anchored east – a stylish + functional diaper bag

I think we can all agree that diaper bag backpacks are a must once you have more than one baby. There was just no way I could comfortably get from place to place with lugging a heavy bag on my shoulder. I’m beyond thankful for the diaper bag backpack option and it’s just a major plus when they’re beautiful as well. Tonight, I’m sharing with you the lovely diaper bag backpack bag by Anchored East.

IMG_9960IMG_9953IMG_9964I’ll get right to the point and share what makes it so great:

  • Stylish + Sleek design – The beautiful grey and leather combo is one of my favorites. It can go with any outfit whether that be casual, dressy, and even athletic gear.
  • GREAT Price – For many of us getting a 100 dollar diaper bag is a stretch on the budget, and so many of them exceed that by a lot. Anchored East sells theirs for just $49.99 you guys! Such a steal.
  • A Bounty of Pockets– If you’re a mom you KNOW how we can never have enough pockets. This bag can is very easily organized, and I also love how the opening is wide enough to access each pocket easily. I’ve used diaper bags that don’t have water bottle pockets, and it just did not work for me, thankfully Anchored East thought of adding two good size ones to this bag!
  • Comfortable -Another big priority for me in a diaper bag is how comfortable it is, and as you can see, the back and straps have ample (breathable mesh) padding.
  • Lightweight- The first I tried this on something I immediately noticed was how it felt like I wasn’t wearing a bag at all. Anytime I can add less weight to carry is always a huge plus! I mean I think a toddler in one arm and a car seat in another a good enough workout, right?
  • Easy to Clean – I’m not sure if I’m the only one who struggles with this or not, but everything I own is a magnet for dirt and stains! We, as moms, tend to be so hard on our diaper bags and I am so thankful when cleaning something is a simple process. Not only is it wipeable but also waterproof, and who doesn’t need that with the constant spilling of little water bottles?! It also comes with a cute chevron changing pad which is very easy to wipe down as well!

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I also have to point out the beautiful detailing throughout the bag, I just love it and know you will too! You can find it on Amazon HERE! As always, thanks for stopping in. Please shoot any questions my way; I’d be more than happy to answer them!

 

xo,

Anna

holiday looks with janie and jack

This post has been sponsored by Janie and Jack. All opinions are my own. 

I would describe our kid’s style (for the most part) as subtle and versatile. As much as we can, we move away from the loud, bright, distracting clothing and try to stick with pieces that won’t go out of style anytime soon. Janie and Jack hit all the marks when it comes to our favorite types of children’s clothing. They are classic, timeless, and sharp. You are guaranteed to get lasting quality and so many compliments when wearing them. I was thrilled to work with Janie and Jack and put together holiday styles for the kids this year.

For Jack ,I went with the corduroy suspender pant paired with the cutest little plaid bodysuit and layered it with the wool toggle coat in brown and wingtip crib shoe. I mean come on, can it get any cuter than this handsome look in a teeny tiny 6-12 month size?! No, the answer is no, it cannot!

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Bowtie

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For the girls, I couldn’t help myself and went with the full matching outfits. I love doing this for two reasons: 1 – It is extremely cute and 2 – If I really love a clothing item it’s nice that when Maddie grows out of one size she will get to wear it in the bigger size as well.

 

I have been absolutely loving the blush and cream combos right now. These outfits are perfect for a subtle holiday look that can also be worn into the Spring as well as Fall.

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Pom Beanie
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Velvet Purse // Hunter First Classic Rain Boot // Shimmer Rose Sweater

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Velvet Leggings  // Faux Fur Mittens

Now I have to share pictures of all three of the kids together because well.. I’m a mom I cant help myself. Also, I love the look of how the outfits compliment each other!

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Head on over to Janie and Jack to see their gorgeous selection and find the perfect holiday outfit for your little one! Be sure to let me know what you find!

xo,

Anna

toddler gift guide

Many of you are probably finished shopping for your kiddos Christmas gifts but for those of you that aren’t – here’s a list of great gift options!

