The First Day of School | Letting Her Go…

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Well, here we are again. Middle of the night. I can’t seem to sleep. I got myself some hot tea and grapes (weird combo??) and I’m ready to type out all the random thoughts. This has been a big week for us! And well for a lot of people I am sure. The first week of school! Of real school! Like a legit kindergartner! Who’d of thought we would ever get here?? I mean I know we would be here but ahhhhh. How did 5 years go by so fast? I was feeling very anxious about it. Not for her sake but for mine. I know I’ve been very lucky to have gotten the last 5 years with her. I didn’t have to go back to work after she was born and we loved home schooling last year so she has been by my side for 5 years. Day in, day out. So the anxiety of letting go of that had started to build. And not to be dramatic but once they leave for school it’s like they are gone for the rest of their life. Hahah (yes, yes, I know that’s super over the top) but seriously! They will basically be in school for the rest of the time they live with you and then they will be gone. Elementary, middle, high school, college, move out. ALL THE SAD FACE EMOJIIS.

BUT

Then you remember how excited they are and how much you love seeing them learn and grow and well, your sadness doesn’t really seem to matter all that much in light of that.

We decided to send her to the most wonderful little classical school near us which we totally fell in love with. The teachers, headmaster, parents and kids feel like a big ol’ family all striving for the same goals and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of that. It really, really helps sending them off on their day when you totally support and trust the school they are going to. This is in no way a dig to public school or any other type of schooling. For us this is just where we fit best for this year. We decided early on that we would never make a decision and say this was it for all of school. Every year we will prayerfully ask where we are supposed to be. Anyway, nearing school I could tell Rowan was getting a little bit nervous. I knew she would love it but she also is very sensitive so after much hype all week (school picnic, kindergarten meet up, parent orientation, convocation) I could hear it in her voice when she talked that the unknown was starting to seem a bit scary. We talked through a bunch of stuff and I assured her she was going to love it and that no, you didn’t need to know all the presidents names to start kindergarten. Where she got that idea? School does start a bit earlier than we are used to in our house so that is almost the bigger challenge for everyone. The first morning I woke her up she looked at me and said “I didn’t know I would have to get up THIS early”. Poor girl. Me either sister, me either. Ugh. We are not morning people.

The first day went off with out a hitch. I went to pick her up on the first day but she was insistent on taking the bus home with her friends (ouch). Message received little one. She obviously didn’t have as hard of a time being away as I did. It was so sweet though, seeing her climb onto that little short bus with her buddies and head off for home. I just scooted home to meet her there. Poor girl has a bit of a ride though, she is the last one off but she doesn’t seem to mind. The bus driver calls her “Ms. Chatty”. I better watch what I say in front of Rowan now, she is airing all our secrets to the bus driver. Hahaha. I was really praying for a sweet older lady to be the bus driver. Don’t ask me why. That’s just what I wanted. Prayer answered! The bus driver is amazing- makes me feel a little more comfortable with her being on the bus so long.

Change is good. It can be tough but always helps us grow and our character to strengthen. So excited for this new year for her. You really can’t experience much more joy as a parent then watching your children learn new things and develop into these wonderful little beings. It’s pretty awesome. I just need to figure out how to be a responsible parent of a school aged child. haha. All the folders and papers and school things to keep track of. Oh man. I need some help ūüėČ Like seriously- how do you keep track of everything?

Wishing all your Mama’s with kids in school a very happy 2015-2016 school year!!

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FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

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p.s. she may have to wear a uniform (which I am convinced makes her look 1000x cuter. Not sure how that is possible?) but we found the best back to school items at T.J.Maxx for her. She was dead set on finding a purple backpack to match her uniform and because I wanted to stay clear of the ol’ character themed Elsa bag, I happily dug around the store to find the perfect one. They had a great selection of backpacks to chose from. I don’t know why but I just love the plain ol’ classic Jansport backpack. It’s so nostaglic. We also were able to find her the cutest shoes for fall and winter. She is feeling pretty grown up with a pair of her very own tall “leather” boots. So cute!

