Favorite Fall Etsy Finds

Etsy has quickly become my favorite place to shop for cute handmade items that you can’t find anywhere else or in a traditional store. Farmhouse chic has become widely popular thanks in part to the genius that is Joanna Gaines and the #fixerupper revolution that has taken over our Pinterest dreams (FYI my spirit animal is Joanna Gaines); and today I am sharing a few of my favorite finds from across various Etsy shops just in time for fall and the holidays coming up.

This post does contain affiliate links, but any cents made from your clicks goes towards supporting this blog to continue sharing what fills my soul with inspiration! I only share products and businesses that I am personally passionate about or use myself. I hope you enjoy!

Image Source: papercasestudio

How adorable are these custom painted pumpkins, people (unintended alliteration anyone)?! I love the quality of each handwritten pumpkin by Papercase Studio – and the best part is that they’re not even real! They’re foam pumpkins which means you get to enjoy these bad boys every year. Oh, and she does super cute Christmas hand-lettered ornaments too!

Image Source: twineandcottonmarket

If you haven’t checked out fellow lifestyle blogger Astleigh’s new Etsy shop Twine & Cotton Market then you’re truly missing out. One of my favorite things about fall and the changing of the seasons are scented candles. I love me some Yankee Candle but we can all agree they’re expensive. Astleigh hand-pours each wax candle (I love the wood wick too!) and when you receive your order there’s just something so warm and cozy about knowing the care that went into each order. My favorite fall scents are: Autumn Afternoon and Spiced Lattes & Scarves…AND she just began pre-orders for her Christmas line of scented candles!

Last year I purchased this rustic holiday card holder from Craft Culture Company and I am so glad I did! Not only was it perfect for displaying all of our Christmas cards, but it’s proven to be a great wall display for other cards throughout the year like Greyson’s birth, other friend’s birth announcements, Greyson’s dedication at church, etc. The best part is that it even looks great in our living room with just the wreath.

Image Source: rusticvue

I’m kind of in love with blanket ladders and these ladders from Rustic Vue are super adorable. I love that they offer different stain options, which can go perfectly in any room! All I need now is the temperature to dip down a bit!

Image Source: chareststudios

I love saving on space, especially in the kitchen, and these wire hanging produce baskets from Charest Studios are not only adorable but useful! Living minimally has really helped me hone in on items for the house that have multiple purposes. So, these aren’t just useful for storing fruit and veggies but they can also save space on countertops as well as be a decorative piece for your kitchen! But who says you have to use them in the kitchen? I’d love to find uses for them all over the house such as hanging planters for succulents or ivy, in the bathroom to hold toiletries, or even in Greyson’s nursery for his toys or stuffed animals. Love!

Image Source: houseofbelongingLLC

I have had my eye on a few of these canvases from House of Belonging for quite some time not only for Greyson’s nursery when we move but others for around the house. I stand in awe of a woman and creative who shines in her faith and uses her Godly talent to create keepsakes like these for other families. I particularly love this canvas of the blessing that is my son because it captures perfectly the emotion of feeling fulfilled because of his presence in my life.

And… Image Source: chummytees

…although not quite fall specific, I did feel like I needed to pop this into my little list here of favorites. When my husband and I saw this t-shirt at a beer festival this past summer it kind of blew our minds. We couldn’t help but chuckle (and even ask the young man where he got it to be met with “uhh…online”) and after doing some looking I actually found it! As much as I love my cup of coffee in the morning, or pretty much all day long, there are times when coffee indeed needs to step aside for that nice tall glass of wine. Can I get an amen?

Do you love Etsy as much as I do? Do you have a favorite shop or seller – share them in the comments as I loved discovering new shops!

 

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How To Get Better Sleep & Achieve Your Goals

After setting our sleep schedules and establishing those necessary routines with Greyson, especially at night, it’s felt as though we’ve finally taken back control of our sleep. And oh what a glorious feeling it is! Although I’d like to take credit for figuring it all out, regaining quality sleep is achieved when following a number of these easy steps courtesy of Casper.

