aka…most days), one or another wakes before I’m ready. On those days, I wake my husband up and I hand that one off to him. Ben (2) is typically the first one up and he requests warm milk and a show so they’ll snuggle on the couch until another kid wakes up too. Favorites morning shows are: searching the term “construction trucks” on youtube and watching trucks move dirt, searching “recycling trucks” – there’s some great compilations of trucks picking up trash, sometimes Blippi, sometimes Pokoyo, and sometimes just yelling that he doesn’t want “that one”. lol…gotta love the whims of two year olds. Luke (15 months) is next up, and I take care of him if Ben is already up snugging with the best husband on earth. Luke gets a bottle, a new diaper, dressed in his school clothes right away, then a snuggle and sent to destroy things in the playroom.
6am – Now it’s time to wake anyone who isn’t already up – namely, Charlie (4). I usually start the wake up process at about 5:55. This includes, turning on the light in the family room, opening the door (Ben and Charlie share a room, and we’re toying with the idea of tossing Luke in there too soon – but we may have lost our marbles), and then turning off their sound machine. I give them about five minutes and this generally does the trick. If they’re still slumbering like angels, then I go in for phase two of wake up and rub their little backs, sing a wake up song, and give them another few minutes to roll around. The last step, or code red you really must get up as I like to think of it, is to turn on the light on their room. I try to avoid this as it can really be not a very nice mama move to those sensitive morning eyes. But! We’re not here to be nice, are we? And then, of course, first stop is to the potty when they wake up.
6:10 – Get the heathens, I mean boys, dressed, if they aren’t already. I try to have clothes laid out the night before and set it in the playroom so it’s easy to find everything. There is nothing I loathe more than searching through laundry for socks first thing in the morning. It is enough to put me in a foul mood for the rest of the day. Now…getting them dressed can be a touchy thing. Sometimes they don’t want to get dressed. Sometimes they don’t want it to be a school day. Me either, dudes. So to soothe their big emotions stuck inside their tiny frames, I try to be flexible. This looks different for each kid. For Luke, as mentioned above, he is happiest if he drinks his bottle while getting a new diaper and getting dressed. He doesn’t really get a choice. For Ben, the most difficult morning child, he is easiest if we get him dressed while he’s slightly distracted and still watching his little morning show. For Charlie, it depends. He often likes to get dress while in our room on our bed, sometimes he likes to do it himself, sometimes he likes help. In most cases, it’s all about the time. It could take fifteen minutes to get them dressed, or it could take two. If they’re having a hard time, and don’t want to get dressed yet, I leave them and I move on to something different (making their beds, making our beds, finishing my hair or makeup if it needs it), and then come back after a few minutes. Sometimes they just need to feel like they’re in control for a few minutes. Sometimes they just want dada to do it instead! Sometimes they want to listen to a Laurie Berkner or Caspar Babypants song on my phone. I try to be flexible. And I have definitely learned this the hard way. I remember feeling so very frustrated with Charlie because he would often refuse to get dressed in the morning and then we would both wind up upset, and late. Now, I give him a few minutes, then come back to him, and try to give him choices if he needs them.
6:20 – Now it’s time for breakfast which is already sitting out on the table, so they just go to eat whenever they’re ready or around 6:20 when we say it’s time to stop doing whatever they’re doing because we have to eat and get out the door soon. Breakfast is smooth if not a little silly. My husband always sits with them while they eat breakfast and at this point I go finish getting myself ready if I haven’t already. Hair, makeup, etc. If I’m ready, then I sit and eat breakfast with them.
6:35 – Brush teeth and vitamins. Easy – they love their vitamins and they know they only get their vitamin if they brush their teeth. Pairing works really well for us. Feels a little like bribery sometimes, but they need to take a vitamin, and they need to brush their teeth, so it’s really just a win-win here.
6:40 – We declare “ok! time for school! Lunchboxes and to the car!” Luke looooooves his lunchbox, so he trots out the door right away (and his little legs pumping out the door dragging his lunchbox next to him might be my favorite part of the morning), Ben often stalls if he’s playing with something, in which case – he gets to take that toy to the car with him. Again, feels like bribery, but it really works for him and we both get what we want. Compromise here. Charlie is pretty easy to get out the door, but can often play around when we get to the car. He puts himself in his own carseat in the back and loves to do it, so we do a lot of counting to three with him. “I’m going to count to three, and if you’re not in your seat by the time I get to three, then I’m going to put you in your seat for you.” I use this a lot in the afternoons too if he’s being squirrely. Counting to three does absolutely nothing for Ben, so to each his own. Ben gets to eat a squeezy yogurt when he gets into his carseat, and that does it for him.
