Weekend Favorites

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It’s the weekend! Yay! Anyone have any big plans? It was 40 something degrees today and it felt like summer. That’s being dramatic, but I am so tired of it being so cold. I am convinced we need to move back to Hawaii. I may or maynot have been scheming this all week. At least I was dreaming of being back down in FL with my family. I didn’t take too many photos on my camera when we were there. Here are the few random ones that I did get.

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Here are some of my favorite links from around the web this week…
1. Love this post on gardening over on Ohdeardrea. Growing a garden really can be a metaphor for life. Love her insight.

2. Shared our love story (how Kev and I met and fell in love) over on Danielle’s blog last week. Did you know we got engaged, married and moved 6,000 miles away all in 5 weeks?

3. This baby rain coat is about the cutest thing ever! Pair with some rain boots- ooh!

4. Ha! This article made me laugh. JBBB.

5. This watch is just so simple, yet beautiful. A watch you could wear everyday.

6. For the Frozen lover in all of us. This cover is my favorite, plus how can you go wrong with Jimmy Fallon

7. I am so touched by how Ashley shares stories about her daughter. So tender and raw. Love their family!

8. I’ve become mildly obsessed with the idea of both the girls having a pair of hightops. In white of course!

9. So intrigued to try this spaghetti squash pizza crust. It sounds delicious.

10. This sleeping bag is so beyond ridiculous. How fun would it be?

11. Enjoyed reading this perspective on using the word “blessed”. What are your thoughts?

12. This is my kind of outfit! Mara looks beautiful even in just a tshirt and jeans. Those shoes!!

13. My most favorite designer! Ooh to own this dress or super cute swimsuit.

HAPPY WEEKEND!!

French Inspired Baby Shower

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This past weekend, my friend Erin and I hosted a French inspired baby shower for our very classy, beautiful and pregnant friend, Brigid. When I dream of owning my own party planning business, Erin is part of that dream. We make a good team. She is super creative and very talented! We had so much fun coming up with the menu, decorations and table settings for the party. Erin was the brain child of this one. I just helped execute all of it. The lovely folks over at Minted helped us with some of the fabulous decorations. Brigid picked out these great invitations, which really set the tone for the whole party. The shower was at 2pm, so we just went with light fare. Cheese boards, baguettes, fruit, and 2 delicious salads. Erin made a citrus salad with a spiced honey dressing and then a bacon, potato and watercress salad. Mmmmmmmm

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We wanted to carry out the french theme like the in invitations, but not cross that line into cheesy Eiffel Tower everywhere sort of party. We went with striped black and white table cloths (just fabric from hobby lobby), and a pretty orange, peach, gold and mint color scheme. Erin picked up some fresh flower bunches from the local grocery store and we made the bouquets for around the room. We spray painted mason jars gold to give them a little something extra. I thought the cake came out so great with the flower cake topper we put together. Isn’t the milk glass cake stand from Minted so beautiful? I have to say, this was hands down my favorite party I have ever decorated for. I was just so happy with how it all came together. It was a such a wonderful day celebrating Brigid!

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Minted generously gifted us these items: Cake Stand, Gold Circle Banner, Straw Flags, Flags for the Cheese, Table tent cards, Favor boxes, Favor box Stickers, Pretty floral table runner, Tissue paper fans, Invitations and Thank You cards.

All the other dishes I have been collecting from thrift stores/target for the past couple years.

I made the tassel garland for Rowan’s birthday. It was awesome to get to reuse it!

Letter Garland is by Rifle Paper Co. Can be found here.

Recipes for salads can be found here and here.

The 40 days begin…

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I’ve never participated in Lent before. I grew up in churches that never mentioned it. My naive, young self thought it was only something my friends that went to the Catholic church in town did. As I got older though, I learned more about it. I learned the history of it, the reasons behind it, yet still I chose not to participate. Giving something up for 40 days? Yeah. That wasn’t for me. Last year I had a strong conviction I should do something, but honestly for my own comfort I didn’t want to commit.

