A Pumpkin Patch Filled With a Grateful Heart

I just love a good pumpkin patch in the fall. These lovelies were found during our trip to Underwood Family Farms. Read all about our trip on the blog!

Isn’t fall just the greatest? Don’t worry, October is almost up which means I’ll most likely immediately be gushing over my love for Christmas very soon (yes, I’m THAT woman who gets excited when everyone starts putting up Christmas displays before Halloween is over). Although there’s about six days left of this month and our 31 Days of Halloween is beginning to wind down, the husband and I are taking our time to complete the last few activities on our date night list: carve pumpkins, rast pumpkin seeds, finish the 1,000 piece fall puzzle (almost there!), and watch those last horror movies on our list.

With all that being said, my grateful heart this week stems from the love and appreciation I feel for these little moments my husband and I share. It’s in these moments that we experience joy with one another doing something we both enjoy. This moment for me was our trip to Underwood Family Farms for their Fall Festival and pumpkin patch. After church we thought it was a good idea to try and beat any crowds (beating a crowd on the week of Halloween, yeah right Kelly) and we sort of did. Since moving around this time last year we weren’t able to participate in all the fall themed fun stuff so it was especially meaningful for us to go to a pumpkin patch this year.

I just love a good pumpkin patch in the fall. These lovelies were found during our trip to Underwood Family Farms. Read all about our trip on the blog!

Once we arrived I had to eat immediately so we grabbed some hot dogs and hung out for a bit. Then we opted for the corn maze, which was pretty fun considering it was technically geared more towards children. But hey, we did still manage to get lost, which is the fun part anyways. (Next year we are totally making a trip to SLO and doing the night maze!) Afterwards we jumped on the next tractor ride through the farm and were able to make a pit stop midway to pick our own fruit and veggies!

I just love a good pumpkin patch in the fall. These lovelies were found during our trip to Underwood Family Farms. Read all about our trip on the blog!

We both have never done this before and I have to say it was such a fun time walking up and down the patches of strawberries, picking them as we went. We filled our container full of juicy red strawberries and hitched a ride back to the patch. Next up, we enjoyed a yummy shaved ice and by that time we were ready to pick our pumpkins and head home.

Although visiting a pumpkin patch seems simple enough, it’s a wonderful time to spend with your loved ones even if you don’t have children. I am so grateful to have a husband who is willing to participate in all the fun themed activities I had planned all month long…just to wind back up and do it again for Christmas 😉 #hesakeeper

I just love a good pumpkin patch in the fall. These lovelies were found during our trip to Underwood Family Farms. Read all about our trip on the blog! I just love a good pumpkin patch in the fall. These lovelies were found during our trip to Underwood Family Farms. Read all about our trip on the blog!

You can find me linking up with Emily over at Ember Grey for her weekly Grateful Heart linkup!

How was your heart filled with gratitude this week?

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October Happenings // Coffee Date

The last week of October is upon us and once again I’m sitting here with my little cup (because that’s all I’m allowed…thanks, pregnancy) of coffee wondering where in the world this month has gone. I swear it was just September…but honestly I tend to say that about every month. It’s truly a reminder that time slows for no one. Before I head off to church with the hubs and a pumpkin patch today, I am linking up with Jenna over at Gold & Bloom and the other beautiful ladies for her Coffee Date Linkup. Here’s a tiny peek at my month in review and upcoming happenings for November.

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Favorite moments from October

Feeling the very first flutters and kicks! //
Such an exciting moment as a mama-to-be and although it began as slight movements that I swear was gas at first, they’ve turned into more pronounced movements now that we’re officially halfway there (20 weeks). Another exciting moment is now my husband is able to feel his kicks. I love seeing his face every time.

31 Days of Halloween //
October is a celebratory time in our household and my husband gets so excited each year for Halloween. We both love scary movies, haunted houses, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and who can forget a good Oktoberfest event? Well, this year I’m able to participate in some of our favorite fall things, but being pregnant presents some conflicts. This year I put a lot of effort into creating our annual 31 Days of Halloween date nights/movie marathon and it’s been so much fun trying new things and getting into the seasonal spirit with my husband. If you’re interested, read about all the activities and movies I have planned here.

