Friday, February 27, 2015

Blog Makeover + Your Feedback

The blog got a long overdue facelift & I'm super excited about it! Thank you to everyone who has left sweet comments, your kind words mean so much! As you may notice, we have been in the process of rebranding over the last year to Garvin & Co., which is mostly the umbrella brand over my etsy shop & chalk business. As I continue to take on more custom work & local projects, it has been fun to give that little business it's own brand.
 I am working on adding a search feature to the blog so it will be easier to find past posts, but also will continue to expand the topics list along the right hand side for navigation as well! I hope you find this helpful & let me know if there are specific tags you would like me to add. I want to hear from you!  
What content do you want to see more or less of on the blog?

There are also a few sponsor spots available now in my sidebar, so if you are an etsy shop or small business & would like to chat about rates, please send me an email with "sponsor" in the subject line! As our family continues to grow, the hours in the day that I am available to work or blog become less & less. And while I understand that sponsored posts & content are always controversial, these options are what make it possible to dedicate the amount of time that I do towards blogging. I can't thank you all enough for your continued support over the last 3+ years, I have grown to love so many of you, your blogs & all of the amazing relationships that have formed though this blogging community!

And because I can't post a post without a picture, this one will have to do! ;) Happy Weekend!! XO

Thursday, February 26, 2015

For the Easter Basket

Harper & I were chatting about Easter the other day, she asked me what bunnies eat & I told her that they eat carrots. She asked me if they eat hummus with their carrots too, because that's her favorite food & maybe she could share some of it with the Easter bunny. Or maybe trade for some extra m&m's. Love the way she thinks!

Here is a roundup of all the fun things that I am thinking of for the girls' Easter baskets this year. How cute is that book?! This will be Eloise's last "first holiday" which is always bittersweet.

Bunny Doll // Vegetable Rattle // Wolfie the Bunny // Heart Sunnies // Natural Beeswax Crayons // Tegu Magnetic Blocks // Mini Rabbit Nightlight // Straw Sippy Cup

What's going in your little bunny's baskets this year?

It's hard to even imagine a warm Spring day right now with all of the snow on the ground outside, I'll admit, I was really excited about it when it first started coming down but we are on day three of not leaving the house other than to play in the yard. Stir. Crazy. But I really am so glad Harper got to play in some snow this year, you know her little Frozen-loving heart was so happy! Hope you all are staying warm & having a great week! XO

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nursery Inspiration & Girls Shared Room

With a summer baby on the way, what more fun inspiration for a new nursery than the little mermaid!! I love mermaids, and Harper does too, so she has been having fun helping me pick a few new accessories for baby girl's room. Here are a few things that have caught my eye & some colors that I am loving for the room!

 Having all girls, I have never thought to use a lot of blue, but I am loving teal & mint right now! We may paint the room but you know how I am about committing to color. ;) We took our changing table to Goodwill because I've realized how little I used it with either of the girls, so in this nursery we will just have the dresser, rocker & we will be purchasing a new crib. We have talked about building some fun bookshelves to display a few fun gizmos & gadgets. And the prettiest mermaid crib blanket that is so soft I want to sleep with it myself!

As for Eloise & Harper's shared room, we moved the twin bed to the far wall & will put the crib where it used to be when this was Harper's nursery. I am still searching for some curtains & will just be combining most of the things they already have, hoping it will all fit into one room! I combined their two tassel garlands into one, have a few prints to hang on the walls & want to find a new light fixture.

Brandon's parents bought Harper this bedding for Christmas & we just put it on her bed the other day, she is so obsessed with it! Brandon actually saw the firefighter & astronaut set for boys (on the Chive, surprise!) and came home to show me, asking if we could find Harper a princess set. It really is the cutest thing! And they have a ballerina set as well that we will maybe get for Eloise once she upgrades to a twin bed. I added this princess throw blanket with fur backing because I loved the colors & pattern, I think they compliment the duvet so well & help make it not look so grown up! ;)

Hoping to have this all put together in the next few weeks, although not so sure when Eloise will actually move in. She is still wild in the middle of the night (like loudly rocking back & forth, humming & baby talking to herself for an hour or two... anybody else?!) so I don't think Harper is going to want her as a roommate quite yet!