I am a researcher so before I buy anything, especially toys, I thoroughly read reviews and try to get a good idea if it will be something that will last and also that the girls won’t get bored with easily. One of my requirements is that the toy can grow with our kids. I tend to think longevity with toy purchases, which might not be very common but it helps me to narrow down from the overwhelming options out there. I’m excited to share with you some of our favorite toys and also some of the gifts that will be under our tree on Christmas morning!

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s start out with the toys that are tried and true in our house. We’ve had each of these for over a year and they get played with daily.

  • Magna-Tiles 100 Piece Set – I’m sure just about every parent of young kids have heard of these by now. I can say, without question, that these are these toys live up to all the hype and then some. These encourage imagination in so many ways and kids all the way up through age 10 enjoy playing with them. My Maddie has never been one to focus for long periods of time on anything but with Magna -Tiles it’s a different story. One of my favorite sounds is the clicking of the magnetic pieces going together while my girls are quietly focused on their building.  I would also add that it is worth it to go with the name brand for these (the ones pictured and linked). Ours are still in perfect condition and haven’t lost their magnetic strength over time after being played with very roughly for over a year.

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  • Terra Animals  – Our kids are absolutely obsessed with little animals. The best quality ones that we have found are the Terra brand that are on the end cap off the Target toy aisles. They are durable and have pretty impressive details. I’ve linked to the Terra brand page on Target.com as an example but I would say the best place to buy them would be in the store.

Now onto some fun new items that I can’t wait to give to our girls!

 

 

 

 

  • Fishing Pole – Oh my goodness, this fishing pole you guys. It’s possibly the most beautiful and creative toy I have ever seen! A lovely husband and wife team hand make these (along with several other wooden toys) over at Papa Don’s Toys.   It reels very realistically, and comes with the cutest set of colorful fish that you can catch. I know my girls will will be fascinated with it!
  • Colorful Wooden Train – How darling is this set?! It’s made out of very sturdy, organic wood and I love the unique shape of it. You can find it at Pawoo Toys.
  • Elephant Jigsaw Puzzle –  This little organic wooden elephant puzzle is also made by Pawoo Toys and I can just imagine it being used in so many ways!
  • Wooden Lawnmower – This a great alternative to a plastic lawnmower. Not only is it beautiful, it’s made to last, has a subtle sound, and I think it could also be used as a pretend vaccum! This, like the fishing pole, is made by the husband and wife duo at Papa Don’s Toys.

Non-toy options:

 

 

  • Activity Play Mat – These activity mats by Tater and Frankie are adorable and great because you can easily store them. Anything that can minimize the clutter while still providing fun is instantly one of my favorite things. Use code INSTAFREESHIPPING for free shipping on anything from the shop!
  • Backpacks – Britni makes and designs these darling little backpacks at Benny and The Bear. I’m going to fill my girls’ with some fun chalkboards and craft supplies for them to open on Christmas morning.
  • Cozy Blankets – Caroline’s been begging for a soft blanket and I cant wait to give her this lovely lamb one with llama faux fur. Nicole at Tea House Studio has a great selection of unique fabric prints and backings!

 

Happy shopping, friends!

 

xo,

Anna

snow ice cream

After living in Florida for the last three winters to say we were excited for our first real snowfall may be an understatement. I had just gotten back from visiting my sister for the weekend and when the snow started beautifully falling Chris and I jumped on the opportunity for some family fun. He got to work bringing snow into the bathtub to build a snowman with the girls and I quickly looked up a recipe to make snow ice cream for the first time. The girls were bouncing off the walls from excitement and wonderment.

The recipe was quite easy and turned out delicious so I wanted to share it with you:

  • 1 gallon snow
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk

-Mix all ingredients together until it reaches desired consistency.

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As you can see Caroline approved and that girl appreciates some quality ice cream. Chris also requested that I take it away from him because he couldn’t stop eating it, ha!

