Birth Order, New Shoes and An End of Summer Track Meet.

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This post is sponsored by our friends at Zappos. 

Have you guys ever read books about birth order? It’s something that totally fascinates me. I believe there is real truth there. I am the first born in my family and obviously so is Rowan. I can tell already with her that she is sooooooooooo a first born. Rowan looooves to follow rules, is super bright, hardworking, and very motherly to her siblings. It’s fun to read about each child and what characteristics they might have based on the order they were born. One thing I’ve paid close attention to is what they say about middle children. Dear, sweet, sensitive Finley. I really try hard to not, what we like to call “middle child” her. We try to give her as much individual time and attention as we can and make sure she always gets her very own special things. I try to keep the hand-me-downs to a minimum. That’s why I was so excited to team up with Zappos and let her pick out these new Leepz sneakers by Stride Rite. I knew she would feel so special since these were our very first venture into light up shoes in our family. She has been walking, jumping and skipping around the house making them light up. It’s been so, so cute. I think (I mean I know) a part of her really likes hearing Rowan say she wishes she had a pair as well. I love being able to give her special moments that are all her own. Finley is also super excited because, as the middle child she’s so in looooooove with her older sister, and she can’t wait to take her new shoes to the track and be like Rowan. She told me she thinks she will be able to run just as fast as Rowan does. We found a high school in the area that has weekly family track meets. Everyone is invited to come race, no matter what age you are. Finley races, Rowan races, Kev races, it’s awesome!! The kids have been having such a great time going every week and with Finley’s new shoes you can bet she is going to run like the wind.

These are the perfect shoes to take her from the end of summer and keep her running straight into the back to school season. We don’t need tons of back to school gear this year because we are homeschooling the kids (I can imagine there will be lots of pajama days) but new shoes were definitely on the list. I am glad that we could easily (Zappos makes everything easy!) check that off the list. Whooohooo!

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A few from the past track meet…
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Through the Eyes of Rowan | Part 1

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Last year for Rowan’s birthday we decided to get her, her very own camera. She has carried that thing around with her everywhere ever since. I’ve been meaning to post the pictures she takes, but I’ve just never gotten around to it. We had a mess up with a memory card at one point, and lost a ton of her photos. Total bummer!!! However, here are some of her pictures from the last few months. I love looking through them! It’s like a little inside glimpse into what she thinks is interesting or beautiful. The camera we got her isn’t marketed as a kids camera but honesty, I can’t imagine an adult buying that camera for themselves (Sorry if anyone has it for themselves- hahaha!) I mean, there is a slideshow function with dancing bears?? And all the borders?? Anyway, what sold us on the camera for her, was that it was waterproof and shockproof. It’s had its fair share of drops, etc… and it’s still working perfect. It’s a great little digital camera for any kid (it also takes videos).

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One Big Happy Shopping Trip | Our Everyday Style

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It’s back to school season! I love this time of year. I’ve always, always felt like this is the real “new year” more so than January 1st. Anyone else? I love the buzz in the air, the school supplies, the change in season and of course… back to school shopping! We are starting a new homeschool journey this year with the girls. We couldn’t be more excited about it!! So even though the girls don’t necessarily have a actual need for back to school clothes- Everyday this summer I’ve looked at them like “how in the world are you guys this big? this grown up?” Crazy! Rowan put on a pair of her jeans the other day and I swear they barely even came to her shins. Everyone needs new clothes for fall. For me, ease is key to shopping for the kids, and that means shopping online. I love when shopping can be easy!! Anyone with small children knows that going to the mall can be a disaster waiting to happen.

We teamed up with Gymboree today to share their new easy to shop, back-to-school bundles. Each bundle was handpicked by a expert stylist, making it easy to find pieces that work well together and cover all the bases on your shopping list. I love seeing the girls styles emerge as they get older. I let them look around the bundles and pick out the outfit they wanted. Finley is always looking for poofy skirts or dresses. Anything pink or purple with glitter and sparkles. Rowan on the other hand is growing in to a much older style. She has ditched the pink and purple and seems to go for denim and blues/greens. So cute!

Make sure to head over to Gymboree and shop all these cute pieces!!!

(p.s. omgosh you guys! If these aren’t the cutest dang pictures of my kids to date!!)