Monday, February 23, 2015

21 Week Bump

Of course I am behind on monthly chalkboards, so for now I thought I would do a little 21 week bump update! This pregnancy seems to be flying by, most likely because of the two busy little bees that I am always trying to keep up with. Here's what's happening with the belly.

 How far along: 21 weeks
Gender: Girl
Weight gain: 12 lbs.
Maternity clothes: Wearing my maternity leggings a ton still because it is so damn cold here & lots of drapey tunics like the one above. Asos Maternity has tons of cute new dresses & off the shoulder tops that I have been loving as well. Harper always wants to play dress-up in my closet & wants me to put on dresses every day, it is making me long for warm weather so I can actually wear them with her! She loves to tell me that my belly looks like a basketball or poke me in the belly button & then talk to the baby like it is an intercom system.
Sleep: Sleep is still good, I am usually so exhausted at the end of the day that I can almost fall asleep while brushing my teeth. I sleep like a rock until the girls wake me with air horns at the crack of dawn.
Best moment this month: Doing lots of fun things with our family of four (before we add one more!) and having healthy ultrasounds/doctors appointments.
Worst moment this month: Getting sick & having sick kids. It's so stressful & overwhelming to have sick kiddos, especially while you're down & out yourself. Counting down the days until we can open the windows for a few days to get some fresh air in the house!
Miss anything: Sunshine, sleeping in & adult beverages. But I guess not all of that is pregnancy related.
Movement: Finally started feeling movement around 18+ weeks or so. Now we have full somersault type movements & Brandon can feel the baby kicking.
Cravings: Sushi, apples, strawberries, cereal, fountain coke & cucumbers.
Queasy or sick: Still feeling really good this pregnancy, it has been the easiest of the three so far.
Looking forward to: Nursery progress & deciding on a name, the fun stuff!!

Okay, so speaking of fun stuff! I got super excited for Easter this weekend after seeing some of the cute new things that Target has on their shelves, I am loving all of these fun colors & couldn't wait to share a few of the things I got!! This felt + gold Happy Easter pennant banner is PERFECT for Spring, I love the colors & material so much!!! I also grabbed a fun little Easter egg hunt kit with little directional signs for the yard & a cute plastic table cloth for making Easter crafts. And of course, the newest flavor of my favorite popcorn & a cute peep lollipop, which would be so fun to use with the magic Easter jellybeans!!! ;) If you haven't already hit up Target for some of these goodies, you have lots to look forward to on your next trip!

Lots of more fun Easter stuff to share this week, hope you all have a happy Monday!!! XO

Friday, February 20, 2015

When a Tree Falls in the Woods

....and comes crashing down within inches of your breakfast nook window while you're eating waffles. That is the story of our Tuesday morning. It scared the living daylights out of us, we could hear it cracking like fireworks. I grabbed the girls, thank God for Ellie's high chair being on wheels, and within seconds the tree crashed right outside this window.

It was so scary. And our yard looks more like a jungle than usual. ;) Should be a super fun weekend cleaning it all up!

We are hoping for some warm weather soon, this little lady is dying to get outside & ride her new bike!! We, along with grandparents, got her this Radio Flyer bike for her birthday, it is just the perfect size! It has both an adjustable seat & removable training wheels so she can definitely continue to ride it as she grows, then eventually it will get passed down to her little sisters! I really want to get her a cute little basket to add to the front!

While we were in Florida, we got to visit one of my brothers, his wife & their four month old baby. It was so fun to see them & they just announced that they're moving closer, to Charlotte, NC in the next few weeks! We have never been there so we are super excited to go visit & explore their new city with them. My brother that still lives in Iowa just proposed to his girlfriend this week as well, and she said YES! We are so happy for them & can't wait for their beautiful wedding in the next year or so. And in two weeks, Brandon's sister & her family will be coming to visit us for a few days & we will get Eloise baptized while they're here. We can't wait to see them & for the girls to have lots of fun with their cousins since they are all so close in age! :)

And a few Friday Favorites because visions of SPRING are dancing through my head!! For those of you who loved my reversible metallic tote, I found a new similar style in rose gold that is so pretty & affordable!! I have been loving my bag & use it instead of a diaper bag often!
These baby espadrilles are too cute for words, I had to get them for Eloise & can't wait to see her chubby little feet in them.
Strawberry & toasted coconut bruschetta, this recipe had my mouth watering! They call it dessert but I call it breakfast. I have been craving fruit like crazy & can't wait for Strawberries to be in season again.