At the beginning of the New Year I read “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker. Omgosh. That book! It has changed so much in me over the past 2 months. It’s basically a book about fasting in some respect from 7 areas we seem to waste the most time, energy and money in. It’s endearing, hilarious and life changing. I am slightly obsessed with Jen Hatmaker. The book made me face a lot of what my idols are in my life. What I cling to, waste time on, hold important (when they’re not) and worry over. It really convicted me and I finished it just in time to start thinking about Lent.

Lent isn’t suppose to be used as a second chance for resolutions. It’s giving up and fasting from something, but making sure you are replacing it with prayer, reading, or worship. I’ve really prayed over my motives and searched my heart this year. I want to be doing all of this for the purpose of growing closer to God. We’re at a turning point as a family. We’re starting a big journey and I want Jesus to be front and center. I’m really good at filling my time with everything but him. I am desperate to change that. I want to make room for Him and I don’t want worldy possessions to steer my heart. I want these next 40 days to be a way to reflect what the Easter season is all about. There’s nothing magical about all of this. It’s not like a switch is flipped and you come out perfect. I know I will fail at what I am fasting from, but in my imperfections I hope I can see just how perfect Jesus is and how badly I need him.

I highly recommend reading this blog post on Lent by Ann Voskamp.

I picked a theme for Lent… “Live Simple” Here is what my Lent season will look like:

1. Kev and I started Drea’s Mise En Place: A Thirty Day Cleanse today. We will continue working through it for the next 40 days. I love Drea and I love this e-guide. It has beautiful pictures, lots of great information, recipes, shopping lists, etc… I feel like it’s totally doable. It’s not juicing, but eating whole, vegan and simple. Something we should be doing more of anyways. We already eat loads of veggies in our house and I am a vegetarian who doesn’t like fake meat to begin with, so I am hoping it will be a sort of easy transition. I wanted to do this though because I have a major sweet tooth (CANDY!!). I just really hate the idea of being enslaved to the feeling of needing sugar. I don’t want to be enslaved to anything. I will continue to blog on this one throughout the 40 days. I really do recommend this e-guide to anyone- it’s perfect for anyone wanting to jump start a healthy lifestyle.

2. I will be giving up Twitter (on my phone) and Facebook (altogether). SO.MUCH.WASTED.TIME!! I will need to hop on twitter (from my laptop) from time to time in order to fulfill some obligations I have relating to blog work but I am deleting the apps from my phone until Easter. I want to be present. When I really think about how much time during the day I am scrolling through all those media outlets — Ouch! It’s embarrassing.

3. Kev is giving up TV, so in turn I am too. TV isn’t really an issue for me — I don’t really enjoy watching it to begin with but we do sometimes like to watch an episode of something before we go to bed. At the moment we LOVE Brooklyn 99. So funny. Without it though, I plan to go to bed earlier and have dedicated time at night reading, reflecting and journaling. I bought a Lent journal from Jessi. I am really looking forward to using it.

4. No excess clothes spending. Self explanatory. I love me some new clothes, shopping is therapeutic to me. I love looking at clothing websites (I used to love actual shopping but that doesn’t happen anymore with kids). With no money to spend — I wont need to spend time looking through the sale sections at my favorite places. Do I really need another pair of shoes just because they are on sale? We have TOO MUCH stuff in our lives that we do not need.

5. I would like to clean out our closets, bins, drawers, etc… and donate everything. I am very grateful for all that we have, but there are others that could use it more. I want our house to be simple, beautiful and full of love, more than “stuff”. I want to be filled with a giving spirit.

I am looking forward to having more family time, more time to read, more time to be creative, but more importantly I am looking forward to creating room for Jesus.

Are you participating in Lent this year? I would love to hear what you are fasting from.