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Rowan:
Plaid Dress
Ankle Boots
Denim Jacket

Finley:
Tutu Skirt
Kitty Tee
Sparkle Sneakers

Orion:
Roar Tee
Jeans

This post was sponsored by Gymboree. All opinions and pictures are my own.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Naan Pizza

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Do you guys want to know what one of my most favorite foods are? Pizza! I don’t mean plain cheese pizza though. I’m talking fancy pizza. You know, the kind of pizza with crazy delicious toppings that you don’t normally see on pizza. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Mmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about this pizza. I’ve shared pizza recipes before on the blog, but today we’re making pizza with roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions. Are you ready to have your mind blown? One of my other favorite things about homemade pizza is that it’s pretty quick. This recipe took no time with our oven’s no preheat feature- Ahh I love that feature. I hate waiting for the oven to preheat! Love how it makes cooking a quick dinner, that much quicker! Let’s get started shall we?

Ingredients:

3-4 cups butternut squash, cubed
2-3 cloves of garlic, skin removed, halved
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cinnamon and chili powder
1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey
1.5 Sweet onions, sliced thin
1-2 Tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of gorgonzola
1 cup kale leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 pieces of Naan bread

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Add cubed butternut squash and garlic to a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and a pinch of cinnamon and chili powder. Toss to coat.
3. Bake for 20-25 mins or until soft
4. While the veggies roast, caramelize the onions. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with butter. Add the onions and cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. When done turn off burner and set aside.
5. When veggies are done roasting, transfer to a blender or food processor and add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and maple syrup. Blend until smooth. Adding a touch of water to adjust if consistency is too thick. You want the texture to be spreadable but not too liquidy so that it won’t hold it’s shape.
6. With naan bread, spread the butternut squash sauce down as a base for the pizza.
7. Top with caramelized onions, kale, parmesan cheese, gorgonzola and pine nuts.
8. Turn oven up to 425 and bake pizzas on rack for about 10-15 mins, or until edges of naan are getting crispy and cheese is melted.
10. Slice, serve and eat up all the deliciousness!!

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This post was sponsored by Frigidaire Professional. All opinions and pictures are my own.

Our Everyday Style | 07.27.16

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First and foremost… HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAURA!! I LOVE YOU.

Ok, now on to a good ol’ outfit post. Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the post the other day. I love all you guys! and I love hearing from you all. I don’t plan on stopping blogging anytime soon. This has become our family journey and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Not sure what is up this week but I’ve been bitten by the blogging bug. 4 Posts this week so far?? Who am I?

I wore this outfit to church on Sunday and decided to take some outfit pictures when we got home. I wasn’t planning for the girls to be in the pictures but they love the camera (or should I say the remote) and wanted to jump in. I can’t say no to some pictures with my girls. I can’t help but look at Rowan lately and think she is just so grown up! I mean first grade soon?!?! That is crazy. She is so smart, artistic and funny. Love her!

I’ve been trying to only really invest in quality clothes lately for myself. I don’t buy a lot but I buy a few nice items every season. It ends up being the same expense as buying a ton of random things every time I go into old navy, target or forever 21. Most of that stuff doesn’t last and doesn’t fit me great. I am starting to see the value in doing that for the kids as well. The only clothes that are in the boxes downstairs to save or pass on to younger kids are the clothes I spent a little more money for. I search the sale section of Tea Collection, Hanna Andersson and Boden like whoa! Hahahahah. Love a good deal and love the quality of all their kids clothes.

p.s. loving a more straight leg cropped jean this summer!

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Details:

JEN:
Top: Madewell (They have a size L over here– also in black and white)
Bottoms: LOFT
Sandals: last season (similar)
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters

ROWAN:
Dress: Tea Collection (she also just got this one)

FINLEY:
Dress: Was Rowan’s from Gap (similar)

DIY Butcher Block Kitchen Island

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When we started the kitchen renovation, I searched high and low for a kitchen island that would work in the space. Our kitchen isn’t huge, so I didn’t want something that felt too heavy or took all the attention away from the rest of the kitchen. I had a hard time finding exactly what I wanted, so instead we decided to just build the island ourselves. Lowe’s sells precut butcher block tops which was the perfect start to our island! I loved using the iron pipes for the base. They matched the style of the shelf brackets and the simple design felt complementary to the rest of the kitchen. I think it was the perfect fit! Try it out yourself!! This idea could also be used for a dinning room table or coffee table.

Materials:

Precut Butcher Block 25”x48”
4 x 1”x30” Black Iron Pipe
6 x 1” Black Iron Tees
4 x 1”x8” Black Iron Pipe
4 x 1”x2” Black Iron Nipple
1 x 1’x36” Black Iron Pipe
8 x 1” Black Iron Floor Flange
2 x Rust-oleum Paint and Primer In One flat black spray paint
Valspar Flat Premium Finish Spray Paint
Watco Butcher Block Oil and Finish
Screws
Drill
Rag
Sanding block

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Directions:

1. Gather all your pipes and pipe fittings. Clear an area so you have room to work. Work on attaching all pipe fittings and pipes together to create the base. I started with the middle 36” bar and worked out from there. Although they’re standardized, precut pipe, there is always some variation in threading. It’s a pain but if you know that going in- it helps. Make sure you gently tighten pieces at first, remembering that you’ll need to loosen and tighten some of the connections to get matching lengths later on.

