May 31, 2018

6 Great Books For 1-2 Year Olds


There are so many great books out there for little ones! 

However, only a handful have made their way back to into our laps and across our finger tips.

Two years ago, almost to the day, my then co-workers (all educators) threw Abby and I a surprise "book” shower. It was truly a very sweet surprise! And because of them, we now have a great collection of short story books. 

Even though I’m no longer working beside them, I can say that Educators know the best of the best when it comes to making a great collection of books. Many of the ones they gave me have quickly become our favorites around here. 

With Abby turning 2 right around the corner (literally this weekend!) I thought it would be equally fun and helpful to let you in on what Abby has been loving this past year while going through the developmental stages of 1 to 2 years. 

Short stories like, Goodnight Moon and The Fancy Nancy series as I mentioned earlier on the blog here, seem to hold Abby's attention the best. All of them have colorful illustration and my goodness, how her vocabulary for a 23.9 month old amazes me!

We have a deep love for books these days, though these are our favorite short stories. 


1 //  2  //  3 //  4  //  5  //  


What about you and your little one? What books are you really loving lately? Any of you suggest one or two in which I didn't make above? 


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May 23, 2018

Wooden Watch // Designed for Mom Life


Last week I shared how Abby and I spend our days during the week, which you can read here and or if you what to learn how to take betterphotos at home with your kids. Both are mentioned.

So, this week, I’m especially excited to talk about everyone’s favorite topic, the weekend! I found one simple change helped me make my favorite days more enjoyable and productive.


A Simple Change
You’ve most likely noticed me connecting with all of you in the morning on Friday and Saturday. That’s because in the afternoon and evening I’ve set a boundary for myself by setting my phone down for a few hours so that I can juggle all the hats I wear without getting burnt out as a mom, wife, boss, and friend, both online and off.

The people in my life are very important to me, including you. So, I’ve been making a vast effort to ensure that when I’m wearing my mom hat I’m focused on being a mom and when I’m on a date I’m focused on my date with Steve. Setting your phone down for a few hours may be challenging to do, though I’ve found it’s really helped me connect with everyone on a weekly basis. It’s a simple change, but it’s a powerful one: it’s helped me really slow down and be present for everything.

Still, we’ve got a busy schedule and I need to keep track of the time so that I fit in everyone and everything I love. Since making this change I’ve discovered a new-found appreciation for wearing a watch. Although JORD provided me with the wooden watch, I’ve found it to be the perfect fit for my personal goal and mom lifestyle.

If you’ve been reader for a while now, you know how much I love lists. So, I decided to list why I particularly love the JORD brand wooden watch and how it has helped with my personal goal of being fully present on one thing at a time.

Wooden Watch // Mom Life Favorite Features
// 1 // 
It’s Moveable  
This is my favorite design feature! Being a busy mom who is always on the go, I need something that’s flexible and comfortable. And I love how the band watch moves with my body—whether I’m holding Abby, her hand, pushing a grocery cart, cleaning, cooking, snapping photos or typing up blog posts, I forget it's even on.

And when I’m not wearing my mom hat, I can comfortably wear the watch while teaching my dance classes or when I’m out for a date night. I treasure our date nights, so on a Saturday evening, you can bet my iPhone is stowed away!


// 2 //
It’s Stylish 
I tend to look for three characteristics when I buy clothes or accessories: Is it classy? Is it timeless? And is it quality? I mentioned in my post on my favorite finds for a girl toddler that quality trumps quantity for us in our household. We want to hold onto something for as long as we can without breaking the bank. So, by checking off these three things with the JORD moveable wooden watch, it made the cut!

The style I'm wearing can be found here although I'm tempted to get another, becuase I also really love this one too!



// 3//
It Helps Me Focus 
Wearing a watch has really allowed me to easily disconnect and then plug into something else. We love our weekend afternoons and evenings, so by wearing one it has helped me completely swap my blogger hat in the morning for my mom/wife hat in the afternoon. I really love how this change has helped me be fully committed and present in both situations. Focusing on one thing at a time without distractions has been a major positive adjustment! 



// 4 // 
It’s Soft Wooden Texture
I love how incredibly soft the wood is up against my skin even though pictured here, I'm wearing it on top of my favorite sweater for this particular family outing. I'm truly impressed because I had no idea a company could make a watch so comfortable. 


If you too feel as if your struggling to wear all the hats in your mom life (as I was a few weeks ago) and want to try this idea out for yourself , JORD and I have teamed up to give one lucky mama a $100 gift code to use on the JORD site! Everyone will receive a consolation code worth 10% off once the contest is over however, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!!

To enter, go hereContest runs Wednesday May 23rd to Sunday May 27th. 


Good luck mamas! 

XO  - Steph



This post was in collaboration with JORD, although all opinions expressed are 100% mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our blog!

Luxury Wooden Watch

May 18, 2018

Home Photography Tip // Toddler Life




One of my favorite things about meeting other moms is seeing what they're up to and how they do everything. Especially if their kid is about the same age as Abby, or they have multiple children since it feels like I'm getting a glimpse into my own future. The two-kid juggle sounds really intimated to me right now, so I always love seeing how other moms do it! 

