Thursday, November 15, 2018

2018 Girls Holiday Gift Guide

HOW are we already talking about Christmas, friends?!  This year whizzed by and we're already nearing the most magical time of year!  I love looking around and planning what I'm going to get my kiddos.  Here are the things I'm loving for my own girls and a few things that we already have and love.  I hope you find something fun for your little lady here!

From left to right, top to bottom.

Legos in case.  My girls could play with these legos forever.  I love that these ones come in a case!  We also have these  lego baseplates that the girls love building on.

Bicycle with basket and baby carrier.  Sloan wants a bike for Christmas so she's getting  this bicycle in pink.  We are actually going to get the smaller size in  purple for Phayre.  The price is awesome and I know they'll freak out over the little baby carriers in the back!

Roller Skates.  My mom already got Sloan these roller skates and they might just be the cutest things I've ever seen.  She also got her  these knee and elbow pads.  I keep seeing the price creep up on the  roller skates so if you're eyeing them, grab them fast!

Unicorn helmet.  This helmet comes in a few different colors!

Caboodle.  My girls need a place to keep all of their jewelry and lip gloss so I think these will be perfect.  I plan on putting some new  Poppy Lane and Co bracelets in them for Christmas (you can always save 15% on Poppy Lane and Co bracelets with code HELLOBABYBROWN15).

Microphone.  If you only buy one thing on this gift guide, buy this  microphone!!!  All three of my kids are obsessed with it (yes, even Briar loves singing into it)!

LOL Surprise Dolls.  No secret that my girls love LOL Dolls!!  I like the  Bling series because they come with a little loop on them so you can hang them like an ornament on the Christmas tree.  You can only order three at a time so I made two separate orders and got each of my girls three.

Knitted rainbow pillow.  We've had this pillow for awhile and my girls constantly play with it when they're playing make believe.  Plus is looks super cute on their beds!

Rainbow purse.  I ordered this for Sloan, but it's pretty small so I'm going to give it to Phayre instead.

Make a unicorn face stickers.  These are so cute, I ordered them for both of my girls.

Princess puzzle in purse case.  Sloan is going to love this puzzle and I love that it comes in a cute case.  We have several Crocodile Creek puzzles and love them.

Unicorn glitter color pencils.  I always get the girls art supplies for Christmas and I know they'll really love these because they have glitter.

Sparkly cat ear headphones.  Sloan has these already and Phayre is getting some for Christmas.

Knitted rainbow beanie with pom.  I had to get these for the girls, perfect to throw in their stockings and I know they'll wear them all winter long.

Dollhouse.  This is the dollhouse that we have and I cannot recommend it enough.  My girls play with it every single day.  There is also a  modern farmhouse one available that's super cute!

Unicorn snow tube.  CANNOT wait to use this in the snow this winter!!!

Books and workbooks.  I included a few of our favorites in the links below!

If you're looking for more gifts, I found a few things for my girls at Maisonette!  I love this  doll stroller and this  kitty doll!  You can save 15% with code HELLOBABYBROWN15.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Follow The Yellow Brick Road with JCPenney

This post is sponsored by  JCPenney.  Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog and my family!  All photos taken by the amazing and talented  Lindsey Wiatt Photography.

I loved holidays before I had kids, but my love for holidays has reached an all time high in the last few years.  My girls love dressing up so Halloween is very well loved in this house!  Last year we dressed up as a circus family for Halloween and I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out what we should be this year.  After a few google searches, I found Wizard of Oz costumes for the entire family at JCPenney!

JCPenney's Halloween shop has thousands of costumes.  From Disney princesses to bunny rabbits to cowboys, you name it-JCPenney has it.  I love that they carry adult costumes down to infant costumes.  A one stop shop is welcomed by every busy mom, right?

I chose Wizard of Oz because it was a fun and easy family costume idea, but mostly because Sloan is very much into witches right now and loved the Wicked Witch of the West costume.  She was allll about that black lipstick too :).  Phayre loved being Dorothy, her cute little braids were so perfect!  Briar's lion costume was seriously one of the cutest things I've ever seen.  Even if you aren't doing a Wizard of Oz theme, please dress your baby up as a big fuzzy lion!  And Eric, oh my sweet sweet husband.  Dressing up as the tin man was definitely not his first choice, but he'd do just about anything to make our girls smile.  So he's basically a saint and wins dad of the year award!  I love you E  :).

Check out the JCPenney Halloween shop for tons more costumes!

Here are a few photos in these darling costumes.  I will link all of the items below!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Fun & Easy Halloween Costumes With Mini Boden

October is kind of amazing, right?  Ok, it's totally amazing.  Leaves falling, crisp air, and Halloween goodness all month long!  No one loves Halloween quite like my Phayre Bear, she talks about it all year long.  So when it's actually the appropriate time to celebrate, we go all out!