Hoping this picture captures the realness of #momlife

Are you like me and every time January 1st inches closer I begin reflecting and thinking about the resolutions ahead? I mean, I have many blog posts dedicated to this very concept – however, October 19th is an equally important date to remember this year and this is why. It just so happens to be Evaluate Your Life Day. Never heard of it? To be quite frank, neither have I…but today I get to share with all of you how important of sleep is to evaluating your life and meeting those goals (or resolutions) you’ve set for yourself.

Especially as a new mom, sleep is something I cherish whether it’s a brief 15 minutes, a full opportunity to nap, or that hallelujah moment where I can get the full uninterrupted 8+ hours through the night. Sleep can also be hard to come by. I remember when we brought Greyson home for the first time and it all of a sudden the concept of sleep was nonexistent. We managed, over time, to get our bearings but even then the whole ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ wasn’t something that worked for me as I wasn’t used to sleeping during the day (and that Grey’s Anatomy line where April says “babies don’t sleep!” – so true!). I remember feeling anxious, my mind was busy running through every possible thought, hunger at night definitely played a huge role considering I was nursing full time, and even though I was running on fumes somehow I just didn’t feel tired.

Not getting enough sleep is probably one of the most common problems AND reasons I don’t reach the goals I’ve set for myself. Whether it’s finishing a set of blog posts on time, creating products for my Teachers Pay Teachers online store, or even get a small workout in. Sleep is key to rebuilding your body and making you feel reenergized so that you can tackle the day’s to-do list!

Luckily as my husband and I have set our sleep schedules and have established those necessary routines with Greyson, especially at night, it’s felt as though we’ve finally taken back control of our sleep. And oh what a glorious feeling it is! Although I’d like to take credit for figuring it all out, regaining quality sleep is achieved when following a number of these easy steps courtesy of Casper.

anxiety
nottired

Another great way for me to loosen up before bed is reading. I’ve set a little challenge for myself to read the entire Harry Potter series (considering I’m late to the game and reading them all for the first time). This motivates me to not only read, but to engage my mind in something else rather than filling it with things from the day or tomorrow’s worries. Reading before bedtime has really helped me relax and wind down from these busy mom days. Plus it’s Harry Potter and who wouldn’t want to escape into his magic world for a bit?

busy

I am very guilty of having a busy mind and more than once it’s kept me up staring at the dark ceiling while my husband slept soundly next to me. I would be thinking about conversations had that day, things I need to check off my calendar or to-do list, replay tv or movies I had watched, or even daydream about all the decorating I’m excited to do once we move into our two bedroom….in seven months, people! Having a bedtime ritual (see above) like taking a warm bath/shower then read a few chapters of Harry Potter has really helped me calm my mind lately. I’ve also tried to cut out any late night movies or television and eating so that my body winds down naturally.

discomfort

This one is a HUGE thing to consider when trying to get those precious z’s at night. I had never thought about the quality of mattress and how important it is to have one until my husband and I began dating and I slept on his Tempur-Pedic bed for the first time. Mind blown. Casper has it completely right when they recommend investing in a proper, and well-designed mattress along with quality bedding and sleepwear. Let’s face it, mattresses can run you into the thousands of dollars but if it means you’ll have a high quality bed for 10+ years (many come with amazing warranties) and you’re able to get those 8+ hours every night – it virtually pays for itself. It only takes sleeping on the worst spring mattress and chronic back aches for me to never go cheap on sleep ever again.

hunger

A good rule of thumb I learned while on my weight loss journey the last two years with Weight Watchers (prior to getting pregnant – because any diet goes out the window) was to quit eating/snacking by 8pm, drink plenty of water throughout the day, and cut out as much salt, soda, and caffeine as possible. I also found that cutting back on the wine or cocktails helped curb my hunger since alcohol had a tendency to make me hungry for the very things I shouldn’t be eating at 10pm on a Tuesday. Snacking on whole nuts, string cheese, or other high protein and carb-friendly foods is not only a great healthy alternative, but it helps curb those cravings at night. And ALWAYS DRINK THE WATER. Water helps me fill up and trick my mind into thinking I’m full.

noise

Noise has never really been an issue for me personally, but I do have to say that I enjoy having our box fan (we don’t have air conditioning here by the ocean in CA) running at night for the white noise. It helps cut out any of those outdoor sounds like the lovely train that goes right by our house or just the plain silence that fills the evening air. A little white noise puts me to sleep in a snap.

