Friday, October 20, 2017

Links I Love, Right Now

Free People Ve lvet Jacket

Hey guys! It's been a pretty intense week around here, with a memorial for my "funderful" (her trademark word) step grandmother who passed away suddenly last week, Robbie having to go back on the road after a long period at home, Robbie's car breaking down on the highway which caused me to miss the memorial lunch, a terminated contract on the house we were buying, a bunch of appointments for the kids and extra activities, etc. I'm fried, man. I needed to take a couple of hours to just check out, and I probably should have meditated or read a book, but instead I got lost on the internet. And here are all the cool links I found...

Many of the most important people in my life live in Sonoma county (my two best friends, the person who married us at our wedding, and dozens of my oldest and dearest friends), and it has been devastating to hear (and see) what has been happening to their home. I feel helpless being so far away, but there are ways to help. My friends have been volunteering too, which, if you are local, is something they desperately need.

One of these days I'm going to give into Essley's request for a dog. I know this because (1) it's been six years since we had to say goodbye to Bubby dog and I still miss him so much and (2) I keep finding myself reading things like this: 15 Things That Happen When You Adopt a Dog.

I have probably looked at this velvet jacket (in the top image) two dozen times since I first spotted it on Monday. If we weren't buying a house right now it would be in my shopping cart already. It's absolutely brilliant.

Man do I love science. For the first time, a neutron star collision created incredible light and gravitational waves and it was freaking amazing.

This piece from Marie Claire on sexual assault, titled "What If We Just Believed Women," is worth sharing.

Woohoo! California is banning the sale of animals from puppy mills! Crossing my fingers the rest of the country follows suit.

It would take some serious convincing, but if Robbie agreed to these Hanna Andersson (one of my absolutely favorite kids brands) matching family pajamas for the holiday season, I would probably cry tears of joy. I mean, come on. So cute.

I found this piece on Erica Komisar's book on the importance of prioritizing motherhood in your child's first three years to be very thought provoking. As a mom who works from home but works a lot, I thought I would just feel guilty after reading it. But I didn't. It's worth the read.

Some hilariously bad ass librarians did their own Kardashian inspired photo shoot and the results are beyond fanatics.

This is definitely the best looking sleeper sofa I've ever seen.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Next week is another intense one for us, but for now, I'm just grateful for the weekend and focusing on all of the positive, wonderful things in my life. There are a lot of them, even in the more challenging times. (P.S. You can view past Links I Love posts here.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Easy Homemade Play Dough

How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean
I have been compensated by Johnson's® Baby for this post; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.

On the last day of preschool last year, Essley brought home a sheet of paper with a beach ball she'd colored and the answer to a question her teachers asked about her favorite part of preschool. Her answer: "playing with the play dough." From the entire year of her first ever preschool experience, she'd decided that playing with play dough was the most memorable part of it. And honestly, I wasn't surprised. The kid loves everything about play dough, from creating mini sculptures to the act of just squishing it between her hands. And now that Emmett has (thank you universe) mostly moved beyond the "I must eat everything I touch" phase, he's started to join in on the fun too.

Last weekend, I was looking through the house, trying to find things we had on hand to use for a craft or activity for the kids. I glanced at the sheet of paper Essley had brought home from school declaring her love for play dough, then spotted our bottle of Johnson's® Baby Lotion. Suddenly I had an idea - we'd experiment with making our own play dough. It turns out that it worked really well, and it's incredibly easy to make. There's also a bonus - it makes your hands all sorts of soft too. This is a really fantastic activity as the weather starts to cool off and the little ones are stuck inside more often. It's also only three ingredients, and for the most part, it's not messy. And you can't ask for more than that when it comes to crafts with kids, right?

How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean
How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean
How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean

1 cup Johnson's® Baby Lotion (any variety)
2 cups corn starch
food coloring

Pour the cornstarch into a large mixing bowl. Add the Johnson's® Baby Lotion, and begin mixing with your hands. The more you knead, the softer it becomes. Separate the dough into the number of colors you'd like to make it (we did three). Add a drop or two of food coloring to each pieces of dough and knead until blended. Play!

How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean
How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean
How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean
How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean
How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean

This play dough makes for a good hour or more of nonstop fun for the kids (which is a win for the parent too). And they love the process of making it as much as they enjoy playing with it afterward. The next time you're at your local Walmart, grab a bottle of Johnson's® Baby Lotion from the baby aisle in the kids' section (and a box of cornstarch and some food coloring if you don't have them at home), and make this super easy play dough with your kids.