New Nursery Tour!!!! (It’s a…)

Guys!! I’ve been keeping a secret from you for like 4 months!!!…

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WE’RE HAVING A BABY BOY!!!

YAY!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?! Kev and I both were positive it was another girl, so we were totally shocked when the tech showed us right there on the screen it was for sure not a girl. Hahaha. Kev let out a big ol’ holler. He’s very excited. We both are! I am so excited to finally share the news with you. I wanted to save it to reveal with a nursery tour of the baby’s new room. It just took me forever to finish it all up. I’ve never done a themed type nursery before and I wasn’t really planning on it for his room either but it just sort of happened. Space themed it was. I tried not to get too spacey or baby like. I like nurseries that have a bit more of an older kid feel. I tried keeping it pretty monochromatic with grey, black, white and blue but once all the toys and books got in there it ended up with other pops of color. I am pretty in love with how it came out. Like I mentioned in my post the other night, it’s the cleanest, most put together room in the house at the moment and I love just sitting in there on the carpet and thinking about him and all the things to come.

I saw the constellation painting idea on A Beautiful Mess when they redid one of their bathrooms and totally fell in love with the idea. I think that’s what started off the whole space themed idea. I printed out pictures of constellations and just free handed them on the wall with a ruler. Most of them are actual constellations but not in any particular order. I just filled the wall so that it would be aesthetically pleasing. I cut a star shape out of linoleum to make a stamp for the wall. I used some craft paint to stamp on the wall. My Dad is an astrophotographer (and a famous one at that!) and I really wanted to incorporate some of his pictures of space in the gallery wall. Makes it so special for us (more on all that in another post)! When it came to a dresser, I had a really hard time finding one. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I actually just used one of our expedits that we weren’t really using and turned it into a dresser of sorts. I added baskets on bottom shelves and got the coolest change pad for the top. I’ve always hated those mattress ones with the cover. It just makes extra laundry- love that I can wipe this down quick and easy (thanks Amy for helping me find this!).

I tried to just reuse a lot of stuff from Finley’s or Rowan’s nurseries. I loved Finley’s mobile but really didn’t like the peach colored shape for baby boy. I ended up just pulling it off, spray painting it blue, and then popping it back on. Perfect for the room now! I also spray painted the lamp base the same shade of blue. I really had a lot of fun decorating for a boy for the first time. Everything has been girl, girl, girl for so long. Which of course I’ve loved but I’m really happy with how his nursery came out! Now he just needs to get here already so I can dress him in all the cute boys clothes I’ve been buying. Everyone keeps telling me girls are way more fun to dress but guys!! i’ve been having so much fun stocking up on little boy clothes!!

I can’t believe that we’re going to have a sweet baby boy in just a few weeks!!

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SOURCE LIST:

Crib: Ikea | Cloud Crib Sheet: c/o Land of Nod | Carpet: c/o Land of Nod | Chair: Ikea | Mobile: Giggle | Home Sweet Home Banner: c/o Land of Nod | Floor Lamp: c/o Land of Nod | Wire baskets: c/o Land of Nod | Magazine Bookshelf: c/o Land of Nod | Black Expedit Shelf: Ikea | Wicker Baskets: Target | Stripe + Cross Swaddles: Modern Burlap | Change Pad: Keekaroo | Rocket Ship Toy: Janod | Wooden Toy Rattle: Manhattan Toy | Laundry Hamper: c/o Land of Nod | Wooden Walker: Hape | Astro Print, Young and Free Print, Black Abstract, Constellation Print: c/o Minted | Troybot Print: Troy Cloth and Paper | Go To Sleep Print: Danielle Burkleo | Stripped Hat + Blanket: c/o June and January | Pia Wallen Mini Cross Blanket: Story North | Apple Pillow: Blabla Kids

Our friends at Land of Nod and Minted were super sweet and thoughtful by helping us decorate the room. Thank you!

