Monday, October 9, 2017

What To Do With All Those Apples You Picked + Halloween T's Your Kids Can Wear All Month Long!

When my first son was born I went crazy buying up all of the adorable holiday-themed kids clothes, as if 10 different shirts for a single holiday was necessary. I quickly learned what a waste of money that was as I refused to put my child in the clothes on any day of the month other than the ones surrounding the actual holiday.

With my second and third sons, not only did I have a fantastic selection of hand-me-downs to choose from but also, I wised up. I began only investing in holiday-wear that wasn't overtly holiday-ish and could be worn all month long.

That's one of the reasons I love Mini Boden's spirited line of kid's wear this Halloween season. The t-shirts are uniquely festive without being acutely Halloween-y, meaning everything isn't shockingly orange and black. This makes it ultra easy to incorporate these tees into your kid's wardrobe all month long, not just around the holiday! 

We recently took the boys apple picking and they had a blast running through the apple orchards with ease, unimpeded by stiff, starchy clothing. Mini Boden makes it easy to get into the spooky Halloween spirit with their glow-in-the-dark T-shirts for little boys, not to mention that creeping's never been more comfortable when everything is 100% cotton. The bright bold colors and ability to mix-and-match just about all of their pieces makes this line of clothes one of our favorites. 




In case you thought it was actually easy taking pictures with my mini man crew, take a look at Maclane's face in the below photo. His face is essentially how I felt trying to get the boys to all stand in a straight line and smile for "just one nice picture with mommy." 

In the next photo, Collins is one "don't make me count to five" away from turning into a rag doll. Thankfully, we were all able to pull it together for the unicorn of photos, one with everyone looking and smiling, less like little serial killers and more like sweet little boys, right at the camera. 

So, what is one to do with approximately 47lbs. of apples picked fresh from the farm? Aside from feeding one to every child at just about every meal, we decided to whip up one of our favorite after-dinner treats, mini apple crisps with whipping cream! While half of this recipe comes straight from a box, don't let it's corner-cutting fool you! 

What this dessert lacks in preparation, it makes up for in Fall-y deliciousness. The recipe can be found on the back of the box and it's as easy as 1-2-3! All you need is the topping mix, 4 medium-sized apples and 5 tablespoons of butter.

Many thanks to Boden for providing us with these pieces to fancy 
up our festive Halloween wardrobe! No additional compensation was received 
for this post, all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

A few of our friends are sharing some frightfully good fun on their blogs along with more Mini Boden Halloween styles. The Chirping Moms have Spooky Ghosts made from paper plates and toilet paper plus easy costume ideas. 

Head to The Southern Mama Guide for Non Candy Treat Bags for Preschoolers. 

You must see how The Love Designed Life has created Goldilocks and the Three Bears costumes. 

For more cute costumes, see what Hello Baby Brown created. 

If you loved the Mini Boden Halloween pajamas, be sure to check out Momfessionals Sweet and Spooky Halloween book suggestions to read at bedtime this Halloween season. 

Trick or treat!

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Moms Do Fall Fashion :: The (Affordable) Duster Cardigan

You may remember last year's Moms Do Fall Fashion collaboration where I teamed up with several fun and fashionable mamas to share how I styled one of my favorite Fall wardrobe staples, the plaid shirt. While you can't get much more basic than a puffer vest and plaid flannel shirt, versatility and comfort win out over any worry of blending into the crowd.

It was such a popular collaboration that I'm back this year sharing my love for one of my newest and most recent additions to my Fall closet, the duster cardigan! Nothing screams "Fall!" to me more than layering up with a cozy cardigan sweater and what better way to give my old, traditional cardigans a break than trying out the duster length! 

When choosing a duster cardigan, it's a good idea to stick with a neutral color over any desire for a fun print or pattern. Variations of gray, cream and blush are great starter colors and will wear well with a variety of color palettes and prints. The added length of a duster cardigan is supposed to give a much more elongated appearance so it's best worn over pieces that aren't too bulky and with a shoe or boot with a slight heel.