Another thing that really works for us at any point in the morning are “Special Mama Hugs”. I use these more in the afternoon, but in the morning if anyone is losing it, I will say, “do you need a special mama hug?” And this generally stops them in their tracks and they nod yes. This means dropping everything we’re doing, me being wholly focused on the child who is struggling and I pick them up for an extra long, tight hug. Works wonders during times of overwhelm. It’s just a little moment of connection to reset. Like – ok, let’s take a minute, forget what we’re struggling with, and just hug. it. out. Charlie now will even ask for one if he knows he’s getting too upset or emotional.
6:50 – We must be on the road. It takes about fifteen minutes to get to the boys school, and I cannot stand for lateness so to get me to school on time (by 7:30), this is what it takes. For whatever reason, I didn’t care a bit about being late when I was pregnant with each of the boys (I think pregnancy can make us a little selfish, as it should. We’re one with the baby, and our bodies need all of our attention.), so I had several phases of being late to school every day, but I’m past that. We listen to Caspar Babypants radio on Pandora in the car, a story podcast (favorites are Circle Round and Little Stories for Tiny People), or sometimes if moods are sour, I will put PJ Mask on my phone on the Netflix app and prop it up in the middle of the seats so they can watch.
7:05ish – Arrive at daycare. We always call it “school” just to get them ready for school and the idea that school is fun, etc. And of course, we also call their minders teachers too! I think it’s good to get that mentality that you must listen to your teachers instilled really early. Charlie and Luke have always been happy to go to school and they love walking from the car to the door. Ben can sometimes take some urging. If he needs extra hugs or attention, I will sometimes take Charlie and Luke in and come back for Ben. Lately, hasn’t been much pushback on getting from the car to the door though. They don’t even look back at me when they’re going through the door. lol. I generally call my goodbye’s and “I love you’s and ok I’ll miss you’s to their backs. At one point, this would have made me sad. But now, I’m just glad that they love their school.
7:15 – I arrive at school and the second leg of my day begins. My School Day. Eeeeeee. Come back to see “A School Day in the Life” next week!
Stok Cold Brew Have you had it? I’ve been getting the Un-sweet Bold and Smooth and omg it is so creamy and delicious…while somehow not having any cream in it? I can’t stop thinking about it when I’m not drinking it. I’ve been treating myself to a cup of it in the afternoon with a splash of half & half and I swear it just makes the day go by so much smoother for me. While it’s cheaper than buying a coffee from Starbucks every day, it’s not exactly cheap. So I googled how they make theirs (it’s not exactly rocket science), and I’m going to buy some nicer beans than normal and give it a shot. It’s not the first time I’ve made cold brew, but their recipe is a little different than how I normally do mine. Will report back if it’s worth making yourself or if we should all just give something else up in the grocery list to buy Stok.
Duolingo It’s an app that you can download for free to learn another language. The school that I teach at has a very high Spanish population, so I made it one of my new years resolutions to brush up on my Spanish skills. I’ve been having so much fun with it. Haven’t missed a day yet in the new year. Fingers crossed I can keep my momentum going. If you want to try it and to have an accountability partner my username is emetroka! They have all kinds of languages – not just Spanish!
Meal Planning Ok, ok this isn’t a new obsession, but it bears repeating that meal planning is the only way I get dinner made every night. I don’t know how people decide what to make for dinner when they don’t have it planned out for the whole week. I seize up in indecision. I have a little formula that I follow for each day of the week to make it even easier. I’m always trying to reduce decision making fatigue. If you’ve seen my Making Every Day Special document, then you already know it. Sunday – Warm and cozy meal (think casserole, soup, pasta, etc), Monday – Crock Pot, Tuesday – Tacos, Wednesday – One Pot/Sheet pan meal, Thursday – Leftovers, Friday – Pizza, Saturday – Grill day.
Ozark It is so intense. Every season has stressed me out so much. Why are shows like this so addictive?? This is the last season, and we’ve been allowing ourselves one episode a night to really appreciate it rather than binging the whole thing at once. So we’ve been watching one episode and then reading or Mike watches sports after. It’s been a nice little evening routine.
Reading You know I’m always obsessed with reading (I am a librarian after all), but I have read SO many good books lately. I’m usually pretty good about sharing my book reviews on Instagram, but I have been putting it off for some reason this month. I’ll share this week sometime, but I’m also going to share a post every month on here to tell you what I read, so that it’s all in one place for you to easily find book reviews.