If you make this fun project, I'd love to hear what you think! And for more creative baby product hacks, check out this fun Pinterest board.

If someone is reporting an adverse event or a product quality complaint, please tell them to call the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) North America Consumer Care Center at 800-361-8068 during normal business hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. After normal business hours, they can report adverse events or product quality complaints through Contact Us page.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

8 Stylish + Cozy Throw Blankets

Stylish and Cozy Throw Blankets for Fall and Winter

I have this thing for blankets. I'm not sure if it's because I appreciate the fact that they are basically the most useful pieces of decor ever invented (a blanket thrown over the back of a chair or sofa can make a room) or just that I'm always cold, but I have a large basket full of them in my living room, as well as several strewn across furniture at all times. With the season of cozy quickly approaching, I thought this was the perfect time to share some of my current favorite throw blankets with all of you.

Who else is a throw blanket junkie? Which one above is your favorite?


Monday, October 16, 2017

Our Halloween Inspired Mantel and Fireplace

This post was sponsored by Lowe’s as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I've always loved Halloween, but unlike the holiday season, I don't usually do a lot of decorating for it. This isn't because I don't want to decorate (I mean seriously, there is little I love more than decorating for holidays); it's because usually October 28th or 29th rolls around and I realize that the box of Halloween decorations (that I've owned since I was about 8) is still sitting at the top of the basement stairs where I set it down back on October 1st. This year, I decided that part of the reason for my lack of motivation has been the fact that I'm just not inspired by, you know, the half burned out plastic pumpkin lights and chipped ceramic ghost and matted cotton spider webs inside that box, and that it was time to say goodbye to all of that and start fresh. I was going to head over to Lowes, stock up on new Halloween decor, and make my house festive. And I was going to start with the area we see the most - the mantel/fireplace area in our living room. (PSSST! Hover over any of the images of our Halloween decorated fireplace in this post and click on the tags to directly shop the products!)

Before: Our super boring, so not festive mantel and fireplace.

After: Our super spooky, fall-tastic, oh-so-festive mantel and fireplace.

Essley was, of course, thrilled with the idea of going to get Halloween decorations, so she came along to Lowe's with me as my personal Halloween shopping partner. My favorite thing to decorate with during this time of year (or any time of year) is flowers. So we headed into the nursery area first and picked up two sets of white mums in pretty planters. Essley spotted the pumpkins right away, so we grabbed a couple of them, along with several sets of mini gourds and mini pumpkins (and at $3.98 per 5 pack, I didn't hold back; gotta love how Lowes offers such great values on harvest and Halloween decor!). Back inside I saw the prettiest white craft pumpkins (white pumpkins are my Halloween decor jam), and picked three in different sizes (12.2 inch, 7.48 inch, and 7.28 inch). I also noticed the cutest rustic Jack-O-Lantern greeters, so we grabbed two of those of well. I tend to prefer simple, neutral decor in general, so I was good at this point, but my shopping partner had other ideas. And when your three and a half year old puts her hand on her hips and says, "mommy, this stuff is really pretty, but the house is gonna need some spooky spirit," you instantly realize the value of compromise when it means a joyous child on a holiday, and you amp up your houses's spooky spirit already. Essley fell in love with an equal parts creepy and pretty purple prelit berry and sparkly leaf Halloween wreath and a set of Halloween LED string lights that changed color from purple to orange that she described as "scary cool." So in the cart they went as well. I'm not sure who was more excited to get home and get this stuff set up.

We had so much fun getting into the Halloween spirit while were decorating (complete with Halloween movies and apple cider), and things came together really easily. One of the first things I do when arranging decor on a mantel is to focus on simple layers. I try to incorporate objects of different sizes and shapes that are tied together either by color or texture. The mixed gourds and mini pumpkins were perfect for this, so I started there. Having some sort of symmetry on either side of a fireplace frames nicely and ties the space together well, so I positioned the mums accordingly to accomplish this. Then I played around with layering the pumpkins and white craft pumpkins, and arranging the jack-o-lantern greeters. I was actually really happy with how things looked at this point - simple, neutral, and natural. But Essley was right - we needed some spooky spirit. So we hung the lights along the mantel, and hung the wreath. And then, of course, we turned them on. One of my biggest tips for holiday decorating, especially when you have kids, is to create a nice balance of beautiful and fun. I'd say that thanks to Lowes, we did a pretty great job of accomplishing this. As Essley told my husband, it looked "pretty and magical and creepy." In other words, it was perfect. We're looking forward to enjoying it throughout the month, and in future years as well!

Have you decorated your mantel or fireplace for Halloween? What are your favorite things to decorate with this time of year?