I love that this cardigan serves as a great transition piece during the weeks when the weather here in Maryland vacillates between straggly sweltering summer temperatures and the cooler, crisp mornings of the -ber months. I picked this particular duster up from Nordstrom rack for under $35 and I can't wait to style it differently in the coming months! It does run a bit big so make sure and size down if necessary. For reference, I'm 5'7" and wearing a size small.  

See? My boys don't always cooperate for pictures! Bribery is always involved.
I'm still learning how to wear this look and I think going forward I'll be wearing this cardigan with a skinnier, more form-fitting pant leg so as not to create the overwhelming, bulky look that I notice in some of these pictures. I love, love, love the black, raw hem destroyed FRAME denim I'm wearing in this outfit but decidedly, they may not be the best silhouette for this length sweater. 

As I mentioned earlier, with a duster cardigan you're trying to achieve a more dazzling coat-igan, less bathrobe-in-the-wild appearance and admittedly, I'm still working on that! 

And while I ditched the duster an hour into our apple picking excursion last weekend, I just love this picture of me and my mini man crew and had to share it here:  

So, what do you think of the duster cardi trend? Tried it? Hate it? I’d love to see how you're working the lengthened sweater look in every day living! Leave a link to your photo in the comments here or over on my Facebook page! 

Lastly, I’ve also teamed up with the girls of Take Time for Style, as part of their Moms Do Fall Fashion collaboration to give away a $150 Nordstrom Gift Card. Head on over to their site for more fall fashion ideas & enter to win!

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Monday, October 2, 2017

It’s Fall Ya’ll: Baking Homemade Apple Hand Pies and Brown Sugar Peach Cobbler

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Luck’s.

I almost can’t believe that it’s the beginning of Fall. Fall has always been my favorite season. There’s something magical about the crispness of the air, the crunchiness of the leaves underfoot and the slowness with which summer seems to melt away. From my cozy Fall wardrobe to bundling up on the front porch beneath a blanket, sipping hot apple cider, watching the leaves turn, Fall feels like a breath of fresh air after a sweltering, sweaty summer.

Here in Maryland Mother Nature hasn’t quite gotten the memo yet. With temperatures hanging tough in the high 80’s, there isn’t much Fall to be felt just yet. Until the temperature dips and the colors start to fade, however, I plan to find other ways to usher in the warmth heady aromas of my favorite season.

When I think about filling my house with Fall-y goodness, my mind immediately turns to cobblers, crisps and pies. Be it apple, peach or pumpkin, rarely can you go wrong and with new neighbors moving in right next door as I write this, I figure what better time to head to the kitchen and bake up a warm, Fall-inspired welcome.

What I appreciate most about the following two recipes is that they revolve around canned fruit, an easy and convenient way to make delicious-tasting meals and desserts. Canned fruit has the added benefit of ease of prep without having to spend heaps of time peeling and slicing. With 3 little boys around, I’ll cut as many corners as I can if it means faster food without sacrificing taste! These Fried Apples and Peaches from Luck’s are a pantry staple in our home and luckily, neither of these recipes are labor-intensive! With culinary roots in the South, Luck’s brings that signature southern taste to every dish it meets.

Welcoming new neighbors with the warm comfort of these Homemade Spiced Apple Hand Pies is one of the warmest welcomes you could ever bless someone with. With canned biscuit dough as their shell, these hand pies are super easy to make from start to finish. For a special Southern twist, sub Luck’s Peaches in with an extra pinch of cinnamon sugar for Southern Peach Hand Pies instead of the apples.

This Brown Sugar Peach Cobbler is amazing for a myriad of reasons, number one being that it can pull double duty not only as a dessert but also the perfect companion to a warm cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Who wouldn’t want to start their day with this?

As you can see, Fall is here and I couldn’t be happier. While I may have to wait a bit before it starts to feel like Fall outside, that won’t stop me from getting cozy and baking up a Fall-inspired storm inside. After all, isn’t desserts the point of Fall anyway?
To help you get a jump start on your Fall baking, check out this coupon for Luck’s products, as featured here in this post.
Pardon me, but I’ve got some sweet neighbors to welcome to the cul de sac before these baked goods get cold! Enjoy and be sure to pin these recipes for later!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Luck’s.
All thoughts and opinions expressed above are honest and my own.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

How to Mix High End and Low End Home Decor And Make It Work

Budgets are a tricky thing. On one hand, it's super easy to open up an excel spreadsheet, jot some numbers down and come up with a sum that seems reasonable for the task at hand be it grocery shopping, home renovations or managing a household. On the other, however, sometimes making those numbers into tangible things can seem overwhelming and impossible. 

