best of advents

Can you believe this is the last week of November? We’re in shock over here, too. Today’s post is part of the Ford Fiesta Movement’s Entertainment theme and we think this project is  perfect! What’s better than one project that provides entertainment for a whole month? If you’re looking to create an advent calendar (a 25 day countdown for Christmas) for the month of December, the time is now! We are each still a little undecided on which route to take, do you buy a nice calendar that will last for years and generations to come? A DIY that suits your mood each year or something in between? Here’s some advents we’re leaning toward that suit each inclination.our favorite advents

1. Hey Look’s Black and White Printable Advent // Free

When we were brainstorming making our own, and stumbled upon this one, we quickly threw our hands up in defeat. There really isn’t a way to top this one, in our minds.

2. Madetoorder’s 24 Canvas Bag Advent // $60.00

This Etsy shops bag advent is simple and pretty. We love how each bag is hung in that ceramic Urban Outfitters tree.

3. Land of Nod Gold Chambray Calendar // $49.00

This one comes in red, too and is so beautiful in person! We love the varying sizes to accommodate the various presents that you’d need to fit.

4. Studio DIY’s Take-out Box DIY // $12.00+

True to the Studio DIY name, this bright and fun advent makes us smile!

5. Hampton SC’s Geometric Paper Printable // Free

We love this one! It creates an almost art installation and adds interest to any room!

6. Carluccio’s Gourmet Chocolate Advent // $15.00

We’ve all had our turn with the waxy chocolate advents at the grocery store, why not upgrade to some real Italian chocolate?

7. Diabox’s Plastic and Vinyl Advent // $74.00

This is a more utilitarian version, and a super cool one at that!

8. Patty Doo Felt Advent // $5.00

This may look complicated but we’re thinking even as beginner sewers we could manage it. Simply cut out the shapes for each pouch and sew it on!

9. Dandee Design’s Simple Activity Advent Wreath // $5.00

We love the activity based advents that instead of a gift suggest and family activity. This one creates an awesome wreath, too!

10. Modern Pouch Advent via A&B Stories // $5.00

Another pouch advent, but we love the hand drawn designs!

11. H&M Cotton Canvas Calendar // $17.95

A simple and classic advent that is sure to stay in style year after year. 

12. Relocated Living’s Paper Bag Advent // $10.00

This is the perfect beginner’s craft. Buy stickers at a office supply store, bags at a party supply store and you’re ready to go!

So which advent are you leaning toward? Are you on Team  DIY or Buy?

 This post is sponsored by the Ford Fiesta Movement. We’ve been following the other participants videos each month, and this video might be our favorite. Check it out here!

If you’re looking to do a service based advent – where you pick one nice thing to do for someone else out of a jar each day until Christmas – here’s a peek, and we’ve included a printable list below!

25 Days of Service Ideas

land of nod trunk show

Last week we had the amazing opportunity of co-hosting a nationwide trunk show for Land of Nod with our friend and Interior Designer, Kirsten of 6th Street Design School! Eight parties in eight other cities took place the very same evening, and we loved being able to participate and create our own party at The Awful Waffle. Land of Nod has treated us so well this last year and we were beyond grateful to work them in person this time!

Would you care to see some of our photographer Lindsey Orton’s pictures of the night? Don’t be too sad if you missed it, the Land of Nod is offering Small Fry readers 15% off using “SFBLOG” from today until November 27th!

The co-hosts and Land of Nod Creative Director, Danielle who flew in from Chicago and a darling plush ornament. ☟

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Our festive photobooth backdrop handmade by Kirsten herself and the beautiful live eucalyptus garland provided by Lizy’s Lilies (it smelled incredible!) ☟

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The Intergalactic Play Set and the coziest fire for our guests. ☟

Land of Nod | Small Fry

The amazing striped pup tent and plush campfire set complete with stuffed hot dogs and marshmallows for roasting. ☟

Land of Nod | Small Fry

The most stunning floral arrangements by Lizy’s Lilies. ☝

While everyone noshed on waffles, frites, pizzas, and beverages we prepared an awesome raffle of some of our favorite Land of Nod items. Nothing is better than surprising friends with fun gifts! ☟

Land of Nod | Small Fry

From plush toys,

nod6To doll houses, everyone was so enthusiastic and made it so much fun!
nod8Land of Nod | Small Fry

We got a head start on our Christmas shopping, and couldn’t pass up a spin in the old photobooth. Our photographer Lindsey Orton was as usual, a great sport for us! Also true to form, we found ourselves eating non-stop the whole evening. Whether it was waffles, or the most killer key lime sugar cookies from Cookie Haven, we were in heaven.