Let me know if you give it a try and how it turns out!

xo,

Anna

 

 

dockatot review – is it essential?

It’s pretty incredible how quickly products come in and out of the baby world. What I considered new and essential with my first child just three years ago now seem very outdated. We used almost everything again the second time around because the girls were only 16 months apart. Well, when I was pregnant for the third time I realized just how many up and coming products were out there. One my favorite aspects of Instagram is being able to get a close and personal look at different baby/kid gear. It is so helpful to read other moms thorough reviews of the hot items before deciding to take the plunge and purchase them. I’m excited to share my honest opinion about one of the most popular baby items right now – the DockATot. I’m going to keep it simple with a pros and cons list from my personal experience after using it for about three months.

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Pros:

  • Easy to travel with – it was so nice to just throw the DockATot in the car rather than lugging around the pack n play which takes up about half our trunk!
  • Soft surface that lessens the risk of flat spots – Maddie had and still does have a very flat head. I wanted to do my best to prevent that from happening with Jack and I think putting him in the DockATot throughout the day has played a big role.
  • Comfortable – the Dock is significantly more comfortable then Jack’s crib mattress and I notice he seems to sleep slightly longer stretches in it.
  • Easy to take from room to room and put out of the way when necessary – I’ve loved this because it’s always nice to be able to put baby items out of the way when not being used.

Cons:

  • Not safe for overnight sleep – I’m a major rule follower and especially so in sleep safety. I have not felt comfortable enough to leave Jack sleeping in the Dock overnight in his crib, which I have seen many others do. I just don’t sleep as well (due to worry) if he’s not in his crib with nothing else in there with him.
  • I personally did not notice a significant difference in Jack’s sleep with the DockATot – He sleeps basically the same everywhere (crib, rock n play, floor, etc). Neither of my girls had the DockATot and both were MUCH better sleepers than he has been.

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So, is this highly raved about product an essential or non-essential? My honest opinion would be non-essential. I would classify it under a convenience product that does not make a drastic difference on sleep in the early months. Now this is from my experience and everyone’s will be different. I’ve heard some parents swear by it and I’m so glad that it’s worked wonders for them but that has not been the case for us.

What are your opinions on the DockATot? Would you say its an essential or no? I would love to hear your experiences!

xo,

Anna

postpartum must-haves for mom

Anyone who has had a baby knows what I’m talking about when I say that for those first few months after pregnancy NOTHING FITS RIGHT. I remember feeling so frustrated trying to wear my “normal” clothes with my first two babies. This time around,I was determined to have some key wardrobe pieces that would be comfortable, flattering, and I could easily nurse in. After researching and wearing these items now for a few months I can confidently recommend them and I hope they bring you some confidence and comfort in a season where we can be so hard on ourselves about our changing bodies.

 

1.) Nursing Tanks – I was due for some new nursing tanks as my Target ones were pretty worn out after going through two babies. I wanted to try something a little different and am so glad I found these. They are super stretchy, soft, long, and supportive! They keep everything tucked in without being too tight. Also, they make it extremely easy to nurse. I went a size up and am glad I did because I don’t have to ever worry about pulling down my shirt and they actually go over my butt when I’m wearing leggings.

2.) Zip Up Hoodie – Being that I had Jack in September I knew I would want either some type of robe or zip ups that were easy to put over my nursing tanks when it gets chilly. I got a few of these incredibly lightweight jersey hoodies and have been living in them! It was a good choice for me to go with these over a robe because I can wear it on walks and outings rather then just in the home. Seriously, everyone needs one of these! Mine are from Old Navy but it looks like they are currently out of stock. I’m sure they have some similar styles though!

3.) High Waist Postpartum Leggings – Ok, let me just start out by saying that leggings and postpartum life just go together, now add onto that a high waist WITH support and it’s a match made in heaven. Literally, I’ve contemplated buying more of this exact same pair because I wear them every.single.day. The fabric is breathable but not see through as well.