A Day in Nolita with Roots!

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Anyone from Canada out there? How much do you love Roots? Wasn’t it your childhood staple growing up? I don’t think there is anything (clothing wise) that’s more nostalgic to me. Still to this day anytime I wear Roots sweats or cabin socks, I can’t help but think about being around a bonfire at a cottage in northern Ontario. Anyway, for those who don’t know what I am talking about- Roots is an amazing Canadian clothing brand, steeped in history and love. All of their leather goods are designed and made right in Toronto. They’re well known for their awesome sweats, chunky knits and great flannels but all the other clothing they offer is so beautiful and totally my style. Love the outdoor, yet effortlessly cool feel to it all. When the Roots team invited me down for the day to visit there new flagship store in Nolita (NYC), I was literally jumping with excitement. It’s not everyday the brand you’ve had a 30 year love affair with emails you. They have a few stores in the US (2 in LA, Park City, and Birmingham, Michigan) but this is the very first East Coast store.

If you haven’t been to the NYC before, Nolita is such a great area to walk around and explore. Lots of cool shops and yummy food. Roots Canada totally fits in down there! I had such a fun day shopping and styling some outfit with my favorite Roots items (I wasn’t going to let this giant baby bump stop me!). These outfits are perfect for exploring the city in style. Easy, laid back and cool!

First up… I paired this super comfy cardigan with a Roots tee and knit maternity skirt. I feel like you could dress this up for work with some heels/booties and maybe some jewelry or play it down for a walk around town. Don’t even get me started on how much I love using backpacks for purses! Roots leather products are perfection.

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SHOP THE LOOK:

Sandstone Cardigan | Raw T-Shirt | Petite Pack Super Prince


The next look I paired this awesome flannel over a grey maternity dress. I’ve only had this flannel for about 2 weeks and I’ve already worn it far too many times. It’s perfect snapped up or left open over a tee. It has these great side pockets that are perfect for holding my phone. Is it weird that pockets totally make my day? Love the fringe detail on the cross body bag.

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SHOP THE LOOK:

Hazelwood Flannel Tunic | Sedona Saddle Tribe


For total comfort you have to try out some of Roots sweatstyle items. Anything that looks cool yet is totally comfy enough to by my pajamas is A+ in my book. Love this terry dress (of course tunic over a giant pregnant belly) paired with jeans, a scarf and super cute clutch. Perfect for running errands and going to brunch on the weekend.
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SHOP THE LOOK:

Quary Terry Dress | Caraway Shawl | Zip Around Phone With Wristlet


The last look is my perfect fall outfit. Chambray shirt, jeans, totally awesome jacket and sneakers. Top that with a hat that has a maple leaf on it and I am a happy girl. #canadarules
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SHOP THE LOOK:

Shoreline Smock Jacket | Dorset Snap Back Cap




Here are a few more shots from around the store. How amazing is that cape?
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Thanks to Roots Nolita for having me down to visit!

4:30am Stream of Consciousness…

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Well it’s 4:30am and I’m up again for another “restless, I can’t sleep, get this baby out of me” kind of night. What better way to pass the time and take my mind off the fact that I am not sleeping and super uncomfortable then to sit at the computer when all is quiet and totally word dump into a post. I’m sure it’ll be random about all kinds of things going on. You ready? Alright, let’s do this…