Land of Nod | Small Fry

Thanks again to Land of Nod, Kirsten and all our awesome party contributors and guests! We’ve linked up with the other eight cities as well so you can see each unique party! Don’t forget to use “SFBLOG” on your next Land of Nod purchase for 15% off! Maybe by next Christmas we can convince Land of Nod to set up a permanent shop in Utah?!
PARTY SOURCES:
Venue: Awful Waffle
Photography: Lindsey Orton
Florals: Lizy’s Lilies
Gift Bags: Cooke Haven & Land of Nod
Attire: Keep reading for a list after the jump!
Playlist:Small Fry Christmas Playlist
OTHER PARTY HOSTS:
Atlanta: Joni Lay of Lay Baby Lay
Boise: Kirsten Grove of Simply Grove
Charleston: Chassity Evans of Look Linger Love
D.C.: Darcy Troutman of No Monsters in My Bed & Rebecca + Suzanne of A Feteful Life
Kansas City: Carrie & Morgan of Ampersand Design Studios
Los Angeles: Kelly Lanza of Studio DIY & The Honest Company
Nashville: Raechel Meyers of Finding My Feet 
San Francisco: Cristin Bisbee Priest of Simplified Bee & Michaela Warner of Michaela Noelle Design at The Makery.
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Meet a Small Fry : Matilda

Today we have a special Meet a Small Fry for you! It is all about Matilda, the fourteen month old fighter and her champion mother, Kelly.

“Last summer my husband and I, along with our two and a half year old son Parker, moved across the country. We had so much to look forward to but were most excited for the arrival of our second child. A girl to be named Matilda. Like most parents we had some worries, but never in a million years could we have imagined the amount of pain, heartbreak, and happiness that her arrival would bring.

Matilda was born on September 21st, 2012. She was perfect and healthy. We took her home, we ate chocolate cake, and we laughed and danced in the living room. Everything was how it should be. Until she started sleeping more, eating less, and throwing up after nursing. We took her to the ER when she was eight days old, which led to an ambulance ride to the nearest children’s hospital and a subsequent transfer to NYC. I was told my now nine-day-old baby was in critical condition with acute liver failure.

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To this day, I have no idea what happened. I cannot comprehend how I went from holding the most beautiful healthy baby girl I had ever seen to watching her limp body wither away.

Matilda was placed on the top of the transplant waiting list – she weighed 6 pounds and would need a whole liver from a baby of similar size. This broke my heart. I was naive and had never considered that babies need small organs.

The idea of a liver transplant honestly terrified me. The statistics for surviving such a surgery at Matilda’s weight and age did not encourage a hopeful outlook. I couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to Matilda at the door of an operating room and worse, not being by her side if she were to pass. I looked to previous neonatal liver transplant recipients for encouragement and to my faith for solace.

The days leading up to Matilda’s transplant were overwhelming. I remember feeling butterflies every time I looked at her. She was slipping away; we could see that. Complications continued to stack up and talk of removing Matilda from the waiting list grew closer by the minute. They warned us that she might not remain a viable candidate for much longer.

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We refused to lose hope and were determined to enjoy life by celebrating the time we had together. I made Matilda an owl costume for Halloween. She looked adorable.

Then November 2nd, Matilda’s six-week birthday, her match was found. It came from a two week old. When the transplant team came to us with the news, we felt confident. Our last hours with Matilda prior to the transplant were peaceful and beautiful. We held her hand, we read her stories, sang her songs, and prayed for comfort and strength. The transplant went better than anyone could have imagined. The surgeon said it was remarkable that she was still alive. Only 1% of her original liver was still functional when they removed it from her tiny body.

Meet a Small Fry : Matilda

Every day, every moment that I hold Matilda close, kiss her cheeks, and make her laugh I am reminded that she is a gift. The moments that I have with her were conceived, nourished, and brought into this world by another family. A mother chose – in what I imagine to have been the saddest moment of her life – to bring light into my life through the gift of organ donation.

We were blessed, many are not. Please take a moment to consider registering yourself and your children to become organ donors and save lives in the wake of tragedy.”

Thanks so much for your moving words, Kelly! You can follow Kelly, Matilda and their family on their blog Cloudy Day Gray. If you are interested in registering to be an organ donor, click here for a registration map by state. 

