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Thursday, February 14, 2019

7 Tips for Decorating a Bathroom with French Decor


7 Tips for Decorating a Bathroom with French Decor
In today's post, we'll share tips for French inspired decor in a bathroom. In general, my advice is to use the right colors and to keep things simple for a clean look.  

1. Adhere to a consistent color theme.
Design your bathroom so that the paint, flooring, cabinetry, and countertops have a similar theme. There are two popular color schemes right now for walls and cabinetry: (1) antique whites and creams or (2) grays and whites.  Personally, we prefer Travertine flooring, but some people prefer dark hand scraped wood. Make these decisions early.

2. Choose dark fixtures and mirrors with oversized dark borders.
You should use a consistent color and material for matching door handles and faucets.  You may also consider choosing mirrors that have thick borders with the same rich color as shown in our photo above.

3. Choose antique style cabinetry.
Antique style cabinetry such as the cabinets above are a great fit for a French design. Distressed wood and feet on the cabinetry provides a French feeling in the room.

4. Consider artwork on functional items such as area rugs.
Your paint, flooring, cabinets, countertops, fixtures, and mirrors should provide the base for your French design. Avoid adding knickknacks and extra items that don't provide a purpose in the bathroom. However, choose functional items that add a statement. For instance, the French inspired rug below is a great way to tie the theme together while maintaining a clean look. This rug is called Rose Basket and is by Evolur.  They also have other trendy French inspired area rugs such as Midnight in Paris


5. Add fresh flowers.
While you may not always have the time and energy to pick up fresh flowers, if your house is on the market and staging is important, add a nice vase with long stemmed flowers.

6. Use fresh white towels.
White towels give a fresh look and are also easy to keep clean over time. Save the antique whites for paint colors or accessories and stick with crisp white towels.

7. Keep your decor functional.
Avoid knickknacks or cluttering your bathroom space. Large open space is desirable.  Most people have a limited amount of space for their bathroom, so minimizing clutter may help to make the space feel larger.  Try to avoid buying a lot of plastic accessories even if they have a French theme. Personally, we store toothbrushes, tissues, and other items in our drawers and cabinets for a cleaner look. Extra plastic accessories won't fit our style. Working French inspired art into functional items such as the rug in the photos is perfect so that we don't feel crowded by too much decor.


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Monday, February 11, 2019

The New Peppa Pig World of Play is Open in Grapevine Mills!


As the mom of an energetic preschooler, I am excited to tell you about the new Peppa Pig World of Play in Grapevine Mills because this whimsical play center rocked my preschooler's little world. The designers of this play center must be perfectionists because they seemed to pay attention to every detail - large and large - to help create happy childhood memories for little ones who visit. In today's post, I'll try to strike a good balance of telling you about the Peppa Pig World of Play so that you have an idea of what to expect, but without spoiling too many surprises.

The new Peppa Pig World of Play in Grapevine Mills is located inside Grapevine Mills Mall at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, TX 76051. It's in the hallway near Burlington Coat Factory. You'll want to walk in the direction toward Rain Forest Cafe.

Here is a quick overview of our favorite activities:

  • Peppa’s Family House: where visitors can play inside the iconic living room and kitchen, have a conversation with a talking Polly Parrot and a photo opportunity with Daddy Pig;
  • Supermarket: children can have fun grocery shopping and helping Miss Rabbit on the cash register at the local supermarket where they can find items from Peppa’s family shopping list; 
  • Zoe Zebra and Daddy Dog at the Garage: an activity area where children can help Mr. Zebra deliver the mail and repair a truck at Grandpa Dog’s Garage;
  • Madame Gazelle’s School Bus: children can climb aboard Madam Gazelle’s school bus and sing along with Peppa and her friends on an exciting trip to the theatre;
  • Rebecca Rabbit’s Underground Adventure: little ones will love crawling through tunnels, exploring bedrooms and sliding into a big muddy puddle in the Rabbit family’s underground burrow;
  • Peppa’s TreehouseGeorge’s Fort, Muddy Puddles and George’s Dinosaur Discovery: imaginatively themed play areas that recreate key themes from the show for children to enjoy;
  • Sensory Garden: this interactive sensory garden features a duck pond, hen house, Grandpa Pig’s train and more.
Also included at the attraction are fairground themed party rooms for birthday celebrations, a theatre to enjoy episode screenings, a dedicated Peppa Pig gift store, story times and arts and craft sessions alongside facilities for families to eat, relax and play.