1. Pregnancy. Oooooh if I am honest with you I do not like being pregnant. It’s a very real struggle for me. I know I need to keep things in perspective because there are millions of women struggling with loss and infertility and those totally trump silly feelings about actually being pregnant but the feelings are real nonetheless (if you are one of those women, I pray for you, I hear you, you are not unnoticed. If you want, please roll your eyes at this part and skip over. I totally get it). I think it’s the loss of control of your own body that really does me in. It’s very weird to feel like a stranger in your own body for so many months. The little person inside takes over and you’re left with weight gain you don’t want, sleepless nights, exhaustion, discomfort, weird appetite aversions, swollen everything and the handful or other super pleasant (not) side effects. I feel like I handled them all better with my other pregnancies but this time around it’s just been plain difficult. Is it age? Is it the fact that there are small children I am trying to keep up with? I don’t know but this pregnancy has been tough. At the beginning, I was really struggling with the weight gain. I know it’s so trivial but it was so frustrating to be eating so healthy, working out quite a lot and just keep seeing the weight come on. I’ve come to terms with it a bit. Excepting my body just needs the weight I guess. I don’t understand it but I am trusting it as best as I can. I am just not someone who gains like 20 pounds. I am at 37 pounds with 4.5 weeks to go. I am proud of my body and the work it has done, don’t get me wrong. Birthing a baby is quite a superhero feat but still. It can be difficult. Am I alone? Do you love being pregnant? Do you struggle? I have friends that love every glorious minute and I love that about them. There are moments I love but I am just really looking at the finish line.

2. It’s my birthday today! I am 33. Ahhh!!! I have so, so enjoyed being 30 so far. They’ve been my most favorite years so far but I will be honest and say 33 sounds quite legit as an adult. hahaha I still picture myself as a 24 year old. Yesterday especially, I was on the eve of my birthday, had kindergarten orientation, Rowan’s first soccer practice (that I pulled up to in our minivan), and had a midwife appointment for our 3rd baby. Ummm, hello? How did I get here?? Aren’t we still newly married, running around Hawaii without a care in the world? I LOVE everything about this stage of life. I really do, but it was one of those weird surreal moments like “what? this is just blowing my mind today”. Anyway, Happy Birthday to me!

3. Change, Change, Change. Our house feels a bit chaotic lately. I feel like we are lifting up the house, shaking it all around and waiting for it all to settle again. Nothing’s bad but there is a heck of a lot of transitions going on around here. I feel like everyone is feeling them too. Especially sweet, sensitive Rowan. Poor girl. 1. Finley is pretty much potty trained- but we’re still in the “we need to find a potty every 2 seconds when we go somewhere” phase. Bending down almost 36 weeks pregnant in every public restroom from Target to the gas station has been super fun. There is no room for being a germaphobe. Like literally no room… picture a toddler, a huge pregnant women and your above average size 4 year old all in a single stall together. Are you laughing yet? You should be. We are like a circus side show act everytime we walk into a bathroom 2. We’ve moved Finley from her crib and her room into Rowan’s room to share the bunk bed with her. Bedtime has been such a dream since. Sarcasm. 3. KINDERGARTEN!!! is starting on Wednesday (hold me). 4. This baby is coming soooooooon! 5. All September activities are starting up again (dance, gymnastics, Mom’s group, soccer, etc…) how does one keep up with all the schedules, emails, etc… I need a secretary for my life please.

4. Raise the roof (heck yes, I just said raise the roof) for time away with your husband. Kev and I just got back from 5 days away in Florida together. We were hoping to head up to Nova Scotia but decided for something more relaxing and laid back and just headed to my parents house down there on the coast. The girls went and spent some time with both are parents out in Massachusetts. We had such a wonderful time. We had no agenda, no plans, nothing. We read, we ate out a ton, we took naps, we lounged around, we went to the bookstore, we went to the beach, it was glorious! It’s always hard leaving your kids. I totally get it but I can not say how important it is enough to get some time away (every year if you can) with your spouse. It doesn’t have to be fancy or far away- just something. You realize once you’re there how much you missed just connecting with each other away from everything else. Of course there is lots of talk about the kids- it’s natural but then you start joking and talking about everything else you fell in love with over. So grateful for the time away. Boy, I sure love Kev. What a good man he is!