Which brings me to..

temp

Temperature is another overlooked, but super important, factor for me. I tend to run hot anyways so always having a fan nearby not only provides me with white noise but helps keep me cool at night. I love to snuggle up with an extra blanket if I have to and I personally find it easier to get comfortable by putting on layers versus being too hot and feeling miserable.

sunday

A baby makes for a wonderful alarm clock because like literal clockwork, Greyson is up every morning by 8am at the earliest. Sometimes we’re lucky to pull him into bed with us and gain a couple more z’s but nonetheless we’re up at the same time pretty much every day. However, I am more guilty of staying up too late. Since my husband has been home and waiting to begin his new job it’s like we’ve been on summer vacation. Although it’s great, it’s not so great for quality sleep knowing we’re going to have to get up by 8am with Greyson. So, a goal for me is to establish a proper bedtime around 9-10pm each night.

So, for this years’ Evaluate Your Life Day sit back for a moment and see where you can tweak a few things in your life that will make you feel motivated and eager to take on the day. Sleep quality is definitely on my list and a huge thanks to Casper for lending me these sleep cards to share with you all today!

Which one of these sleep problem cards do you most resinate with? What little change can you make to get better sleep and to conquer that problem?

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A Pumpkin Patch Filled Sunday

pumpkin patch

This weekend was all about pumpkin patches! We love going to our favorite spot, Underwood Family Farms, which is just down the road a bit from Ventura. They have a whole setup of animals, tractor rides, pumpkin launching, and events leading up to Halloween. Families from all over make their way out and for $20 a person (kids under 2 years old are free) it definitely pays for a fun, and new, experience for Greyson!

Now, taking a seven month old takes timing and planning before getting on the road. Luckily Greyson enjoys riding in the car ever since we upgraded his carseat and like always, he fell asleep during our 30 minute ride to the farm. This was the first #parentingwin of the day since by the time we arrived he was well rested. Then it was all about managing the stroller (we haven’t received our Tula carrier in the mail yet) and diaper bag which, of course, is filled with toys and his Lil’Beanies snacks for those fussier moments. Thankfully though we didn’t need them as Greyson really seemed to enjoy the pumpkin patch!

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

He was so curious about the animals such as the chickens and piggies! Underwood also had baby and mama goats too! Although he wasn’t quite sure what to make of them yet, he did seem to want to watch them. Perhaps a petting zoo in the future? It was a fun memory because Philip grew up taking care of the chickens at his grandmother’s house in Texas.

pumpkin patch

I was curious to see how he would do on the tractor ride around the farm (they even have pick your own fruit and veggies!) and as you can tell by the picture he loved it. He mostly sat on our laps but also enjoyed peeking over to look around. I know this will be one of our favorite things to do as he continues to grow up!

pumpkin patch

After the tractor ride we stopped off to the actual pumpkin patch area where we tried to get a few photos of Greyson with the little pumpkins (we bought our pumpkins for carving earlier) and of course getting a seven month old to pose for cute framable photos was next to impossible. I mean, I don’t blame him – hay and pumpkins are a new thing to touch and feel.

And I can’t leave a pumpkin patch post without sharing these yummy rice krispie treats I made…wait for it…in the shape of pumpkins! They turned out so adorable considering this was the first time I’ve ever made them. Such an easy recipe and I’ve adapted it a bit from the original recipe found on Pinterest. You can find my recipe below.

Make these easy pumpkin shaped rice krispie treats! I’ve adapted the original recipe a touch which makes the perfect treat within minutes!Original Recipe

My Recipe:

5 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 7oz Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
Red and yellow food coloring
Tootsie Rolls

Instructions:

  1. On medium heat melt butter until slightly browned.
  2. Add vanilla and marshmallow creme. Stir using a rubber-ended spatula until marshmallow becomes smooth then add food coloring until desired orange color. Continue stirring – making sure not to burn. Turn down heat if needed.
  3. Stir in rice krispies one cup at a time. Keep stirring until all krispies have been blended in and take off of heat. Once cool enough to handle, form into pumpkins using your hands (don’t worry, you won’t get orange on you) making them whatever size you’d like. Cut Tootsie Rolls and place on top as pumpkin stumps.