Let me share a few photos from our visit. Again, I'm sharing some quick highlights so that you have a general idea of what to expect, but without spoiling too many surprises!

There are plenty of vehicles to ride! My toddler loved this bus.  It was fun to board the bus, take a seat, and watch the screen.



He also loved the pretend grocery store!



He was able to play with a cash register and conveyor belt. There is a lever for the children to move the conveyor belt.



The next photo shows a fun game where the children move the eggs and then the chickens move. This is a fun one!



As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of opportunities to ride buses or cars, but in a way that is meant for toddlers. Here is a taxi.



Here is a red car.




There are also plenty of opportunities, to climb, slide, and explore!


Here is another view.


This is another fun area.


My toddler went down this slide a dozen times!

  
In addition to the play areas, there is also space for birthday parties. Here is is a photo of a birthday party room. It has a fun whimsical look that is perfect for a memorable birthday party!



Here is another view. I thought that I would highlight that this preschooler-friendly venue has plenty of highchairs!



Finally, once your little one is tired out, you'll want to visit the mock food truck to refuel. You may purchase lunch or snacks and then sit at picnic tables.



There are plenty of surprises at the new Peppa Pig World of Play in Grapevine. I hope that I shared the right balance of intriguing photos, but also left enough surprises for you to enjoy on your visit.



The new Peppa Pig World of Play in Grapevine just opened (February 12, 2019), so visit soon to be among the first to experience this whimsical play center that provides many opportunities to create happy childhood memories!

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The 5 Best Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Moms with Young Children


Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I thought that I would share The 5 Best Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Moms with Young Children because moms deserve special treatment on Valentine's Day!  

The 5 Best Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Moms 


1. An oversized tote
Moms with young children are in a phase of life where they need a stylish and oversized tote.  We love the Around Town Tote from Thirty-One Gifts because it is functional and gorgeous.  I personally have this bag in Black Beauty Pebble, but it is also available in other colors.

This bag is versatile. It's great for a professional look at the office or a stylish look around town with your family. Let me share a few examples. 

Here is a peek into my bag for work. I use it to tote my Macbook Pro, wallet, scarf, and umbrella. (I place my wallet in the interior zip pocket which helps me to stay organized.) You'll notice that this bag is generously sized.



Here is a peek into my bag for a day out with my children. The tote holds my wallet, a pouch, extra diapers, baby wipes, baby food pouches, a baby blanket, and a "very loved" little lamb stuffed animal.



I also love that this tote has a nice cell phone pouch on the outside so that I rarely miss calls. I know exactly where my phone is when it rings and have quick access to it.  The designers of this tote deserve accolades for this trendy design that is versatile for work, travel, and errands out with children.



2.  Handmade Valentines (digitized)

The Tidying Up show on Netflix has made it popular to declutter your home.  Of course, handmade Valentines from your children are something to treasure, but they also take space, especially if you have multiple children.  If you have a box filled with old Valentines, ask your family to scan the Valentines and to create a digital repository to store them. This will give you easy access to those precious memories while also saving space in your home. 

3. The Rubie Mini (pouch with zipper)

Many moms will tell you that they carry a lot in their purse and that it's easy to lose things. I recently saw a post about the eco-system of a mom's purse where they compared it to the layers of the Earth's crust.  There was a layer of fossilized mints, calcified cookie crumbs, fossils such as lost car keys, and layers of old receipts.   That hit a little too close to home for me because my purse often seems to be a storage unit for my entire family to use.  A good pouch with zipper is a lifesaver when it comes to organizing my purse.  Thirty-One Gifts has one that I love - the Rubie Mini. They even have it in a pretty Rose Blush Pebble that is perfect for Valentine's Day!



This trendy little pouch is a travel case and a wristlet all in one. It has a zipper closure and a D-ring attachment for their Wristlet Strap.  It makes it easy to stay organized. I store my credit card, cash, lip gloss, and change in it.  I carry it in my tote when I go to work or am out with my children.  When I am out on my own (without my children), I remove the Rubie Mini from my tote and carry it using the Wristlet Strap.   It's a functional and stylish gift for Valentine's Day!