Making macarons for the first time //
For a delicate dessert like this French patisserie favorite it’s surprisingly easy to make. However, the challenge is in just how delicate they really are and realizing that you’re eating 99.9% sugar (but I can easily look past the latter). The egg white mixture has to be fluffed just the right amount, the shell batter needs to be the perfect amount otherwise you have overrun circles, and the shells need to not have any bubbles. Once they hit the oven and you make your buttercream filling, it’s an easy peasy assembly from there. Although the recipe is very straight forward, only about 4 of the 20 macarons I prepared actually came out looking/tasting great…so….I’m considering it a success. Until next time!

Fixer Upper is my current obsession //
Have you heard of this show? We don’t have cable so HGTV isn’t something I watch on the regular and I’m pretty picky in regards to what kind of renovation shows keep my attention. But, when I noticed this show on the new releases section of Netflix I was curious enough to watch the first episode and OMG! I just adore Chip and Joanna, their relationship, their example of faith, their farmhouse (anyone?!), and of course the amazing work they do taking rundown homes and giving them a beautiful revival. My husband isn’t so much the handyman so watching these types of shows aren’t really his thing, but I found that we both really enjoy watching the transformation these houses go through. It’s fun to see him point out the things he’d like in a home (farmers sink, crown molding, paint color!) and take an interest in home renovations. Now if only we could move to Waco…and Netflix I’d appreciate the other 3 seasons, please and thank you.

Moments I’m most looking forward to

Our next prenatal appointment (and hearing our sweet boy’s heart beat!) on Tuesday

The season of travel in November/December to visit our families in Virginia and Texas

Blogging more with intention and purpose + stepping up my social media game

Creating November/December date night themed activities (it’s kind of my thing)

What was your month of October like? Was there anything particularly exciting? What’s going on with you?

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The New Stitch Fix App + Contest

I’m sure by now you’re all familiar with just how in love with Stitch Fix I am…and now they’ve seriously given me yet another reason to love their service above all other styling subscriptions available out there: they have an app! You’re probably thinking, what’s so significant about an app? Everyone seems to have an app these days? How does it make the service better or more convenient? Well ladies, I’m glad you thought that because here’s why.

Stitch Fix is an amazingly convenient and affordable way to upgrade your wardrobe with quality items that are hand selected by a professional stylist. For a $20 styling fee, which goes towards any purchases you make from your fixes, you receive 5 handpicked pieces ranging from dresses, jeans, pants, blouses, accessories…and the list goes on! Each time you schedule a fix (or there’s even a recurring fix option for fellow SF lovers out there) you have an opportunity to tell your stylist exactly what you’re looking for in that fix. It could be that you’re pregnant, ahem…like me, or have an event coming up or you are just in need of a few fresh items to add to your closet. No matter what your reason, Stitch Fix has you covered.

So, what’s so great and new about this app?

SCHEDULING YOUR FIXES
I love this feature and it’s super easy to use as I just did it. Now you can easily schedule a fix whenever the mood strikes you using the in-app scheduling option. The scheduler is user friendly and allows you to write your little personalized note to your stylist right there. As always, you can schedule your fix each month, every 2-3 weeks, or like me, schedule whenever you want a.k.a when your finances allow you to splurge a little.

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TRACKING YOUR FIXES
Through the Stitch Fix app you have the convenience of tracking your shipments and no more shuffling through past emails to try to find that darn tracking code! I don’t know about you, but I would seriously leave a browser open on my phone of just my tracking info so I could refresh and somewhat patiently await it’s arrival to my door. A little much, right? Well, now this lovely app makes stalking your shipment so much easier with their handy tracking feature. So much easier!

SEE WHAT’S COMING
One aspect of this app that I am most excited about is now you are able to see what your stylist picked for you before your fix even arrives. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to CHECKOUT early and snuck a look at the names of the items in my fix and tried to Google them or find a photo on Pinterest. No longer are those days! The Stitch Fix app now includes high resolution photos for your previewing pleasure.

CHECKOUT MADE EASIER
Now you have the option of checking out using your phone! This feature isn’t anything special for me personally considering I’m already trying on my new styles in the comfort of my home and it’s not too difficult to log on my computer. However, if you find yourself in a rush or like the convenience of checking out on the go, this option is a great addition to the app!

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GETTING MORE PERSONAL
If I could give any feedback to Stitch Fix it would be exactly what they’ve already accomplished thanks to their Stitch Fix app: more personalization. Now on the app you can upload a profile photo of yourself, which leaves your stylist knowing exactly who they’re styling for. Just another way Stitch Fix makes it easier for you share your personality with your stylist.