2. Add tee fittings on each end of the 36” pipe. Followed by the 4, 8” black pipe pieces in each end of the tee fittings. Set aside this “I” shaped assembled piece.

3. Work on creating the 4 legs. The order will go flange, nipple, tee, 30” pipe, flange. Repeat this 4 times to get the 4 legs of the island.

4. Attach each leg to the middle “I” piece to finish the base.

5. Tighten or loose connections to make all legs the same height. It takes a bit of finessing!

6. In an outside location, spray paint the entire base with the flat black spray paint. When completely covered and dry (may take 2-3 coats) spray a top coat of the premium finish spray.

7. Place butcher block on top of pipe base. Drill screws through holes in the flanges into the butcher block to secure together.

8. With a rag, follow directions on the Watco Butcher Block oil and seal and finish the butcher block. Will take 2 coats, with a light sand in between.

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Note: This makes the island 37” tall. I wanted a slightly taller island for ease of food prep but you will have to plan accordingly for stools. A counter height stool is a bit too low and a bar stool is too high. The answer is a stool with a swivel top! We wanted them anyways because of the kids, now everyone can adjust their stool height to be perfect for them. I like having mine low so I can cross my legs and I raise Finley’s way up so she can be close to the butcher block. Works out great! Our stools were from Urban Outfitters.

This post was sponsored by Frigidaire Professional and Lowe’s. All opinions and pictures are my own.

24 Hours in Philadelphia

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My Shirt | Jeans | Bandana | Sandals | Finley’s Sandals | Finley’s crop top | Rowan’s Sandals | Rowan’s camera | Orion’s romper (on sale).

Tuesday we headed down to Philly for a quick overnight trip with some friends. Kev is in love with all things hip hop and was super pumped to go see Propaganda finally. We meet our friends down there and all rented an airbnb for the night. It worked out so great, especially with all the kids! A small shared apartment with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and a nice living room was perfect for 5 kids and 4 adults. When traveling, airbnb is such an awesome option! We didn’t have tons of time in Philly (such a bummer!). We got there around 5pm on Tuesday night and left the next day around 10pm. On Tuesday night we got to meet up with Julie and Chris (yay!!!) for dinner. Love getting to catch up with my dear friend. Still so thankful that blogging brought us together so many years ago. The guys headed out from dinner to the show and we finished the night with ice cream and just hanging out at the apartment.

Untitled^^are we officially coffee drinkers? eeeeek!

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The next day we tried to pack as much as we could into one day. Whenever we travel to a new city, we love just walking all around and taking everything in. We started the day with breakfast at the Hungry Pigeon (thanks for the recommendation Julie). We headed over to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell after that. I love how old the city feels- it’s so cool to think of who else was once walking those streets. I love history! From there we walked over to Franklin Square and let the kids play on the playground and ride the carousel. Feeling hungry, we walked over to Reading Terminal for lunch and to stroll up and down all the aisles looking at all the food. Rowan thought it was pretty neat in there. Next up was city hall, the fountains at Dilworth Park and then we headed to the Magic Gardens. That was top on my list of what I wanted to check out while we were there. I love all the mosaics you come across as you walk around the city. So beautiful! The Magic Gardens were so cool!! We had so much fun exploring and playing a great scavenger hunt game. Totally recommend it. Right across the street is a playground called Seger Park. We let the kids play there a little while before we took the walk back to where the car was. We ended up just walking a big ol’ circle around the city. We stopped at a Whole Foods on the way and grabbed some dinner because it was really the easiest option at that point with the kids. They love eating at Whole Foods and were starting to get pretty tired and whiney. We were trying to just push through and get to the car. They were overall good sports but of course a full day of walking around the city is a lot of little ones.

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Once we got back to the car, there was no way that we could leave without heading over to the Art museum and reenacting Rocky. Rocky is top on Kev’s list of favorite movies. He actually just watched all of them again when Orion was born. He would take the end of the evening shift with him when he was just born and give me some time to take a shower or whatnot. The girls were totally in to running up the stairs and jumping up and down. Hahah so funny.

Thanks Philly for being so fun! We loved ya! Can’t wait to come back.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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