Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Family Pictures

We haven't take family pictures (excluding selfies) since Kess' newborn shoot. Seriously. I know... I can hardly believe it myself. I asked my friend Kara to snap a few shots of us & they are just perfect - if I do say so myself. I wanted to take them at Northwest Nazarene University. It's a local university & it's where I went before I married Matt. The campus is gorgeous & I knew it would be the perfect backdrop.

Taking pictures with a 2 year old was a little trickier than I thought, but Kess did pretty dang good & ultimately stole the show... I'm totally ok with that! ;)

Shoes (on sale) here & here
Chambray (old) / similar here
White Dress (old) / similar here

Huge thanks to my friend Kara for taking time out of her busy evening & sharing her talents with us! I can't wait to blow some of these up & scatter them around our new house! Moving day is Friday ya'll! Pray for a smooth move! ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Toddler Meal Template from @realfoodfixes

My friend Erica of Real Food Fixes wrote an all too relate-able letter to us momma's on my blog the other day. You can find it here

She talks about the woes of keeping our kids fed with good wholesome foods. It's much much easier said that done, right? Right.

I not only have trouble thinking of what to feed Kess, but have even more trouble when she isn't interested in what I feed her. Kids are tricky, they are ever-growing & ever-changing their minds.

Lately, Kess is loving "appies" (apples) so I try to incorporate them into most of her snacks & meals. I usually ride this wave until it dies - no lie. Run with it while you can! ;) Kess won't eat a whole PB&J - only if it's cute into cute shapes or small bites. So that's what I do. I think sometimes we get wrapped up in trying to not cater to our kids in fear of creating a monster, but sometimes a mom has to do what a mom has to do!! If your kid loves stars, then cut their food into stars. It sounds super Pinterest-y, I know... but it works. Kess gets so excited when her cheese is cute into shapes & she tells me all about it! 

I read a toddler behavior book recently & it talked about "win-win" situations. Sometimes as parents we have to act like we are losing in order to get a win. Let me explain. Kess is obsessed with Popsicles. I used to make healthier, homemade versions & lately I've been a lazy mom. Truth be told - I have a cheap pack of sugar-filled Popsicles in my freezer. She constantly asks for a "Pupo" or "Wuwo" one. I'd rather not have her eating a Popsicle at 9:00am, so I offer her a yogurt Popsicle instead. She knows it's different, but as far as she is concerned she still gets a Popsicle. I have a package of frozen Chobani Greek "go-gurt" in my freezer. They're easy to break in half & hand over. She loves them & I love that she's getting a healthy dose of good dairy. See- "win-win."

It's ok to seemingly compromise on our kids' foods. Run with the things they love. And give in from time to time. It's ok. They're kids. Make sure you find a good balance of food for you kids. Erica's template helps with that. It's hard to think of meals for our kids - this solves that problem. She provides plenty of healthy options & they're in handy categories to boot! Like, it can't get easier! Giving you kids options is great way to find out their likes & dislikes as well. 
You can download the free template here!

Let me know how much you love it. Mine is hanging on my fridge as I type & I already used it for lunch today. Shhh don't tell, but I might even use it for a few snacks & quick meals of my own! ;)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Guest Post: Erica with Real Food Fixes

Hey momma,

You’re job--providing everything tiny humans needs to grow and survive thrive--is no easy day job. It’s a lifelong career, a mission, a purpose, a calling (covered in cheerios).

I get it. I see you.

I’ve always cared about health, but I never cared as much or worried as much as when I started growing a baby and then feeding a baby.

Did you feel the same way?

I felt the pressure of a thousand eyes, and most importantly my baby’s eyes, staring up at me and trusting that I knew what to do to give her the best life.

Gah. I’m choking up. Being a parent is amazing, but pressure can really get to you and rob you of joy.
I bet you’re doing awesome, and that you’re doing so many good things when it comes to feeding your family.

I have a few suggestions that may help you feed with more joy and less mom-guilt (ugh, that word even feels gross to write).

Involve your child
I remember learning in business management class in college that employees always feel more valuable when they’re included on decision making. Duh. I think we all learned the “it feels better to be included” lesson in middle school, right?

I think our kids feel the same way at home too. When you’re included you feel invested and you’re more interested in what is going on. Your little one will probably eat better, and you will have precious one-on-one time making memories.


As soon as my little girl could stand she would pull at my pant legs and beg to be “up” in the action of cooking. I literally threw in the towel and let her.


