a new year

By Jenna.

2014. In a way I can’t believe it’s over, in another I look back at these 365 days that felt at times like 30,000. It was the hardest year of my life but also the most blessed. Isn’t that how life works? It gives, it takes and in the end you’re left in a introspective balance that causes you to pause and humbly thank the trials that refined your heart.Image-1

I’m leaving in 2014:
Self Doubt. In a year of weaknesses, miss-steps, struggle and absolute bare bones humility I learned that we’re all just people. Real life people. Pushing through the muck of night to taste the sweet of the morning sunshine. None of us are exempt from the hardships of existence and so I no longer allow myself to believe that my trials are from lack of strength on my part. I may not handle all that’s thrown at me with grace, but I face it, and in 2015 I plan to give myself (and others) that credit.
I’m taking with me in to 2015:
Simplicity. I cut out much of the fat of my life in 2014 because I was forced to, but I ended up cultivating a real love for what is simple. The quiet moments playing with my children without a staged Instagram photo, a belly laugh with my husband while we cook in the kitchen, helping a friend even when I feel helpless. Those are the experiences I cherish. As it turns out I don’t really prefer wearing heels or attending large parties. For now anyway I feel more content at an intimate dinner with friends or an early night in watching food documentaries. I’ve always felt that way, but never accepted it about myself. Am I not the life of the party? Am I not fabulous? Should I wear more fur?? Nah. In 2015 I’m taking the real Jenna with me. She’s fun, cultured and happy, but she also rarely likes exiting her sweat pants.
I have much to be grateful for as I reflect on this past year and much to look forward to in 2015. I am thankful for our corner of the Internet, for the opportunities it’s given me to grow, change and evolve as a mother, wife and friend. Thank you for reading our little blog, for your support and friendship.
To my partners in crime, Nicole and Emily, you are two of my most prized 2014 gems. Without you it is fair to say I would have made it out beat to hell rather then just bruised and scuffed. You’ve saved me when I needed the most saving and all along encouraged me that I’m not doing so bad. I love you.
Happy New Year to all of you. I hope it brings a fresh start, insurmountable love, relief from pain & exciting days full of laughter.
xo
Jenna

cranberry bundt cake

We shared this tasty and super easy recipe over at I Heart Naptime but we had to share it here as well for those of you looking for an easy, last-minute, festive dessert! We also wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas, we hope it’s wonderful! We’ll be back here next week, we miss you already. Now, back to the recipe!

First you’ll need to start by taking 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries and cooking them down over a medium-low heat. cranberries

Add 2 Tablespoons of sugar and watch as the natural juices will release and the berries will cook down and combine.

mascerate

Set the cranberries aside and start on the batter! One box of Spice Cake Mix with an Instant Vanilla Pudding package added for extra moisture.batter

Add the cranberry mixture:

mixPour batter in to a greased bundt pan – we can’t help but make everything mini, so we love this mini bundt pan! Then bake at 350 for 40-45 min.

bake

 

Once they’ve cooled completely you can drizzle icing over them. We love this recipe:

1 heaping tablespoon soft butter
2 cups powdered sugar
Milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Add milk slowly to make right consistency; add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well.If too thin, add more sugar. If too thick, add a few more drops of milk.

serve

Once they’re set, devour and enjoy! This is an awesome, quick recipe, and a great way to get the antioxidants of fresh cranberries without that bitter bite!

icing

 

CRANBERRY BUNDT CAKE

1 box spice cake mix
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding
1 1/3 c water
1/2 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/2 c fresh cranberries
2 T sugar

Set aside cranberries and sugar. Mix cake mix and pudding in a bowl. Add in wet ingredients, mix thoroughly.

In a small sauce pan over medium low heat cook cranberries and sugar for 10-15 min or until cranberries begin to pop. Stir frequently not to burn. Pour in to batter and mix together well.

Pour batter in to a greased bundt pan and bake at 350 for 40-45 min.

Icing

1 heaping tablespoon soft butter
2 cups powdered sugar
Milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Add milk slowly to make right consistency; add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well.If too thin, add more sugar. If too thick, add a few more drops of milk.

how’s your day?