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STITCH FIX GIVEAWAY CONTEST

In celebration of the launch of their new iPhone app, Stitch Fix is offering all of us app users a chance to win $1,000 in Stitch Fix credit or be one of 1,000 winners of a fancy selfie stick! It’s possibly the easiest, and most awesome, giveaway to enter. Here’s how:

  1. Download the Stitch Fix app
  2. Like Stitch Fix on Facebook
  3. Enter your email and name on the entry form…and DONE!

I’m not one to really push products or services on my readers, but Stitch Fix is one I personally love and love to share with my friends and family. I’ve subscribed to their service for over a year now and continue to find reasons to return over and over again. Not only are they known for their platform of convenience, but communication with my stylist has always been on point, I’ve always received high quality items, and most of all, it’s within my budget so I never feel guilty about spending my hard earned paycheck on new clothes.

This post contains clickable affiliate links and I will be compensated for any purchases made using these links. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

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A Storybook Baby Shower + Invite Etiquette

I’m not quite sure when one is to plan or even have a baby shower, but they all seem so inviting, filled with love and excitement, and most of all, a bond and sisterhood that is formed through shared experiences of parenthood. I’ve only been to a couple baby showers myself, one for my sister and another for a friend, and now I can’t believe it’s my turn to take the coveted mama seat and celebrate the little one that is to come in the next few months.

When daydreaming about the type of baby shower I would like to have I’ve been presented with many options (thanks again, Pinterest!). However, there’s one theme that has always stood out to me and that’s a storybook themed shower. I suppose it’s a bit of the teacher in me that’s excited about early literacy and sharing my favorite books with my son and the love of reading right out the gate! Here, I’ve cultivated some of my favorite inspirations for a storybook themed baby shower. Enjoy!

Get inspired with this storybook themed baby shower! All of my favorite ways to share my love of reading while cultivating a library for my little one on the way!

Storybook Themed Food & Favors // via Hostess With The Mostess Blog
I adore foods that resemble or are inspired by favorite children’s stories! People are so creative and it was fun looking around at all of the different snacks.

Some of my favorites are:
THREE LITTLE PIGS: Pigs In a Blanket
GOODNIGHT MOON: Moon Pies
PETER RABBIT: Veggie Platter
HUMPTY DUMPTY: Deviled Eggs

Also, I loved the party favors being cookies, which were inspired by the book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. Adorable (and who doesn’t like cookies?)!

Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes Bunting // via DecoratorandCrafts Etsy Shop
One of my favorite types of decorations are bunting. Of any kind. They’re effortless to make yourself (or purchase) and you can seriously use them for every occasion. I love this idea of taking favorite illustrations from storybooks and turning them into decorations that fit the theme! Instant party piece and better yet, it can be achieved on a budget!

Instax Instant Camera // via Rinse, Repeat Blog
I need to invest in one of these little guys because they’re just so darn cute, but also it gives you an opportunity to snap some lovely pictures without the hassle of figuring out a DSLR or relying on your smartphone. I instantly fell in love with this idea for guests to snap a picture of themselves or with friends at the shower and write a note to either the baby or mama (being me). Not only would I love to save these notes from friends and family as a keepsake, but they make for a wonderful way to gain parenting advice or reminders of love and support during those tough days.

Baby’s First Library Book Inserts // via CreativeUnionDesign Etsy Shop
With my shower being centered around the storybook theme, my little boy will have entire library of books just waiting for him to dive into by the end of it. These little sticker inserts are perfect for use as a guest book by having guests write a little note to baby to include with their book. That way when I read to him each day I can share the generosity of family and friends and he’ll be reminded of the love that he is surrounded by. This also makes for a perfect gift for guests who live out of town or otherwise couldn’t make it to the shower!

About To Pop Favors // via Evermine Occasions
Even though baby showers are typically parties just for women, I love the idea of including my husband and the other men of our families in the celebration. Although baby showers tend to be very girly, I’ve loved poking around and finding fun activities and favors that men can enjoy right along with everyone else. I just love these “About To Pop!” party favors! Now, the original idea uses natural soda as the gift, but knowing my husband and family I would swap those out for beer 😉

Floral Shower Invitations // via My Fabuless Life Blog
No party is complete without baby shower invitations and these floral storybook themed invites are beyond adorable. These invitations in particular come with a note inviting guests to bring a favorite children’s book for the mama-to-be and even include an old school book plate that allows for guests to write sweet notes for the baby. This idea doubles as both the invite and guest book (see sticker idea above) and I think it’s a fabulous way to share the love with mama and baby.