My girls LOVE dressing up (Briar is just along for the ride :)).  Costumes can be really expensive though, so I try to be creative when finding ways for them to dress up this month.  Instead of buying several costumes that cost an arm and a leg, I like to make costumes out of items that the kids can wear again and again!

We have a harvest party to go to next week and the kids are dressing up as a lumberjack, a unicorn, and a clown!  These were the easiest "costumes" ever thanks to Mini Boden!

The best part about these costumes is that my kiddos can wear all of these items ALL season long.  And because Mini Boden's quality is top notch, Sloan will be able to pass her entire outfit down to P!  We have a couple Mini Boden sweaters that the girls have been wearing for more than three years (it's no secret that they're one of my favorite brands ever)!  To make their outfits seem more like costumes, I just added a few items that we had in our dress up bin: a unicorn horn, a clown nose, and a party hat.  I actually made Briar an ax out of cardboard, but forgot it at home (so just imagine a little ax in his tiny lumberjack hand ok :)).

I am so excited to celebrate this holiday season with my little people, they really do make holidays so fun and magical!

I am declaring that every little boy NEEDS these  corduroy overalls because they are just SO GOOD!!

Phayre loves this  dot dress so much that she chose to wear it for picture day at school.  It looked so darling paired with  this sweater

Sloan is obsessed with unicorns and regularly walks around the house with a horn on her head.  I absolutely love this  unicorn dress.  It's fun and girly and so well made!  Sloan is also wearing our favorite  school shoes, they go with everything!

A few of our friends are sharing some frightfully good fun on their blogs along with more Mini Boden Halloween styles!

 Together we have great DIY Halloween costumes: The Chirping Moms have a DIY Group Peter Pan Costume, Hello Baby Brown has an adorable DIY lumberjack, clown and unicorn and A Little J & K has the coolest DIY wind up doll costume. Looking for fun Halloween crafts and treats? We have those too! The Chirping Moms are sharing 3 easy Halloween paper plate masks, Positively Pearson made Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats, Mommamosa made some Rice KREEPY Treats. Trick or treat!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Six Tips For Better Family Photos

Photos by the very talented  Lindsey Wiatt Photography

Christmas card season is right around the corner!!  If you're like me, you've been thinking about (and maybe dreading) family photos.  Three kids in, we've had our fair share of family photo sessions.  Over the years I've come up with a few tips and tricks for smooth(er) family photos, so I thought I'd share!  I hope you find something here helpful, let me know if you have any other questions in a comment below :).

Tip #1: Coordinate (but don't match) outfits
My best advice when planning family outfits is to choose your own outfit first.  We are typically hardest on ourselves so find something that you feel good in and plan everyone else's outfits around that.  If you're self conscious about your arms, wear long sleeves or a little sweater.  If you're postpartum or self conscious about your weight, don't wear a super loud print or color.  Bottom line, find something that you feel good in and then choose your family members outfits around that!

Once you've chosen your outfit, find outfits for your spouse and children that coordinate with (but don't match) your outfit.  I like to pick 2-3 coordinating colors and at least one print (but not more than two prints).  Make sure the colors you choose look nice together and don't include any clashing prints.  For example, in our most recent family photos I chose navy blue, hunter green, and tan.  Sloan wore a floral dress and Briar wore a gingham shirt, but the rest of our clothing was solid colors.

Retailers who make clothing for the whole family, often have outfits that will coordinate (think Gap and Old Navy).  Once I have everyones outfits, I always lay everything on my bed so that I can see it all together.  This has saved me when things look a lot better together in my head than they do in real life.

And one last thing about outfits!  Don't forget about everyones shoes!!  Make sure all of your shoes coordinate with your outfits and that they're clean.  I promise if you forget, you won't be able to stop staring at your sons dirty tennis shoes when you get your family photos back!

Tip #2: Book the best time for your family
Timing can make or break your families photo session.  Your children should always be rested and fed before taking photos.  Don't plan a session in the middle of nap time or two hours past their bedtime.  And always feed them before you leave for photos!  Even if it isn't their normal meal time, feed them something!  Full tummies typically make for happier babies :).

Tip #3: Keep it comfortable
Make sure everyone (especially your children) are comfortable during photos.  You want your photographer to catch everyone being themselves, so you want them to feel as comfortable as possible.  If your child has a favorite lovey or blanket that they just can't part with for photos, let them keep it!  You'll look back on those photos and love how sweet your little one is with their special item.

Tip #4: Don't be above bribery
During photos, Eric always keeps mini marshmallows in his pocket.  We can pop them in the girls mouths and they don't make a mess or get on their clothing!

Tip #5: Just roll with it
This is actually a tip from my friend Lindsey of Lindsey Wiatt Photography and it's a good one!  Lindsey says to just roll with it!  You might find an amazing image or pose on Pinterest, but try to be in the moment and don't get hung up on other peoples images!  Your family, location, photographer, and lighting will be different so a lot of that will be out of your control anyways.

