Our Christmas Card

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Hey guys! Did you send out Christmas cards this year? It’s one of my most favorite things about the season! I love seeing our wall fill up with family and friends. We teamed up with Minted again this year for our Christmas cards. They’re hands down my favorite! I love the selection and quality. Did you know there is still time to order- you could get them out and delivered right on/after Christmas. I say the whole month is fair game and then there’s always a New Years card (which we did last year!) and that gives you all of January in my opinion. I love New Years cards. It’s like a little bonus after you think you’ve gotten all the cards in the mail. Boom! Another card shows up. We went with a booklette again this year because so many of our friends and family live far away. It’s a cute way to share a bit more information about the year. We also used it as a birth announcement for Orion. I was so happy with how they came out!



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Clean Eats | Lentil Soup

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It’s soup season!! Yippee. Well, I don’t like the cold but I do love soup. I am always on the look out for a good soup recipe. After Orion was born, the lovely ladies from our church blessed us with a crazy awesome meal train. We had meals for weeks. Such a HUGE, HUGE blessing! One of those meals was this lentil soup. I loved it so much I asked for the recipe. I have since made it twice and oh man! it’s good. I thought I would share it here with you guys too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut oil), plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cup of lentils (we love these Organic Truroots Sprouted Lentil Trio
11 cups organic veggie broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
2/3 cup organic 100% whole wheat pasta (spirals work best I think)
1 cup shredded organic Parmesan (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender.
3. Add the whole can of tomatoes (including juices). Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes.
4. Add the lentils, broth and thyme sprigs. Stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are just about tender, about 30 minutes.
5. Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still a bit firm (around 8 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan if you wish and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!!

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Recipe adapted from the Food Network

Creating a Giving Spirit in Little Ones.

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Christmas can be a tough time of year for little kids. They are bombarded with toy commercials and questions about what THEY want for Christmas. It very, very quickly becomes focused on getting presents. I really hate that about Christmas. I want Christmas in our house to always be focused first and foremost on the birth of Jesus and second to be filled with a giving spirit. An idea that is maybe embraced more at Christmas but hopefully an idea that last all year long. I want my kids to care for others deeply. To find needs that they can help meet, to be selfless and kind and to show the love of Christ to all that they come in contact with. Have you ever noticed how big kids hearts are? Did you see that video going around about the kids getting ice cream with their dollar or giving it to a homeless man? Kids are awesome!! They are natural givers (haha for the most part- we all have experienced melt downs over sharing toys). I really hope to foster that in my kids and help it grow over the years. Making it something that lasts.

I’ve been a big fan of Advent calendars over the years, but after feeling like we could be doing something more then just getting a treat everyday, I decided to ditch it all together this year. I wanted us as a family to be more intentional about how we could be giving and serving others this month. Rowan has been doing extra chores around the house to raise money for a special offering at church on Christmas Eve for Love 146, she is going caroling at a retirement home this week, we’ve collected hats, gloves and coats for a coat drive, gathered school supplies for a school in Uganda and various other little things. One day last week we headed to T.J.Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls and loaded up our carts for a local toy drive and picked up some presents for Rowan’s friends. She could have very easily asked for any one of those presents for herself. There were some awesome choices!! Love all the unique and wonderful toys there. But she happily pushed her cart up and down the aisles being very thoughtful about what she was picking out for everyone. Made my Mama heart proud.

Do you have any tips for creating a giving spirit in little ones around the holidays?
I’d love to her how your family works on this?

IMG_6633^^our finds

IMG_6636^^cutest little puzzle

IMG_6640^^working so hard on making little cards and wrapping paper for everyone

This post was sponsored by T.J.Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls. All opinions and words are my own. And to be clear any compensation for this post we used to purchase and donate toys. Thanks.
Happy Holidays guys!!
xoxox

The Outtakes

I was scrolling through my phone the other day and thought it was funny how many pictures are on there vs. how many pictures get posted to instagram. We’re all so particular about what gets posted there, huh? Always showing our carefully edited life. Anyways, I thought it would be fun to every once in a while throw some of the “outtakes” up here. Because really, they aren’t outtakes at all! They’re pictures that I love because they captured the moment we were in.

Untitled^^ God bless you!

