getting our hands dirty (and the carpet too!)…

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We started our new homeschool journey last week. What a whirlwind! It’s something that’s so very near and dear to my heart though. We homeschool for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that I want the girls to take charge of their education. I want to raise passionate, life long learners. For us though, that requires them to help out. A lot. From the time they wake up, to the time they go to bed, they are a part of our day and our daily tasks. Helping making meals, cleaning, laundry, and well, anything that sparks their interest. We also do a lot of art projects and handicrafts where I try not to step in to help. I have a tendency to help and do the next step because it might “make a mess”. We quite literally get our hands dirty with education these days. It means saying yes a lot more than maybe I would like, in an effort to help them learn and experience more. If they are interested in something, then we are going to explore it!

For someone who likes an orderly, clean house, it’s been a lesson in letting go. To see the greater purpose in all the little spills and messes. It will pay off in the long run right? hahaah. That’s what I keep telling myself. Do the work now and soon you will have kids who know how to care and clean up after themselves. Who love to try new things, and know the mess is worth it, but also know how to tidy it up. You know what makes it easier though? Having a good rug and carpet cleaner! Our school room rugs are two of my most favorite rugs in the house. They’re what I call my “thrifting prize possessions”. I found both at the Habitat Restore for a steal and well, I love them a little more than I should. I may have shed a tear (I kid, I kid) when Finley spilt yellow curry powder all over the rug this morning as she was counting spices and learning to screw each of the caps on (working on our fine motor skills over here for PreK). She then worked hard at “cleaning” it up. Which of course was great and I am glad she took ownership over her spill. However, we all know what a spill looks like after a 3.5 yrs old cleans it up. It was a big yellow circle smeared all over the carpet. doh!

Enter STAINMASTER Carpet Care. We teamed up with the brand to try their line of carpet care products, which are specifically designed to treat stain-resistant, nylon, and polyester carpets and rugs. My favorite part is that they are also designed to remove tough stains with out leaving a sticky residue. That sticky residue is the worst! Stainmaster Carpet Care leaves behind an invisible shield of protection to protect against future messes. It’s made it so much easier for this homeschooling Mama be open to allllllllll the new learning experiences in our day to day. Now when Finley wants to help make her own lunch with fresh berries and a smoothie, am all like “Sure! You can do it! You can even have a picnic out in the school room on my favorite rug!”.

Cheers to the freedom of not caring about the messes!

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This post was sponsored by STAINMASTER Carpet Care. Be sure to check out their wide variety of products. Thanks!

Visiting Vancouver

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Wow! I just came on to post some pictures and realized, whoops! it’s been a whole month since i’ve been on here. How does that happen. I know we’re all like “time goes by so fast” but man! time goes by so fast. Hahahaha doh!

Anyway, the last week of August Orion and I hopped a plane and headed out to Vancouver to visit my sister. She’s lived out there for awhile now, but I’ve never had the chance to visit. What a beautiful place! Like, it blew me away!! My sister lives about an hour north of the city, surrounded by beautiful mountains. It’s not called Sea to Sky Country for nothing. I was there a week but I know I only barely scratched the surface of the area. We drove up to Joffre Lakes Provincial park one day to hike, spent time in Vancouver and Whistler, hiked around Garibaldi Provincial Park, enjoyed an evening at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola and just spent time catching up. Miss being near to my sister!

It was such a fun trip. I wish everyone was there with me to experience it. I know Kev and the kids would have loved it. I sure could have used the help carrying the babe up all the those mountains. Ha!

Thanks for being such a good host and tour guide Carrie. Love ya!

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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)

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!

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