Wishing you all a fun & relaxing weekend!!! XO

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dining Room Inspiration

We are so excited to have our new light fixture up in the dining room & now it's time to decorate! The light fixture is from Lowe's, crazy affordable for a sputnik style light, but it only came in silver so we gave it a makeover with a few coats of Rustoleum Metallic Bronze! We painted the walls & will have the trim all touched up with a coat of bright white next week. I feel like this room has been one of the hardest, we have been in our house for over two years & I've never been able to figure out how to decorate this space. It is obviously set up to be a formal living & dining room, but nothing about our house is formal. The girls use this space more for playing, we spend a ton of time in it & the dining room table is mostly covered in art supplies. I want to make sure that this room is practical more than anything, which rules out pretty glass candle holders on the table or large trays full of fun accessories that end up taking up too much space.

This table was purchased on Craigslist a few years ago when we lived in our townhouse, and the chairs are from Ikea. I think the table might be too dark & makes the room look a little too formal, I would love to do something lighter. I love the rug we have here (purchased here) but would not be opposed to moving it to another room & putting something down that is more colorful. I also love this rug or maybe this pink one if Brandon would go for it, both the colors & the style would bring a lot to the space! If we had a lighter dining room table, I would have loved to paint that back wall a dark navy to coordinate with the two chairs on the opposite wall by our front windows, but first I would have to get rid of the chair rail. We have this Caroline Wright piece on the opposite wall as well, so I would love to pull some of the navy & coral colors from it for the dining room. Some bold curtains would be great as well, I always have the hardest time picking curtains though, we currently have bamboo blinds that I love.

I think that dining rooms are hard to decorate. Unless you have already beautiful architecture or large windows with lots of natural light, I feel like I never know what to put on the walls. I am torn now between doing a small gallery wall with mismatched frames, a gallery wall on a long photo ledge, or just looking for a narrow white sideboard/buffet. I love the last option because it would be nice to have a little surface area for lamps or candles, but the storage would also be nice. I have been scouring craigslist but no luck so far! ;) I love this wall mirror & think it would be so fun to pair with some more framed art propped up on a sideboard.

One // Two // Three // Four // Five

Does anyone else love flamingo/bird art? I have been obsessed with that last space forever! 
What are your thoughts/suggestions? We have a blank slate right now ready for accessories!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Our Disney Trip

We are home from Disney, such fun (albeit crazy & chaotic, as always) trip, just in time for an ice storm last night. The drive was only six and a half hours (ish), we got a set of DVD players for the girls to watch movies in the car, and Eloise only cried for maybe 51% of the trip. Could have been worse. Harper did amazing on the car ride, she was just so excited to get there & wanted to watch all the princess movies she could before we arrived. We were so happy to finally get to our hotel Friday afternoon, we let the kids run (or I should say jump) off some energy before grabbing dinner & then watching Sea World fireworks and crashing for the night.

Our hotel had the most amazing breakfast buffet, I was honestly a little sad to have to stop eating in order to get to the park before it opened. We all were having so much fun & probably could have sat there eating waffles & omelets all morning long. They made Harper all sorts of fancy mini fruit smoothies & she was loving it! I know that probably isn't even noteworthy, but you all know how I feel about breakfast food.
We stayed just a few minutes from the park, and we got there about twenty minutes before it opened. I was a little disappointed about how long it took us to get into the actual park itself after waiting in line to scan tickets & riding the trolley/ferry/monorail/etc. but we eventually got inside & Harper's jaw dropped at the sight of Cinderella's castle! ;) It was freezing in the morning, like in the low 40's & insanely windy, luckily we had sweatshirts with us & it eventually warmed up around noon. The first thing we did was see the big Mickey performance in front of the castle, this was perfect because Harper got to see a few of her favorites right away which blew her little mind. I was worried she would be bummed about not getting to meet Cinderella (the wait times were really long & we weren't able to get a fast pass reservation) but she was thrilled to see her dancing during the show. We watched part of the street parade, where she got to see Ana & Elsa, Ariel & a few of her other favorites, then we headed off to meet Tinkerbell. 