Due Date Prediction Calendar // via Unknown (anyone know the original owner of this photo?)
Another fun activity for guests is to predict when the little bundle of joy is due. I love this idea of having a calendar printed and use a little baby footprint stamp for guests to make their predictions and sign their names. It’s fun to see who will be correct and it can later be a cute addition to any nursery once the baby arrives. P.S. those footprint stamps are super cute!

What are the appropriate dos and don’ts of hosting a baby shower for either out-of-town/state guests or honoree. These helpful reminders and tips help make this process as easy and fun for everyone invited!

Before I head off I did want to share some insight into hosting baby showers that are for out-of-town guests or honorees. In my situation my husband and I live in California, his parents live in Texas, and mine are in Virginia. Whether or not we have a baby shower here, in Texas or Virginia, we leave a good portion of our families out of luck. So, how does one host a shower and make sure no ones feelings are hurt or gets offended? This is a tricky subject as one can’t possibly please everyone, but here are some helpful hints I found to those looking to invite out-of-town guests to a baby shower.

TO SEND AN INVITE OR NOT TO SEND AN INVITE?
I believe it’s important that all guests, even those who are out-of-town or state, receive an invite to a shower. It’s thoughtful and you never know who will surprise you! Sometimes the gift of someones presence is enough of a gift and you’d be surprised how many people make the effort to make it to your shower. Even if they can’t make it, the thought is what counts and you want to make sure everyone feels included in the festivities.

TO INCLUDE THE REGISTRY INFO OR NOT?
There’s a big debate on whether or not to include a link to your baby registry on your invitations. So, I’ll leave this up for you to decide. Some believe it’s too forward to suggest an invitee must give a gift regardless of if they are able to attend where others think it’s a great resource to share. However, this is where you need to know your audience and gauge whether or not your recipients would be offended by this or not. Everyone everywhere differs, but you know your friends and family best.

*If you have a theme, such as the storybook idea, it may be helpful to include a note that suggests guests bring a themed gift such as a children’s book for baby. It’s a budget friendly gift that everyone can bring even if they decided to ship your bigger gift directly to your home. That way no one feels left out and everyone brought something to share with the mama-to-be!

SHIPPING YOUR OWN GIFTS
Shipping is a cost that a mama-to-be should include when attending a shower that is out-of-state for either her or her guests. Asking for guests to ship their gifts fit into the rude category and it’s a good rule of thumb to never assume your guests won’t have a problem doing that. Simply look up shipping costs for each size item you receive and ship them home yourself. Try traveling with one checked bag or carry-on luggage that will fit smaller gifts to help cut down on shipping costs. Keep in mind that the purpose of showers is to simply “shower” one with love and opening gifts is a major part of the celebration.

SUGGEST DON’T TELL
It is a huge no-no to tell your guests what to bring to your baby shower in regards to gifts…even if you’re the traveling mama. The fun part about showers is that gifts take all sorts of forms from actual registry items, to family heirlooms or keepsakes, handmade items, or even the surprise visit from friends and family you thought couldn’t make it. So, never tell your guests: ONLY GIFT CARDS or PICTURES OF BOUGHT ITEMS (that are shipped). It’s rude and takes away from the fun of having a baby shower in the first place. Minor suggestions (such as the baby book idea) is okay as long as you leave the option for guests to bring whatever gift they deem appropriate and want to bring.

At the end of the day, these invite etiquette ideas are simply suggestions that one should consider when inviting out-of-town/state guests. Remember that you’ll never please everyone, but the goal is to minimize as much tension or hurt feelings as humanly possible. If you’re up front with your guests that you’ll be traveling for the occasion it’s pretty common sense for your family and friends to understand and plan accordingly. You know your guests best and at the end of the day it should be a day of celebrating you and your little one on the way!

Do you have any invite etiquette suggestions that should be added to this list? What do you personally find rude when receiving an invite, especially if you live out-of-town/state?

Linking up with…

The Diary of a Real Housewife
The Farmer’s Wife
Meet at the Barre
Home of Malones

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