5. So I got this comment the other day on the Target/Stride Rite post along the lines of “how dare you pimp your children out for something you would never buy” sort of thing and it totally made me laugh. I don’t ever feel the need to justify what I do here on the blog. Maybe years ago I did, but not now. However this comment was just so funny to me I feel like I wanted to write a little something about it. Why are some people always so offended by a sponsored post? Out of all the stupid PR emails that hit my inbox, I rarely say yes to any of them. I chose very careful who I work with and who I don’t. Free stuff is very rarely worth my time and energy. I stated very clearly that it was a sponsored post. I wasn’t hiding it. I never in that post wrote that they were my personal favorite shoes or even cute for that matter (although I do think Rowan looks adorable in that post). I wrote very honestly. Were the shoes my taste? maybe not but they’re still very well made shoes and I accepted that sponsored post because I love my daughter. I knew Rowan would die over getting the chance to pick out her own shoes and get her very own post. I don’t force my kids to always wear everything that’s my taste just for blog pictures sake or for some fake image I want to keep up. Yes, they’re little and I still have a say but I love letting Rowan express herself. She has her very own opinions and thoughts on what she thinks looks good and that just happens to be pink and purple sparkly shoes. She put those shoes on and said she thought she could run faster than ever before and has worn them nonstop since. That’s what matters to me. The end (drops mic, walks off stage).

5. I finished the baby’s room! It’s so freakin’ cute. I can’t wait to share with you guys. I just want to make a few little stuffed animal things and then I’ll take some pictures and show you. It’s the cleanest, most put together room in our house right now and some days I just sit on the floor in there and take a few deep breathes away from all the crazy. hahahaha

6. I picked up my birth pool yesterday! Oh boy! Home birth #2 here we come!

7. I just want to say a big ol’ thank you to all you wonderful readers. Some are new and some are like old friends now reading since before Rowan was even born. Thanks for sticking around with me. It really means so much and your support and encouragement never goes unnoticed. I am so very grateful for all of you!

8. I’ve fizzled out. I think all my thoughts have been drained, I am feeling empty on what to say now… Here ends the random middle of the night post.

Outfits Above:
Black dress: Stitch Fix Maternity (similar)
Birks: Nordstorm
White Top: LOFT (on sale!! non maternity!)
Jeans: Stitch Fix Maternity (similar)
Sandals: H&M (similar)

Shibori (indigo tie dye) With Kids!

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One of the things on our summer bucket list that I was most excited about doing with the girls was tie dying. I’ve really been loving the indigo dyed trend that’s been going on for a little while and wanted to give that a go instead of your traditional brightly colored tie dye. I ordered this kit off of amazon and got a bunch of muslin and white pillow cases to dye. I wanted to use the pillow cases on our bed and make the girls a dress or skirt with the fabric. These cloth napkins would be awesome to use as well. Wouldn’t your table be so cute with dyed napkins?

I am not going to get into super detailed instructions because the kit comes with them but here are some pictures from our process.

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Materials:

1. Indigo Tie Dye Kit (comes with dye, gloves, wooden squares, instructions)
2. fabric, pillow cases, etc…
3. Elastics
4. Popscile Sticks
5. 5 gallon bucket

Instructions:

1. Gather all your materials. Read instructions. Mix dye. It needs to sit for at least an hour (I think) before you use it. The indigo dye is so much cooler than just a regular rit dye. When you first dye the fabric it’s green until the air oxidizes it.

2. I did a lot of pinterest looking to see how best to fold and tie fabric. There are lots of techniques out there and really you can’t go wrong (this was super helpful). I found that the best way to get results is to stick with some type of accordion fold with the fabric and then use popsicle sticks and/or elastics to bind it all up. The girls had a lot of fun (and it really kept them entrained for quite a while) folding the fabric and using the elastics. Of course I had to go back and make sure everything was tight enough to actually work with the dye but for the most part they created their own designs.