Meeting Tink was hysterical because it was her first encounter & she did not know what to do with herself! We thought she would be shy or starstruck, but instead she walked right up to her & started asking questions. She even asked her where Belle was, to which Tinkerbell replied, "I don't know, probably off reading a book somewhere!" ;) Harper thought that was pretty funny.

We ate lunch, had some yummy Dole whips & did a fun jungle cruise, a much needed mid-day way to relax! We gave Harper a Snow White dress when we first told her we were going to Disney, she is one of her very favorite princesses, so of course she asked right away if she could wear it when she goes to meet her. She was so excited to show Snow White her dress & this was definitely one of the sweetest moments of the day. She even got a big red lipstick smooch on her forehead from her which she still talks about!

Then there was the highlight of the trip. Harper really wanted to see Belle, and although we couldn't get a reservation for it, the line was only about 45 minutes. This attraction was called Enchanted Tales with Belle, where all of the kids get to play a part in the story using big cardboard cutouts, they act out the movie for five minutes or so while Belle is in the room watching. Of course, Harper was so shy & wouldn't volunteer to take a part, so in the end they ended up handing her the salt & pepper shaker. She could barely sit still, she kept trying to get up so she could go see Belle up close. After they acted out the movie & entire group danced around the room in a line, Belle came back around & put a red cape around Harper's back for her to play the beast. Harper was in total shock as she got to dance to Tale as Old as Time with Belle (!!!!!!!!), which I am positive was the highlight of her life thus far. Every time we watch the movie she wants one of us to dance with her during this part, so I know this is something she will never forget, and neither will we!!! I totally cried through the entire dance.

Disney was magical & I know that Harper had the best birthday ever!!

That being said, I think that the happiest place on earth might also be the most annoying place on earth. Aside from the fact that Eloise was definitely too young to enjoy it, and that we possibly just didn't have enough time (we only spent one day at the actual park since we also spent a day visiting my brother who lives there) AND that maybe we just went during a crazy busy time (holiday, three day weekend, February, who even knows), I felt like a lot of things made Disney a giant pain in the ass. Again, it was all so worth it & the fun outweighed all of the negatives, but there were tons of times where I questioned why on earth people would do this over and over again. Although we will totally do it again. Maybe I'll save that for another blog post though! Overall, we really did love it, Harper has already been asking when she can go back to see all of her princess friends & I can't wait to print a few of these pictures for her to keep forever.

Happy happy happy birthday to the sweetest little princess of them all!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sweet Valentines

Happy Valentine's Week, friends!! It has been quite the roller coaster over here for the last two weeks, between both of the girls having scary high fevers, ear infections & a sinus infection & flood on the main floor of our house, I have been feeling majorly overwhelmed! And I swear that every time I turn my head, Eloise is halfway up the stairs (if she isn't trapped by a baby gate & screaming her head off). She is our wild child for sure!! ;) I am so looking forward to a fun weekend as we celebrate Harper's birthday & Valentine's Day with my loves!!!

 Red Headband \\ Heart Romper & Chambray Shirt (old from gap) \\ Tassel Necklace \\ Twirl Skirt

Remember the super yummy raspberry vanilla bean jam I mentioned a few weeks ago? This was a little handmade Valentine that we gave out to a few of our friends & I wanted to share the recipe quick in case any of you wanted to whip some up before the weekend. This recipe is so so so easy, like easier than most dinner recipes. Jelly is intimidating at first, but once you do it, you'll never want to buy store bought again.