Take for instance home decor. 

As you know we moved into our new home a little over 9 months ago. While on paper my budget for interior decorating appeared reasonable, once I set about trying to find specific pieces for each room that I loved within that budget I quickly realized that this process was going to take much longer than I anticipated. 

Don't be fooled, friends. Home decor bloggers and HGTV make home decorating look easy and like something that happens perfectly overnight, but the reality is that that is not normal AT ALL. If you have all the money in the world to decorate exactly how you wish? By all means, go on and out and spend that money but if you're like the rest of us, sit back, relax and get ready for long and slow ride.

During one of the very first conversations I had with an interior designer friend, she mentioned that on average the amount of money people spend to decorate a dining room is around $11,000. Friend, this is just one room we're talking about. Crazy, right? But look at how this breaks down: That budget includes a table, 6 chairs, a sideboard, chandelier, rug and miscellaneous wall decor. Of course, the size of your space plays a huge roll in the size and amount of furniture needed to furnish it which she reminded me was important to keep in mind.

Naturally I laughed and said something along the lines of, "what's above average?" That's when my jaw hit the floor. She said that those wanting a more high end luxury spin on their decor often spend upwards of $45,000 on their dining room furnishings. Holy smokes.

Right then and there I knew I had to shop smart and with patience. If I've learned anything from decorating a home it's that it's an incredibly slow process, one that's as enjoyable as it is frustrating. But by finding the right pieces, filling your home with items you absolutely love, you're decorating in a way that is both meaningful and authentic to you. In a way that creates a space welcoming, inviting and inspiring.

After 9 months of living here, I can say that of all the rooms in my home, roughly 2 of them are about 85% complete. The rest? Well, they're a work in progress, a process I'm learning to love and appreciate. 

Here are a few tips I've learned along the way on how to mix high end and low end home decor and make it work. 

Do not be afraid to invest in what will become the focal point of your room. Typically this piece of furniture will be the largest in the space. While you may be drawn to what's currently on trend, my suggestion is that you aim for something that is more timeless, something that will grow with you but is both stylish and functional. 

For our morning room, we chose this concrete top dining table from Gardiner Wolf Furniture. Not only did I fall in love with the clean lines and craftsmanship of this table but I could immediately picture my family gathered around it for years to come which made it's heftier price tag perfectly acceptable in my book.

This is where mixing high end and low end items comes into play. Sometimes spending more money on your wall decor and room accessories can elevate the space enough to make your budget furniture finds appear more luxury. When I chose the table and chairs for our morning room, yes, it would've been much easier to choose a set that was already grouped together however deep down, I knew that wasn't my style. 

In an attempt to stay authentic to my tastes, ultimately I ended up choosing pieces from 3 different vendors at varying price points to bring my vision to fruition. Our x-back side chairs are basic in both design and price but you'd never guess just by looking at them that they cost little more than $100!

Mixing materials, furnishings and finishes can often make a room appear more luxurious than it really is. This is why I chose to decorate with natural elements  in our morning room. By choosing pieces that incorporated concrete, wood, upholstery and greenery, I was able to create a layered look without everything being overly matchy-matchy. I absolutely love my demi-wing upholstered side chairs from Magnolia Home and at a middle of the road price point, they bring the perfect touch of casual elegance to this space. 

You can do this! Have patience, choose authentically and meaningfully. Welcome pieces into your home that speak to you. Got it. But where do you start when trying to find the perfect piece for your space? 

Shop local! 

Gardiner Wolf Furniture is a local retailer with brick and mortar locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. When shopping for furniture I think it's so important to get your hands on the pieces you'll be bringing into your home. These brick and mortar locations allow you to do just that and with friendly, helpful sales people and an incredibly knowledgeable design team, I can't imagine shopping for furnishings anywhere else.  

For a discount on your next online or in-store purchase, my friends at Gardiner Wolf have to put together this amazing promotion for all I Love You More Than Carrots readers! 

Happy shopping!

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