When you're taking photos with your children, remember to roll with it.  Chances are, they're going to be in a new environment and might not be their best selves.  Do your best to smile, hold their hand, and give them lots of kisses and tickles.  Even if it isn't perfectly posed, moments caught between you and your family will always be cherished!  Phayre is always craaaaazy when we take family photos (hashtag middle child :)).  She goes limp, refuses to stand, or starts running away from us.  When I don't get frustrated and just roll with it, we usually end up getting some really cute candid shots!

Tip #6: Pick the right photographer for your family
Before you hire a photographer, look at their website and social media channels.  Get a good feeling for their style and make sure that it aligns with your style.  If you're hoping for candid lifestyle photos, make sure that is what your photographer typically does.  If you're taking photos with your children, make sure the photographer usually works with families and children.  If they have experience working with children, they'll be more comfortable and that will most likely make your children more comfortable!

I so hope that these tips have been helpful!!  Let me know if you have any other questions!

My dress  (it is actually a maternity gown, but fit me perfectly! It comes in a ton of colors and is super flattering!)  /  Eric's shirt  (color is navy) /  Eric's pants  (color is palomino brown) /  Sloan's dress  /  Phayre's dress  /  Girl's bows c/o Zozu Baby  /  Briar's shirt  /  Briar's pants

Thursday, September 6, 2018

First Day of Kindergarten & Preschool

My big girls are both in school now!!!  I swear they were both babies just weeks ago, so it's very confusing dropping them off for big girl school!  Sloan had a half day of kindergarten and is already begging to go back. She goes back tomorrow for a few hours and then starts full time on Monday.  I cannot believe my biggest girl will be in school five full days a week, but I am so thankful she loves school so much and is so excited to go!  Phayre Bear had her preschool meet and greet yesterday and loved it.  She begged us to leave and let her stay, just like I had predicted.  She happily pranced right into her class this morning, gave me the biggest hug, and then got right to playing.  I am so proud of my girls (but goodness do I miss them when they're away)!!

Not only have the girls both started school, but they've also started all of their activities this week too!  It's been such a busy week with lots of changes and transitions. I'm doing my best to get us on a new schedule and figure out which routines work for us, but I'll be totally honest and admit its been super overwhelming.  I'm not the best with change and all of these changes have made for an emotional week!  I know in a few weeks this will feel like our new normal though and I'm really looking forward to that.  Bless you Briar for going with the flow and tagging along on all of your sisters adventures!!

Sloan loves school and I love how eager she is to make new friends and learn!  Phayre is just happy to finally be in school like her big sister and can't stop talking about how many baby dolls and doll strollers her preschool has :).  I asked each of the girls a few questions before their first days and I loved their responses so much!

What grade are you going into? Kindergarten!!!
How old are you? Five!
What are you excited to do at school? Eat lunch in the cafeteria and go to recess with my friends.
What's something your teacher should know about you? I'm really good at art and writing letters.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A cheerleader and a kids lead at church, with a walkie talkie.  
What's your favorite color? Dark pink and neon pink.
What's your favorite food? S'mores.
What do you love mostest? Our baby. (Briar)
Will you miss mama? Yesssss, but I'm coming back home mama!!

What grade are you going into? pweeeeschool!
How old are you? sreeee (three)
What are you excited to do at school? Play with baby dolls!
What's something your teacher should know about you? I'm Phayre Bear.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A mommy, like you mama.
What's your favorite color? Purple!
What's your favorite food? Chicken!
What do you love mostest? Baby dolls!
Will you miss mama? Yes mama. (and hugged me :))

Go get em my sweet girls!  Mama loves you!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

ONE PRICKLY PAIR // A Twin Baby Shower

Last weekend I got to help host a shower for my dear friend Juliann and her twin girls due this November.  Juls actually has two daughters (5 and 3) so she's about to have her own little girl gang!  There were six of us that made this shower come to life and I was so happy with how everything came together.  We went with a "One Prickly Pair" theme, which might be the cutest twin shower theme of all time!

I was in charge of the dessert table and making Spanish rice, two things I love to make.  I called on two of my party shop go-to's, Modern Birch Co. and Pearl and Jane for decor and was so happy with how it turned out.  All of the banners are from Pearl and Jane and the custom wood cake toppers are from Modern Birch Co.  I used the same pallets and table from the kids recent Camp Brown birthday party, but added a fun colorful blanket (that I bought in Mexico probably ten years ago-love when old things that I've hung onto come in handy!).  I made another balloon garland (they're SO easy) using this balloon strip.

Isn't Juliann glowing!!! She looked so beautiful! 

Juliann's mother in law, Jodie, made the most uhmazing prickly pear jalapeño margaritas!!

Jojo's Prickly Pear Jalapeño Margs
two cups clear tequila
one cup lime juice
one cup  prickly pear mix
sliced jalapeños to taste

Put everything in a pitcher and mix well.  Serve over ice with lime wedges!

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