Survival Guide: Flying alone with a toddler and a baby

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We’ve traveled quite a bit with our kids. It’s always been all together though. I have flown with Rowan by myself twice but never both of them. The thought of being out numbered by kids on an airplane has had me totally freaked me out. When the chance to go to Florida came up though, I bit the bullet and decided to conquer my fears. All in all it wasn’t too bad. Finley was pretty fussy to be honest but I just found out she has a double ear infection so I think that had something to do with it. The lovely folks over at Lily Jade just send us this gorgeous designer diaper bag and it totally saved my life on this flight. When traveling by yourself the less you have to carry the better. It will make it so much easier and make you less stressed if you don’t have tons of bags to drag along. Because lets face it, you are already going to have your hands full with the kids. The fact that this bag can be worn as a backpack was seriously the biggest help on this trip. Plus, the inside is HUGE. I was able to pack everything I needed for our day of travel for both kids in there.

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Here are some other tips I found really helpful when traveling by yourself with your kids…

1. Bring a stroller. The stroller was essential for getting everyone around the airport. Especially between connecting flights. We seriously had a Home Alone moment (running top speed to make connecting flight) and if I didn’t have the stroller we never would have made it. We have a double Maclearn. We LOVE it!!

2. When we first got to the airport and checked in at the desk, we asked if Kev could get a special clearance ticket to go through security to help me with the kids. Did you know you can do that? I never knew that until a few years ago. Not having to go through security by yourself is so helpful. Besides, then he gets to stay with us until the moment we get on the plane.

3. Plan your flight (if you can) for when your kids will be well rested. I use to think it would be helpful if it was around nap time because then maybe they would fall asleep on the plane. HA! Chances are (well, with my luck), they won’t and then you are left with an over tired, extremely fussy baby. It’s better to have a happy, rested little one to play with.

4. Just give yourself a break. It will be tough and it will be stressful. Just know you are doing the best you can. The calmer you can stay the better everything will go. Forget if you can, that you are on a plane with other people. I know it’s so hard! As soon as Finley would start crying I could feel my blood pressure rising. Just remember not everyone is annoyed they are crying. I know when I hear a baby crying I just feel sympathy for the parents and well, most of the time I don’t even notice.

5. Snacks, toys and activities. Here is everything that I fit into my Lily Jade bag for the trip. 1. Mini Eggs (these were for me!) 2. Coloring and activity books for Rowan 3. Headphones and iPad for Rowan loaded with new games and movies 4. Her little toys she picked out for the trip (cheetah, my littlest pet shop pony and Cinderella) 5. A few toys for Finley. She doesn’t “play” with much, just gets into everything that isn’t a toy 6. Her bottle 7. Snacks 8. Teddy 9. My iPhone and charger 10. Aden and Anais swaddle blanket 11. Diapers, wipes and kleenex 12. Hand sanitizer 13. YumEarth Organics Vitamin C gummy bears and lollipops

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*A Lily Jade bag is definitely an investment piece but their quality and function will last you well beyond the baby years. I have the Caroline bag and it’s on sale at the moment! A must have for your baby registry.

OUTFIT DETAILS:
Dress: Old Navy
Sandals: Sam & Libby from Target
Scarf: Target
Watch: Michael Kors
Madeline Bag: c/o Lily Jade

On Rowan:
Dress: gift from Little Hip Squeaks
Floral Crown: gift from The Wishing Elephant

On Finley:
Shirt: Gap
Shorts: Gap
Scarf: gift from Little Hip Squeaks

Down in Florida

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Welp. In a very last minute decision, we jumped a plane and headed south. We are spending the week in Florida at my parents. It just so happened that both my sisters were coming down to visit and I didn’t want to be the odd one out. We haven’t all been together as a family in almost 2 years. It’s been super laid back so far. Lots of boat rides, sitting by the dock, late night walks, hot tubs, dinners around the kitchen island and good ol’family fun. Being with family and by the water is just good for my soul. I just wish Kev could be here too. There is pretty much nothing I love more though than being on a boat. I mentioned this on instragram, but being on the water just seems right. It makes life seem simple, easy and beautiful. It slows things down. The wind in your hair, the warm breeze, it all holds so many childhood memories for me. I love that when we come down here, Rowan gets to be part of this too. I hope she grows up loving being on the water as much as I do.

Here are just a few pictures from our first 2 days here. (All pictures were taken by my talented sister Amy).

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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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