I heard this tip several years ago on the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and it’s one that has stuck with me over the years. It’s the five minute rule. You ready for this? Ok. So: If something is going to take less than five minutes, do it now. Don’t put it off until later. When you think of it, just do it. Emptying the dishwasher this morning took me 3 minutes and 42 seconds. I timed myself going at a leisurely pace so I could tell you. Starting a load of laundry, switching the laundry, tidying a room, making the bed, prepping vegetables for dinner, putting those shoes away that you thought to yourself “those really need put away”, reading a book to your kids? All less than five minutes. Well…depending on the book they choose. I think we often put things off because we think that we’ll just do it later, but what if you did it now instead and then you don’t even have to think about it later. Or have it hanging over your head all day? Anyway, try it. It might help you get more things done in a day!
Other things I do to get things done:
Set a timer and race against it to get something done quickly.
Give yourself a treat. I only get X if I do Y first. (Examples of treats are: reading a chapter of my book, chocolate, a baked good. If it’s something big maybe you get to buy something for yourself, etc)
Make a list. There are few things I love more than crossing things off of a list.
Do you have any tips for productivity?? I’d love to hear!
Don’t know if you’re keeping track, but there are exactly 21 days in which to fit as many heart themed treats as humanly possible. I just counted. So far at our house, we’ve made heart shaped chocolate chip cookies, sprinkled heart shaped sprinkles on everything we’ve eaten, made heart shaped banana muffins in a heart mold, cut strawberries into the shape of hearts and even smushed rice into a heart cookie cutter to make heart rice. Lol I know, I know. I’ve gone too far. I know what you’re thinking. Come on, Em! We all know that Valentine’s Day is a total commercialized crock of garbage! We don’t need one day to celebrate love! You know what my answer is? I don’t care! Nope! Not a bit! I love it! I love celebrating all holidays, commercialized or not. It’s an opportunity to make something special for my kids. And of course, an opportunity to foster my own personal joy too.
I love miniature pies in all forms, and these little heart hand pies are up there on my favorites list. If you would like to know how I made them, you have come to the right place. (See here and here for other mini pies I’ve done in the past).
Now…of course you can and should use pie crust from the grocery store if that’s more your speed, but if you’ve never made a pie crust before you might try it! It’s incredibly easy after a little practice. I’ve always used Erin McDowell’s All Buttah crust from The Book on Pie and it’s never gone wrong on me, but there are a myriad of recipes out there. Find your favorite! For the filling – I just used regular old strawberry jelly from the jar, but you could do anything here. Pie filling, butter and brown sugar, lemon curd, cream cheese, Nutella. The sky is the limit really.
Alright let’s get down to the recipe, shall we? If you can even call if a recipe. It’s more of a method than anything. Get or make pie crust, cut out shapes, poke vents in top crust, add filling, add top crust, crimp, egg wash, bake. Those tiny hearts in the picture? Those are just little heart pie crackers. No filling. I just added egg wash, a sprinkle of Demerara sugar and baked.
Heart Hand Pies
2 pie crusts Filling of your choice Egg wash (one egg whisked with one tablespoon water) Demerara sugar or drizzly icing
Begin by preheating your oven to 375. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Roll out your pie crusts on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. Cut out as many hearts as you can (or any other shape!). Keep re-rolling the scraps until you have used as much as you possibly can. You (I hope obviously) want an even number. At this point I used the small cookie cutter to cut little heart cookies with the extra crust. If at any point your pie crust is feeling warm or too floppy to work with, put in the fridge or freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm back up. The colder they are, the better they will hold their shape while baking.
Now, set the bottom crust on your cookie sheet, add pie filling. How much will depend on the size of your shape. I used about a tablespoon, but wish I had squeezed in more. As for the top crust, you need to add vents with a fork or knife. This releases steam while you’re baking so the tops don’t burst in the oven. After adding the vents, place the top crust over the bottom, lining up the edges. Use a fork to crimp around all edges of your hand pie. Brush the tops of each pie with your egg wash and sprinkle Demerara sugar on top, if desired. (I sprinkled sugar on half and did icing on the other half after they were cool, but I have to tell you that the ones with icing were eaten first.) Again, after all this if your pies are feeling loose or floppy, stick them in the freezer or fridge for a few minutes to firm up. They will bake up much better if they’re cold!
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and on edges. Let cool, and add icing if using. Enjoy!