•••

We have an awesome giveaway on our Instagram page today from our sponsor Koo De Ker! Koo De Ker has been a loyal sponsor since our very first weeks of starting Small Fry and we love their amazing shop! Visit @smallfryblog to enter to win $150 to shop.

Here’s a taste at what their shop has to offer:Koo De Ker, SLC

[Nicole's white skirt, Jenna's embellished top and Emily's lamé lounge pants]

(Re)Squeeze

Every month we meet together as a team and brainstorm content for the upcoming weeks ahead. Last year we had “reusable applesauce pouch” on that list because our boys love the squeezable fruit pouches and can easily go through a box in one sitting. That little habit adds up fast!  So, we looked into the concept for a moment when we realized we didn’t have the know-how or resources to make it happen, and it fizzled out as many of our ideas have. Turns out, the founders of ReSqueeze were thinking the same thing, but didn’t give up so easily. Thank goodness for that! We’re so excited to announce this much needed product is here and totally affordable. At $7.99 for 2 you’ve made your investment back in less a few uses, and it’s much better for the environment!

ReSqueeze

The coolest part is you have absolute control over what goes into said pouches. These, next to popsicles, are the one food that we can make healthier and our boys will still eat it. Just one healthier option we tried was putting just about 1/4th of the pouch with carrot or squash puree and the rest with apples. The boys didn’t even notice! One point for the moms. ReSqueeze has a whole page of recipes to try out as well!

REsqueeze resuable pouches

If you head to our Instagram page you can win your own set of ReSqueeze today!

More ReSqueeze via Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest

holiday gift guide: for mum

It’s our turn! We tried to be an unbiased party, but we couldn’t help it, so here’s some items we love, covet and crave.

holiday gift guide for mum

1. Our friend Joy picked Lo & Sons as her favorite must have item in our birthday giveaway a couple months ago, and we took notice. Lo & Sons has the most incredible line of carry-all type of bags. They’re easy to clean, hold everything, yet feel luxe at the same time. This Catalina Weekender [$120] is calling our name! Even better they’re offering 20% off orders with the “PRETHANKSGIVING2013″ code at check-out!

2. We can’t help but be sentimental about our families and we love little reminders that we can carry with us everyday. The Shine Project‘s shop Threads makes the most affordable necklaces and even more amazing is their cause. They employ at-risk youth, and their charity provides them with funds to attend college. Many are first generation college students with big dreams, and we love that the Shine Project has taken an interest in them. // Initial Necklace [$26]

3. If you follow us on Instagram you already know that we’re working on a very special design project for Albion Fit for Spring 2014! We’ve been spending a lot of time pouring over their line, testing and reviewing products and we can happily vouch: they’re amazing! We love their thick work out pants that rival some much more expensive brands we’ve tried. Top it with this sweet but tough Alpine jacket! [$64]

4. We grapple with keeping a good family record. We know we want to, but journaling, personal blogging, and scrapbooks have totally escaped us! One thing we are good at upkeeping is Instagram! After testing out several companies, Artifact Uprising is our brand of choice for beautiful Instagram books. For the busy mom, completing a book like this for her might be the best gift we can think of! [$12]
5. Jewelry can be a tricky purchase for another person, but simply beautiful pieces we can wear everyday with any outfit are always a home run! I Love You Couture has awesome everyday wear and then those stand out statement pieces as well. [$29]
6. Have you ever gotten emotional about a blanket? No? Us Either. ;) Our boys have loved and used their Little Giraffe blankets since they were tiny babies and there aren’t many material things we can think of that have stood the test of time quite like these blankets. Can we get a hallelujah for the adult sized blankets?! This one is the Dolce Moroccan Throw [$159]
7. If there’s one thing that a crazed mum can easily forget it’s to hydrate! And since Diet Coke doesn’t count, finding the perfect portable reusable bottle is vital. Life Factory makes this beauty. [$22]
8. A trip to the spa is always a good idea. It’s the kind of thing that some women avoid buying for themselves, but are secretly dying to go. A medical spa – we love Spa Trouvé in Orem/Highland – is even better because you can take care of problems like adult acne, hormone therapy, spider veins, unwanted wrinkles and hair removal, but also more relaxing treatments, too!
Locals,  Spa Trouvé is honoring their Black Friday deals a week early just for you! Check out their special prices below:
Spa Trouve
So now that you’ve seen our list, what are you asking for this Christmas? We’d love to hear!