Christmas is just two days away, and we’re in major prep mode to get everything ready for family time, dinners, and of course the big reveal! It’s easy for us to tune out while driving, letting those to-do lists demand all our brainpower. So we created one final activity to keep us present through this last push. This one works as a year-round DIY — it’s a great blank canvas for all sorts of games and activities — and you can add specific elements for each season (in this case, the holidays!)

Magnetic Cars

 

Start out by grabbing a few Matchbox cars. Then hot glue circular magnets to the bottoms.  Now it’s time to create your magnetic board. We simply wrapped a cookie sheet with butcher paper, added color lanes separated by craft tape, and voila! Your magnetic cars should hold firmly to the board.

Magnetic Car Wall

To customize the board for the holiday, we made it the road to the North Pole. Each child has their lane, and you can easily play the game based on behavior (Sitting quietly in the car? Move forward! Throwing things at your brother? Back you go!) But to help us fulfill our goal of being more present during trips, we based the progression of the game on questions stemming from our conversations. Here are some examples of questions for the road:

On the Go "How Was Your Day" Game

What is one nice thing you did for a friend at school today? What was something interesting you learned from your teacher today? And tailored follow-ups based on their responses: What was something you could say or do next time your friend doesn’t want to share?What is something we can do to include schoolmates who might need a friend?

On the Go "How Was Your Day" Game

The conversations that ensued were so priceless, sometimes all we need is a little incentive and focus. We had their rewards for getting to the North Pole (healthy snacks), but really, once we get our kids talking they don’t usually need a reason to keep going!

On the Go "How Was Your Day" Game

Do you have any tried and true tricks for quality car ride conversations? We’d love to hear!

This content was created in partnership with Ford to help make creativity a part of every drive this holiday season.

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luvmother

We have the  awesome Canadian brand, luvmother for a Threads review today! They are new-to-us and we are totally smitten. All their pieces are sourced in earnest and you all know how we love our basics. We knew we had to try them out for the kids!

Luvmother

 

These pieces work so well together and pieced with other items in your kiddos’ wardrobe. They layer well, wash well, and of course breathe and play well, too! We haven’t seen any fabrics like these anywhere else, they are smooth and soft, silky, but warm. Certainly the most luxe we’ve seen! We hear their Merino, but truly, softer than any sweater we’ve ever owned!Luvmother

Dash has on the Everywhere sweater, 100% Merino and so soft. We love the hidden pockets and contrast stitching! Hayes is layering up the Coral shirt under the Aha Hoody. You can see how seamlessly they pieces layer! This is a huge selling point for us, where we live the weather changes multiple times a day and layering is an absolute must!

NCC_3650

 

We love how so many pieces are unisex, mix and match within collections, but still have so much interest and details that our kids love to latch onto. Like pockets, below:luvmother

 

 

 

Here are some of our favorite pieces. So great for mixing and matching, and in timeless color palettes and silhouettes.

 

Luvmother

We love luvmother’s transparency and openness about sourcing, materials, and manufacturing, we always have a soft spot for those brands who go the extra mile to be as ethical as possible, even if it means less profit. You can read all about their practices here! And check out their entire line here. Thanks to the luvmother team for sending us these beautiful pieces that have quickly become the boys’ favorites!

2014 christmas cards

Photos by Lindsey Orton.

The Holiday greeting card exchange is one of our favorite parts of the season and we love sharing them with you here! This year we teamed up with Pinhole Press and after several years of designing our own cards – click here for 2012 and 2013 – we have to say, we really loved this super simple process! Jenna took a break this year as she prepares for her new arrival, but Nicole and Emily are sharing theirs after the jump if you’d like to see!Pinhole Press Holiday Card

Pinhole Press makes it incredibly easy with minimal, well-designed templates to start. There are options for adding one photo or many, and they have a live chat option available so if you want to change fonts, colors, formats, they can basically do it for you on the spot. We were so pleased with the quality weighted papers used in both the cards and even down to the envelopes. Everything feels so high quality!

Read more

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