4.) Flattering Shirts – I feel like I somehow forget about how awkward these first few months feel postpartum as far as clothing fit goes. My sister and I were determined to have a handful of shirts that we felt comfortable in and these hit the mark. Another plus is that they are maternity friendly too! She was wearing them in her last trimester while I was wearing them when just days after I had Jack. They hit in the right spot without making you look/feel pregnant still (although my chiropractor did as me how the “cooking” was going when I met him for the first time a week after I had Jack, ugh!).

A specific store I wanted to share with you all is Pink Blush. Although they specify in maternity wear they have tons of options for nursing moms and everyday womens’ style. Each item I have from them is soft, stretchy, and cute. Here are a few of my favorite go-to looks.

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Burgundy Maxi – Pink Blush
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Black Flowy Tunic – Pink Blush // Seasport Stitches Diaper Bag

Have you had a hard time finding clothing that fits well postpartum? What are your go-to’s? Thanks for stopping by and reading and happy Sunday evening, friends!

-Anna

a trying season

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My three pregnancies have all looked a bit different but have had one thing in common – nausea, exhaustion, and a lot of tears. I’m always astounded by the women who are virtually unaffected by the hormones of pregnancy. From the moment I see a positive test, I can cry at the drop of a hat, detect any and every smell within a mile a radius, and have 100 mood swings a day. I wanted to share a little bit about my first trimester and some of the difficulties but also ways the Lord used a very slow season to grow me.

We tried for eight months this time around which had me a little worried because we got pregnant the first time we tried with both of our girls. However, I trusted that God’s timing was much better than what I was considering good timing and looking back I am SO thankful that there will be two years between Maddie and our baby boy. Caroline and Maddie are 16 months apart and whew that was significantly more challenging than I expected (I plan to share more about that in another post). I was eager to take a pregnancy test every month and especially so as each month passed. I took a test way too early when I was just three weeks and ran out of the bathroom elated and shocked to tell Chris that IT WAS POSITIVE! We rejoiced together and Praised God for the gift of another child to raise and love.

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Now I want to go on and reflect on the GOOD of it all because Romans 8:28 is tried and true, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Growth:

  • A deeper understanding and a gracious reminder that I am fully accepted and unconditionally loved by Christ no matter what I get done in a day. My eternity is set, and nothing can free up your heart and mind like knowing that.
  • Heightened gratitude and respect for my husband. On top of working 50 hour weeks and then some, he came home and did the dishes, laundry, and took care of the girls. A display of his love for me over and over again in his sacrificial efforts to help in the way he knew I needed.-
  • Coming to the realization that the number one priority in my mothering isn’t how much knowledge the girls gain from me, how many fancy crafts I complete with them, or how much I play with them. It’s a nurturing and present love that matters most. When I listen to them undistracted and care for their needs and hug them them while reminding them just how much I love them outweighs a hundred times over whatever “negative impacts” they may have by watching a little too much TV. When a child is secure in their parents love for them and know they are cherished, that is what will set them up to thrive with confidence in a fallen and unpredictable world. We will fail them, there is no question about that, but may we continuously seek reconciliation with our children and show them the humility and love that Christ has shown us when we do fall short! Oh how many opportunities we have to point them to the Savior each and every day! What grace!

To bring this to a close, I want to encourage any and every mom out there who is going through a difficult time,whatever that may be, you are not alone! We are too hard on ourselves are quick to heap on guilt rather than grace. Think of how much grace we give our babies, how delighted we are in them, how we want nothing more than to see them filled with joy and confident in who God has created them to be. Well, how much MORE highly do they think of you? Your children don’t focus on your faults, they know you as “mom” and that you will love them endlessly, take care of them, and be there and to them, nothing could be more important than that.

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I would love to hear any of your thoughts or experiences regarding difficult pregnancies or trying times you’ve gone through as a mom. Thank you so much for taking the time to read.

xo ,

Anna