My aunt is my jelly making mentor, she first showed me how to make strawberry jam when we lived in Florida & could get the most delicious fruit at the Strawberry festival every year. I have only ever done it the easy way, with no actual canning equipment, just make sure that you wash & sanitize all of your jars before using. Basically if you do it this way, your seal is only good as long as a regular jar of jelly that you would buy from the store once you open it. Since I don't store it or keep it all for myself, this is really the easiest way to do it, since I usually only keep one or two jars for myself. This recipe requires only one soup/stockpot & a dozen or so jelly jars, I use regular size quilted jars as well as a bunch of tiny ones so I can give more away! ;)

8 cups of fresh raspberries
7 cups of sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 package of Sure-Jell
1 cup of water

+ Measure 8 cups of fresh (and freshly washed) raspberries, and kinda smash them into the measuring cup as you measure to get the most accurate amount. Put them all into a large soup or stock pot & turn your stove on low as you start to mash them with a potato masher or whisk. *This recipe only works for raspberries, as every fruit jam may require different steps.

+ Slice open your vanilla bean & scoop out the center, which will look similar to coffee grounds, and add to your raspberry mixture.

+Add 1 cup of water & Sure-Jell to the mixture.

+ Continue to cook your raspberries on low as you mash out all of the lumps, approximately 8-10 minutes or so.

+ Add your 7 cups of sugar the raspberry mixture & turn heat up to bring to a low boil. You'll want to constantly stir this to ensure that nothing burns to the bottom of the pot. Boil for approximately one minute.

+ Test your jam to make sure that it will set properly. Take a small spoonful of jam from the pot, place it in the middle of a dinner plate, let it cool for a second & then hold the plate up to see if the jam will run. If it sort of stays put, and is thick, you are good to go! If it is still very runny, you can continue to let your mixture boil for another minute before removing from heat. Once removed from heat, let it cool for just a few minutes, and scoop off any foam that may settle on on the top. I didn't have any when I made mine, but every batch can be different.

+ Scoop your mixture into jars, seal tightly & let them set for 24 hours. Eat it on toast. Eat it on crackers. Eat it on pancakes. Eat it on ice cream. Or eat it right out of the jar!


Monday, February 9, 2015

Harper's 3rd Birthday Party

This weekend, we celebrated Harper's third birthday! I know I will continue to say this every year, but I really can't believe how fast time flies. We had a really long week with both girls being very sick, so it was such a relief for them to wake up feeling better by Sunday. Their health & happiness is all that matters, I was thanking God to have both by the end of the weekend!

Harper asked for a princess party, she wanted lots of tutus & a sparkly wand. So I decided to gather up a few of her favorite skirts from her closet & use them as inspiration for colors & decorations. The party was small, we had family & a few of her friends come over to play dress up. Harper asked for a pink cake with sprinkles & she was so excited for the big number 3 sparkler wand on top! I made these strawberry sandwich cookies, vanilla bean cupcakes & some raspberry sorbet punch. Lots of sweets, but nothing could be as sweet as the birthday girl!! She had the best day ever & probably changed her tutu ten times throughout the day.

princess third birthday
princess party decor

Along with all of Harper's fun tutus & dresses for the girls to play with, we also got some glitter glue pens & poms for them to make their own crowns. I just cut them out of a roll of kraft paper, it was so cute watching Harper use glitter pens for the first time, although I will definitely be picking sparkles out of my carpet for years to come.

We sang Happy Birthday, she made her wish & blew out her candle. And then immediately sneezed on her cake. So we all ate cupcakes instead. I love this picture & her sweet little smile!!

After birthday cake, Harper & her friend Veronica put on their Ana & Elsa Frozen dresses so they could have a little dance party. Maybe the cutest thing ever!

The weather was so beautiful, so we got to hang outside for the rest of the afternoon. Harper got a big girl bike for her birthday so she had lots of fun riding it & ringing the bell. Brandon was definitely the most proud dad in the world teaching her to ride it. We can't wait to continue her birthday celebration this week with our trip to Disney!! Happy almost third birthday Harper Eve!

Gold Glitter Top // Grey Tutu // White & Gold Bow Dress c/o Little Hip Squeaks // Flower Hair Pin // Purple Moccasins c/o Freshly Picked // Quartz Necklace // Booties
Jade Cake Stands // Pink Glasses // Crown Cookie Cutter // Wand Drink Stirrers