I never got into sensory bins (don’t judge me Pinterest), but the kitchen counter was a great substitute. She became curious about food textures and tasting. She wanted to dig her hands into things, and stir things, and cut things. She started commenting on smells of foods in public and tastes of new dishes.

I was in mom heaven; my kid loved food and I didn’t have to stress too much about feeding time.

Enjoy (or tolerate the messiness)
It was messy when my daughter cooked with me as a tiny tike, but now with my 2 year old son it’s 10x worse. I embrace it… somedays.


I think the teaching process can be so rewarding, but home is a place for practice and progress, not perfection. Whether we’re talking about cooking or eating, the same idea applies.

Remember how my daughter was such an engaged foodie? All she wants to eat right now at age 4 is buttered bread. Every meal. Everyday.

It’s totally normal. And it’s totally normal for me to hate it.

But I trust that she’ll grow out of it, and she’ll come around and remember what she once enjoyed. Did you used to hate something you now love? I didn’t eat onions or bell peppers until I was 17 and now they’re my go-to veggies. Go figure.

If we set our expectations up for messiness and imperfection and look instead to enjoy and trust the learning process we’ll be much happier at the dinner table.

Ditch food fears & guilt
There are 101 ways to eat healthy and so many ways to do it right. Here are two main goals to work for in feeding your kiddos (and yourself!):

  1. Eat foods that you supply you with enough nutrients (vitamins, minerals, energy)
  2. Develop a healthy relationship with food; which means a relationship where you’re not obsessing about food or how it affects your body 24/7, a healthy dose of curiosity to try new foods instead of fearing them, and a respect for food’s ability to affect your health.

Everything else will fall into place in a rhythm that works for your family. Organic foods can be great choices, but if they’re too expensive or inaccessible, you can eat a healthy diet without them. Sugar is in everything and we eat too much of it, but if you want to use jarred pasta sauce that has added sugar in it for dinner, don’t fret. Raw vegetables are great, but if your kids like cookes ones, that is fabulous (and sometimes better)!

There is always a cost to be paid in the food choices we make, and some costs are worth more than others. Most of the time when you’re choosing between two nutritious foods, small issues like a teaspoon of extra sugar or an organic label aren’t worth your worry. (Seriously, the worrying is probably worse for your health)!

Feeding a family can be frustrating and unrelenting but it can also be incredibly rewarding, entertaining, and even joyous!

What helps you find joy when feeding your family?

Hey there! I'm Erica Hansen, a registered dietitian with a Master's degree in nutritional science. I am all about getting back to the basics of eating whole food in simple and tasty ways. Nutrition can seem confusing and worrying about eating right and feeding your family can be discouraging. I'm on a mission to help mom's feel confident, smart, and joyous about their food choices in a real-life, no-judgement approach.

I teach free nutrition classes and run challenges at www.realfoodfixes.com. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. Don't be shy! I'd love to hear from you! Let's connect :) 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


I've been meaning to share our lighting selections for a while now, but the poor blog has been put on the back burner lately. Lighting was so fun to choose. I've never thought much about lighting detail, but as we chose fixtures & chandeliers I realized how important it is to pick the right piece for the right space.

All of our hardware, plumbing fixtures, door knobs, etc are a brushed nickel so we didn't want to detour from that when it came to lighting. 

We chose a  modern mason jar linear light for our kitchen area. We have a dining area that I really wanted a great feature light in & we just loved the look. Our island needed 3 pendant lights as well & the same line had individual pendants that were identical to the large chandelier we chose over the table. Sometimes I have a hard time finding pieces that "go" together without being too "matchy-matchy," but I was really thrilled with the simple option. I think it will look so great over our island, too! Did I tell you how excited I am about our kitchen island. I can't wait to see all of our kiddos sitting at it, eat cereal as I'm scrambling to get everyone to school on time! ;)

We have a built in mirror in our master bath & I loved the idea of these nickel sconces! They provide a good amount of light & contrast really well with the chandelier. Ya... we have a chandelier in our bathroom. Now, don't get me wrong, but I never imagined myself being the type of person who has a chandelier in their bathroom. Like you guys... I'm not that fancy... but look how pretty it is!! We got a great deal through Overstock + we had a coupon, too! Everything else came through Builders Lighting in Boise. I'm super grateful we have our builders to help us design this space, because I'm not sure I would totally trust my own taste! Lighting goes in this week & I seriously can't wait to see it all come together! 3.5 weeks until our move in day!