Linking up with Emily over at Ember Grey.

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

Many may not know but October is more than just Breast Cancer Awareness month. It also happens to be an awareness month for many illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions; however one in particular hits home for me. Today, and every October 15th, marks Pregnancy & Infant Loss awareness month and unfortunately it’s a difficult and painful topic to discuss openly with others. It will be a little over a year since my husband and I lost our first pregnancy back in March of 2015. We were eager to begin planning our family but, like so many others, we didn’t get the chance to meet our little boy or girl as I had suffered a miscarriage within the early weeks of my pregnancy. Today I am bringing my original post about this tragic time out from the archives and sharing it with all of you as not only a means to bring silent suffering to the surface, but to be an encouragement to others out there and prove that there is hope through it all and that God will meet you when you need Him most.

{From The Archives – April 6, 2015}

Miscarriage doesn’t define you as a woman. See how my husband and I found strength and hope through our experience.

When it comes to planning a family one is filled with excitement, maybe a healthy level of nervousness, but most of which, one feels things inside them that they never had felt before. At least, that is what it had been like for my husband and I. Ever since we began dating we’ve always talked about our love of children and that we were both excited by the thought that one day we would bring our very own baby into the world. Maybe two.

Last month we both decided that we weren’t necessarily trying to conceive, but rather we were not preventing it from happening. In doing so we were excited to see if our efforts would produce those magical positive lines on the pregnancy test…but all-the-while remembering to not get our hopes up if it doesn’t happen on the first attempt. However, one morning I decided to take a test after I hadn’t gotten ‘aunt sue’ the previous weekend and it seemed we got it right and ‘pregnant’ appeared on our at-home test. OMG.

In that moment I stood still looking at the test, making sure it was real. I was flooded with emotions that ranged from disbelief, excitement, fear….everything you could possible imagine. My husband was working that morning and my first thought was to call him immediately to tell him the news. However, I knew that the building he works in gets poor reception and frankly it would be a long shot to get through to him right away. After a few failed attempts to get a hold of him he finally calls and I tell him the news. His reaction was priceless. There was this small pause and the only thing he could utter was “really?!”. To hear the excitement in his voice will be something I will remember forever.

The following week we were excited new parents of a tiny being the size of an orange seed, or so the What to Expect app told me. Philip and I were beginning to think into the future of what it would be like to have a baby around the house, planning ahead in terms of the furniture we’d need for the apartment, and coming up with fun ways to tell our parents in the coming weeks. I had the beginnings of cravings….meat and a lot of it. I felt especially tired. All. The. Time. Although I didn’t ‘look’ pregnant, it’s a funny feeling because I believe each woman just knows when her body is different. It’s a weird but enjoyable feeling all around. And setting that first doctors appointment makes it all the more real.

For many days that week my husband had been working mid-shifts, which means he goes into work at midnight and returns home around 8am. It was a Sunday evening and a few hours after going to bed Philip awoke to get ready for work. I noticed I had been experiencing some minor cramping, but nothing to alarm me. After he left my cramps were becoming more intense, almost like when I start my period. I was beginning to feel a bit nervous but tried to remain calm and pray for God to watch over me and our little orange seed.

Another thing you’ll notice when you get pregnant is the need to pee all the time. So, around 3am I got up to use the restroom and what I found terrified me and broke my heart all at the same time. Blood. Not just the ‘normal’ spotting everyone tells you is fine; actual blood. I knew deep down what was happening but it was almost like I didn’t want to believe it. I was miscarrying at 5 weeks.

The worst feeling beyond what was happening was experiencing it alone. With Philip at work I couldn’t process that at that moment the fact that I was losing our first pregnancy. I was filled with guilt because I thought I had one job and I couldn’t do that right. For some reason my body was rejecting something my husband and I looked so much forward to and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. All I could do in that bathroom was pray.