Which is why I'm excited about today's blog post, 100% of you were up for combing a motherhood perspective along with a photo challenge. The challenge I'm sharing is from a photography course I'm currently in, and loving.  

This week’s assignment was on light and specifically how to find that ideal lighting in your home. To do this, we were asked to pick up our camera every hour and take at least three photos of our kid(s). Then at the end of the day, we could look back on our photos and find the ideal time and place to photograph our little one's. 

I did my best to stay in, yet Abby and I always step away from the house at least once. We truly get out a lot so I felt like showing you our day just at home wouldn't be authentic for us. 

Even though our routines and schedule has changed a lot since Abby was born, the last 6 months have been steady with the exception of the last two weeks! If you're curious, I explained why here, in my last blog post.

So here's how we typically spend our day during the week.


5:30am 

I make a cup of coffee with cream and add a splash of whip cream to the top. Then I sit on the back patio and treasure each sip. After 10 minutes of bliss, I get to work on my photography course, emails, lesson plan (I teach a few classes a week), catch up on social media, DM's or blog. It's usually fairly dark at this time!


6:30am

Make myself breakfast, write a to do list, finish an email and shower. The light is still very dark in my house, though I start to see the sun come up.



7:30am

Pour milk into a clean sippy cup for Abby and get her out of the crib. Then we make our way  downstairs. I make her breakfast and then while she eats, I always unload the dish washer and clean up the kitchen. I do much as I can in the kitchen while she plays in her own play kitchen. 


8:30am

I finish getting ready for the day while Abby runs around, read books, play with toys, and rolls around on our bed up stair's. She loves to play peak-a-boo with the door between our master bath and bedroom and pretends to put on make-up or body lotion. All things I do.


9:30am

Abby plays for a while in the playroom or in her play kitchen we made for her. Then I get her dressed for the day, brush her hair and we're out the door by 9:30am.


10:30am

This is when we get out to do errands, and today we got lucky! We went to one of our favorite stores Nordstrom to purchased our wedding shoes. Abby's favorite accessory!  I snapped this one right before we left.


11:30am

Lunch time at home, or a good snack if our errands run long. On this day, got to be the "fun mom" by sharing a pretzel with her. I don't always get to be the "fun mom" though when I do, I document it. Here, we were able to sit under a sky light to get even light.


12:30pm

We have quiet play time to settle down from the morning's activities and usually spend this time reading books, doing puzzles, and playing with toys. 


1:30pm

Nap time! Abby's a good napper and is usually down for an hour and a half, if not two hours. I must be honest and say I work hard during this time although I do my best to get in at least 20 minutes of "me time."


2:30pm

The second hour of her nap I'm always up and about in the house, here I cleaned the hardwood floors and took this photo in the afternoon light. It was overall a really cloudy day and you can see how dark and cool it made our house feel.

3:30pm

Abby's up and it's snack time. I usually give her a piece of cheese, crackers, raisins, or berries right after she's up and we go play either inside the play room or outside in the back yard.



4:30pm

You can almost guarantee every day we're outside at this time, especially this week with all the nice weather we're having! The sun decided to come out finally, as did we. In general, I love this time of day as Abby's super energetic and I can get some fun photos of her bouncing around and smiling. 



5:30pm

Dinner time has been outside a lot lately too and we're loving it, or at least I am! Abby usually has our left-overs from the night before, or an assortment of things as I did here.  Once Abby's eating, I get started on making dinner. (Taking photos in the shade is my favorite strategy p.s.!)


6:30pm
Family time! Steve gets home at about 6pm and we eat dinner together. Lately it's been out on the back patio while we watch Abby run around in the yard and or play on the main floor.  I love the pockets of sun coming through our door during this time of day, because it's like we have our own personal little disco ball. 


7:30pm

Bed time routine. We start with a bubble bath, lotion, jammies, brush hair and teeth. Then we read a few books and place Abby in her crib, included all her "friends" which is her four favorite stuff animals: Flamingo, Peppa, Bunny and Doggie. The best kind of friends for an almost 2-year-old! 


8:30pm

Steve and I might do a half hour of personal time (him emails) and me (emails) though we always come back to one another at 9pm to talk and watch T.V.  Then we’re off to bed! I didn't take a photo of this as I forgot, though we usually sit across one another on the dinning room table to keep each other company. 


Photo Challenge





Even though I only displayed one photo at each hour, I took multiply angles (as show above) and opened up all the windows to bring in as much natural light into the house as possible. Generally, some of the photos I put up today wouldn't of normal been placed here on the blog, though thats the point of the challenge! Exploring trial and error so you'll find what works best for you and your home. If this sounds like something you'd like to try, do it! I learned a lot about the lighting in my home and was surprised at what I got.

Particularly, taking photos in the morning or late afternoon worked best in my house.  Even on a cloudy day the sunlight on Abby's face is much softer during these times.. 

What about you, where and when is the best lighting in your house to take photos? Do you have any tips or tricks on how to create bright and clear photo's while at home? 

If you decided to do this photo challenge tag me on what you capture over in instagram or email me. I'd love to see what you're creating and what you learned. 

Until next week! 

- XO, Stephanie




If you liked this post, you may also like the following:

5 Tips For Taking Photo's In The Sun
or
What I've learned About Toddlerhood
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