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3. You’ll notice an oily looking top layer with a yellow-greenish colored liquid below. This is when you know the dye is ready. You need to soak all your knotted and bound fabric in clean water first before you submerge in dye. This is a great job for your little ones to do.

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4. Once everything is soaked you can submerge into the dye. This part I did myself only because I had one pair of gloves but otherwise I would have let Rowan help as well. When you put the fabric into the dye you sort of massage it around a bit, making sure the dye seeps all the way into the center of the bound fabric. Keep submerged, working the fabric for about 5 mins.

5. Again, when you first bring out the fabric it will be this neon green color. As it sits in the air it will turn that deep indigo color. It’s really cool to watch. The girls loved that part, they thought it was magic! You can repeat the dye process if you want a deeper darker color.

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6. Let the fabric sit for at least 20 mins and oxidize in the air. Then you can open it up and hang it up to dry. Some parts of the inside may still be green when you open it but it will turn blue very quickly. You can wait till it drys completely or you can throw it into the wash partially wet. Wash on cold with a gentle detergent. Hang to dry.

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7. If you dyed fabric try using this tutorial to make the easiest and cutest skirt for your little ones.

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enjoy!

Summer Outtakes…

I was about to format the memory card in the camera the other day when I realized there were all these random pictures left on there. They’re pictures that weren’t part of any big or special day or anything and for whatever reason just never made it into any posts. I didn’t want to not post them so here’s a big ol’ photo dump of random (but still memorable) moments the last few months…

IMG_4245^^ playing in the court yard of the Roots store in NYC.

IMG_3923^^she loves to take all the pillows and blankets and make beds and forts on the floor. Having a little lunch picnic while watching a movie.

IMG_3922^^Our little sanctuary. Love our bedroom and all the natural light.

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IMG_3883^^ a little day trip with friends to see the Van Gogh exhibit at The Clark in the berkshires. What a beautiful day! Such sweet little buddies.

IMG_3857^^one last picture of Finley’s old room before we took everything out and started again for new baby. It was such a sweet little nursery for Fin!

IMG_2713^^family photo in the car!

IMG_2758^^A true Finley face.

IMG_2979^^a green’s haul from the garden one morning.

IMG_2534^^someone found my phone.

IMG_1966^^gardening with Meme

IMG_2542^^setting up her still life. She found toys, arranged them all and practiced drawing what she saw in front of her. Oh my art teacher’s heart was exploding it was so cute!

Can you believe September 1st is in a few days?!?! Oh man, summer has been so sweet! Not sure I am ready to let go.

What Rowan Wore | With Stride Rite & Target!

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I think it’s safe to say we created a little fashionista out of Rowan. It’s not surprising though, I obviously like fashion a lot and over the years she’s seen me taking a lot of outfit photos for the blog. Many of which she’s been a part of as well. As she gets older though, I do let her call the shots about whether or not she wants to be in the pictures for the blog. When I asked her if she wanted to do her very own What Rowan Wore post for today it was a big “YES, YES, YES!” though.¬†

We teamed up with Stride Rite to introduce you to their new¬†Surprize¬†brand exclusively for US¬†Target locations and Target.com. Since Rowan is all girl (I like to say she is more tomboy princess though) she was in heaven getting to go to Target and try on all the shoes and pick out her very own pair. It was no surprize (wink. wink. see what I did there? Boy, I’m funny) that she went with the pink and purple sparkle running shoe. They fit her great, are super comfortable and totally practical (and durable!) for the playground and running around. Now that’s the making of a great kid shoe!

Rowan knew exactly what she wanted to wear to show you all her new shoes. I think it’s about the cutest little outfit ever. I am especially fond of the tall socks that she matched to the shoes with their purple polka dot tops. Oh man, I love that girl! It’s fun letting her express her creative side with the clothes she chooses.

Which Surprize shoe would your little one love the most?

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Shop Surprize by Stride Rite and find more styles here: Surprize for girls // Surprize for boys

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stride Rite. All opinions, words and photos are 100% my own.

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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