When you miscarry, no matter how far along you are, it isn’t just one event that occurs. It’s made up of a bunch of smaller events that almost makes you relive the previous one, making it feel that much worse. So, not only was my body going through this process, my mind was racing, my emotions were all over the place, and now I had the job of telling my husband….while he was at work. I got him on the phone and all I could do is cry and tell him that I was losing the pregnancy. The heartbreak I could sense over that phone call was even more heartbreaking. You may not know, but pregnancy is an exciting period for both the expectant mother AND the father. To know that this news crushed my husband, and me having to be the one to tell him, shattered me. After having a moment to process what I had told him, he told me to call our doctor and see what we should do next. I did. At 3:30am and the doctor told us to come in when the office opened at 9am. I took off of work to make that appointment and Philip came home right then.

If I didn’t already feel like a failure, sitting in a doctors office filled with pregnant happy women and couples who are making their routine visit didn’t make me feel any better. Here I sat, in sweats and oversized sunglasses to hide my swelling eyes, trying to blend into the walls so no one could see me and the pain I was feeling. I was sitting there, continuing to bleed and lose what would have been our baby, embarrassed and humiliated. Finally it was our turn and the doctor confirmed what we already knew. He sent me to get blood work done and we are to make an appointment for two weeks later and we would reconvene and make a plan to move forward. The rest of the week the cramps continued and I experienced what is like my period. 5 days. 5 days of being reminded of what we lost and what I couldn’t provide for my husband and I.

However, amiss all of this pain, the one thing I didn’t do was try to find blame. I didn’t question “why is this happening to me?!”. I understood that, for a reason beyond myself, this pregnancy didn’t take. It wasn’t anything I did or didn’t do. It was simply that it wasn’t meant to be this first time around.

I learned a lot throughout this process and my faith kept me strong even through the toughest of chapters. I didn’t question God’s plan for us, I didn’t question why He would allow such a horrible thing to happen, and I didn’t distance myself from Him. I kept Him close. From the joy we shared when finding out we were pregnant to sitting, crying, alone in the bathroom. I kept Him close when feeling humiliated in the doctors waiting room and when I had to sit there to get my blood drawn to confirm I had miscarried. I continue to keep Him close and I know He continues to walk with my husband and I as we navigate the next few steps in our walk towards a family.

Through this experience I may have lost our tiny orange seed that would have been our baby, but I’ve gained so much more:
+ this brought my relationship with my husband to a new level of love and compassion
+ my faith and relationship with God is so much stronger
+ learning we can get pregnant and that infertility isn’t an issue
+ we know more than ever that we’re ready for a baby
+ this isn’t going to keep us from trying again
+ I am less fearful of the things I cannot change
+ I am more than a statistic
+ puts the petty nonsense of life into perspective. this experience gives you focus.

I share my story because I am no longer ashamed, humiliated, or otherwise feel like I’ve failed at being a woman. I know our story of starting a family is not over and both my husband and I are eager to begin trying to conceive again. My hopes in sharing my story is that it somehow finds someone who needs to hear it. Someone who may be experiencing, or have experienced, the same pain as thousands of other women.

You are not alone and it will get better although hearing it won’t make you feel better about what happened…yet. You are strong and will pick up the pieces and know that He is with you every step of the way. Share in your praises but also share your pain with Him as he experiences this with you.

Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.

+++ Since writing this original post in April 2015 I am happy to share that we welcomed our son in March 2016 at a healthy 9lbs 3 oz. Greyson may not have been our first pregnancy but he is a testament of Gods love and grace over us and that when it is in His timing we receive the children we are meant to have in this life. It is unknown why pregnancy and infant loss is a suffering some women will experience, however it is my belief that God provides us with opportunities to grow closer to Him and to overflow with perseverance during these tragic times so that these losses are not in vain.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4: “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance.”
 
Heavenly Father, as our friend’s and family’s losses weigh on our hearts and perplex us in ways we can’t understand, remind us that each season of life is there for a reason. Lord, help us to have an eternal perspective and to remember that we aren’t made to be happy and whole in this life. Help us to be willing to walk beside our friends and family in whatever season we are given, whether rejoicing or grieving. Lord, we ask you to break our hearts for the things that break yours. 
This prayer is courtesy of 12 Prayers For Miscarriage and Infant Loss via Being Made Beautiful.
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