Untitled^^Waiting in the Dr. office with these 2 monkeys.

Untitled^^Oh! Hello.

Untitled^^Our Sollybaby wrap is a life saver.

Untitled^^Took Rowan to see Matilda. It was a giant parent fail! In my opinion it was totally not appropriate for her age. doh!

Untitled^^Papa the jungle gym

Untitled^^Not sure what’s happening here?

Untitled^^Family photoshoot

Untitled^^Just hanging out under the CN Tower

Untitled^^Coolest jellyfish exhibit ever!

Untitled^^See?

Untitled^^Hanging out in a tube with crazy weird sharks

Untitled^^Seriously! this aquarium in Toronto is awesome!

Untitled^^At Boston Pizza when we realized that Kev and Orion were watching their first hockey game together on the TV’s. It was a Bruins game and Orion even happened to have his Bruins jammies on. It was meant to be. It was a big deal to Daddy!

Untitled^^My Dad and his Mom.

Untitled^^Cutest little peacock drawn by the cutest little 5 year old.

Untitled^^What you say?

Untitled^^Hockey Game. Go Devils.

Untitled^^PASSED.OUT

Untitled^^Words that had me pretty teary the other day in church.

The End.

Christmas trees & Christmas cards

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Do you guys remember this post about our christmas tree mishap? Like seriously! we are doomed every year with bad Christmas tree experiences. EVERY YEAR! Hahahah. Well last year we ended up deciding to forgo the “cutting of the tree” and just go to a lot. It worked out. I mean how much trouble can you get into in a 15 mins max christmas tree getting experience? Since I felt like we sort of broke the curse last year, this year I wanted to try a farm again. This time with no expectations! It’s hard though, I mean you are getting your christmas tree! How do you not have expectations for this annual holiday tradition? I seem to instantly picture cute dressed, well behaved children skipping and holding hands, joking and telling me how much they love me for bringing them to do something so fun and magical. There is of course christmas music playing and hot chocolate, and reindeer to pet, and definitely no one is whiney, or has to go to the potty when you get the furthest point away from any potty and no one is complaining they’re cold and best thing of all… you get that one perfect christmas card photo to capture such a joyous occasion. That can happen right? Well I tried my hardest to push those thoughts away and let the day happen how it may. We did dress cute and we were actually trying to get a photo (which could have gone sooo wrong) but if it wasn’t working I wasn’t going to force it. And guess what guys? It almost, almost all happened! It was like the Christmas stars aligned for us that day. Hip, hip hooray!

There of course was whining about being cold and having to walk so far and you better believe that there was a peeing out in the bushes incident because doh! of course someone had to go when we were about as far as one could have gotten from the potty. But other than that- we did it! We had a really fun time getting our christmas tree! Even little Miss Fin looks happy in most of them, that in and of itself is an accomplishment. Hallelujah!

We teamed up with Abercrombie and Abercrombie Kids to pick outfits for our Christmas card photo this year. Did you know they extended their kids sizes down to 3T now? Let me tell you that Finley in that little puffer vest is about too cute for words. Loved how all the outfits came together. I am not one for matchy, matchy in family photos so I really appreciated all the great options they had for everyone in the family. Kev is looking pretty darn handsome if I do say so myself. And a long flannel tunic top that is loose, soft and comfy is this 8 week postpartum, nursing mama’s best friend!

also don’t get me started on Rowan’s leggings. Love them!

also best way to make sure there isn’t just one person with a silly face in the picture (because of course there will be with small children) is to just all go for the silly face.

also this is like my new favorite picture! How am I the Mom to these 3 kids? Blows my mind.

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and since our Christmas stars aligned I was able to get like a billion photos which I couldn’t narrow down because I just love this gang so dang much!
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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Jen: Sherpa Jacket | Flannel Tunic | Jeans | Boots
Kev: Parka | Sweater | Jeans | Boots
Rowan: Coat | Sweater | Leggings
Finley: Vest | Sweater | Pants

What are you favorite holiday traditions with your family? How to you handle all the expectations the holidays bring?

Thanks to Abercrombie and Fitch for sponsoring this post. All opinions and words are my own.

My Motherhood is… (current life with 3)

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I wrote a post like this a while back and figured it was time to write another one in this new stage of motherhood. Being a Mom to 3 is beyond what I expected in so many ways. It’s funny how when the next kid pops out you instantly can’t imagine your family with out them. Like they were meant to be there all along. I really love how that works. Orion is our favorite little man and the perfect addition to our family. The moment he was born our hearts exploded with love for that sweet, sweet baby. Oooh we just love him!!

I started the last post with this and wanted to add it here as well… One of my favorite things about motherhood is that as much as it’s a personal journey it’s also so uniting at the same time. We all go through the ups & downs. They may be a bit different for each one of us but I am sure we share so many similarities.

My motherhood with 3…

…is first and foremost giving myself grace in all areas of my life. It’s not all going to get done right now.

…is currently putting aside most hobbies for lack of time. Knowing that it’s just a season.

…is accepting the tv watching for the kids with out guilt. It won’t kill any one and again is just a season.

…is actually letting myself sit and cuddle that sweet baby boy while he sleeps instead of trying to lie him down to get other stuff done. By the third you are fully aware how fast time goes.

…is acknowledging that taking care of the baby is the easy part. It’s the older ones that still take up the most time and energy

…is understanding that baby number 3 has to go with the flow. Haha. Poor boy always getting carted around to school drop off, the library, gymnastics, moms group, etc…

…is being more exhausted than you ever imagined. One tiny baby waking up is nothing compared to 3 children up constantly ALL.THROUGH.THE.NIGHT. #halp

…is letting the oldest spread her wings and be that big helper even if it means cleaning up a bigger mess later for you.

…is also giving grace to everyone in the family. It’s a big adjustment for everyone!

…is finding some wiggle room in the budget to hire a house cleaner for this season of life

…is being so in love with the new family dynamic you don’t even know how to handle it.

…is constantly picking up throughout the day so it doesn’t get out of control.

…is about being a team. Helping everyone see the importance of working together and giving jobs.

…is eating at Panera a lot.

…is swooning over your children as they love on each other and become the sweetest little mommies to their new baby brother

…is being so humbled by the love and generosity of your church family. Oooh the meal train!

…is having throw up on your brand new sweater.

…is making the most of even the smallest moments with your older ones to make sure they feel special and loved.

…is lots of kisses

…is your heart growing in ways you didn’t know it could

…is tears over being overwhelmed at everything

…is tears over how much you love everything about your family

…is tears over just how fast it goes

…is tears over every worship song you hear about God’s love

…is tears over having to do those damn tongue and lip exercises on your baby

…is tears over pretty much anything at any moment because #hormones

…is memorizing scripture on God’s promises for moments that seem too overwhelming

…is falling asleep surrounded by piles of clean and dirty laundry and not even caring or moving it

…is googling the most ridiculous things at all hours of the night while nursing

…is ordering things on amazon prime at 3:27am

…is all the hallelujahs for a baby that just slept 11-7am!!

…is multiple trips to Dr. Saddness (what I’ve nicknamed him) for the baby’s tongue and lip tie

…is accepting your post baby body

…is for all the hilarious boobie talk with your older ones as you nurse the baby a bajillion times a day.

…is for falling even deeper in love with your husband as he takes care of everything and everyone.

…is for missing my mom when she is gone

…is feeling like the transition to 3 really has been overall pretty smooth (don’t get me wrong it’s tough for sure!) but makes me think could we handle 4?

…is being so freakin’ excited for all that is to come as a family of 5.

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Halloween 2015 | Pt. 2

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This was the best year for Halloween! The girls were at the perfect age for trick or treating. Rowan was so excited she basically ran from house to house the entire night. I love our sweet little neighborhood! On Friday night we went to a Trunk or Treat at a church in the area and then went out for the real deal on Saturday night. We took the girls to see the Wizard of Oz for the first time this past summer at a Movie In the Park sort of deal. It was the most magical summer night watching such a movie classic under the stars. They even had the characters there to meet and greet the kids. Needless to say, Rowan fell in love with the movie and has been talking about being all the characters for Halloween since. She didn’t have to twist my arm that’s for sure. I LOVE family halloween costumes. I hope they want to dress up together forever (I know, I know. It’s not going to happen but I can dream right?).

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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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