4. Recipes and Ingredients to Make Dinner as a Family
If you are spending Valentine's Day together as a family, a nice gift is to cook together. We are using Marley Spoon this year since they send recipes and the ingredients that you need to create a fabulous dinner together. You could also have your husband and children choose recipes and shop for supplies locally. Either way, let them plan dinner as a gift to you and then enjoy time cooking together!

5. Plant a Veggie Garden
This gift will vary by location, but here in Dallas, February is a great time to plant many veggies. For instance, the best veggies to plant in Dallas in February are: asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro, collards, English peas, lettuce, kohlrabi, onion transplants, parsley, potatoes, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnips.  (If your children are young and impatient, you may want to start with cilantro because it grows quicker than some of the other plants.)

We hope that you have a Happy Valentine's Day with your family! It's amazing how your view of Valentine's Day changes with time, especially when you have children. We hope that these tips help you to enjoy the phase of Valentine's Day with young children!

Learn More
Thirty-One Gifts is a company with a big heart. They have a 15 year track record of empowering women. Many women have worked with Thirty-One Gifts to run their own successful businesses. I also know that Thirty-One Gifts has touched our communities in many other ways over the years, including donating products to women in need or to local school teachers in Dallas/Fort Worth.  (There is no shortage of stories where they give back! Visit here for many inspiring stories.)  Thirty-One Gifts is a company that stays true to it's mission, so I am always excited to have the opportunity to connect all you with them.   Please learn more about Thirty-One Gifts here.


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Sunday, February 10, 2019

DIY Toddler Valentines with Baby Food Pouches


 

If you've visited the store recently to pick up Valentines for your toddler's class, you probably noticed that candy dominates.  While I am pro-candy for myself and my older child, we don't give candy to our toddler. However, he definitely enjoys other snacks, including Slammer's Snacks! In today's post, I'll share some ideas for you to rock Valentine's Day for your toddler -- Valentine's Day Baby Food Pouches for their classmates!

If you have a toddler, I am sure that you are well aware that baby food pouches are all of the rage!  My toddler and his little friends can't get enough of them. This makes them perfect for Valentine's Day!  Just add a cute tag and you have a fabulous Valentine.  Personally, we used Slammer's Snacks from Baby Gourmet because they taste fabulous, contain nutritious ingredients (including protein in many varities!), and have names that are easy to work into adorable Valentine's Day cards. Slammer's Snacks are easy to find at Kroger, Tom Thumb, Amazon, or even Costco.  It was easy to create the Valentine's Day treats below with my toddler. I created the labels and tied them onto the pouches. My toddler added stickers.

Let's start with labels. Please feel welcome to print any of the images below or create your own.  If you print the labels below, it should take you less than 20 minutes to print, cut, sign, and tie the cards onto 20 pouches.  Eazy, peazy, squeezy!  (OK, I'll work on the Eazy, peazy, squeazy pouches joke...)



Once you print the labels, gather some card stock, twine, stickers, scissors and a glue stick.



Add the labels to your cards. I used card stock and a glue stick.



Let your toddler add stickers to their cards and then attach them to each pouch with twine.



Combine the EPIC pouches with, "Our Friendship is EPIC!" (This is my toddler's favorite variety!)



Combine the CHILL'N pouch with, "I Love CHILL'N with You!"



Combine the AMPED pouches with, "I am AMPED for Valentine's Day!"

Combine the Pomegranate Grape Crush with, "Super Food for my Super Friend!"



I hope that you enjoy these toddler-friendly Valentine's treat ideas! Visit Slammers Snacks here to find a location that sells the pouches that we used in this post.
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The Best Recipe for Easy DIY Peppermint Foot Soak



Easy DIY Peppermint Foot Soak
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups of Epson salts
  • 1 ½ cups of sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups of baking soda
  • 20 drops of peppermint oil
  • 3 tsp of glycerin
  • Optional: 5 drops of food coloring

Directions:
  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together.
  2. Stir in the wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed.


*** DO NOT EAT! ***
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5 Tips for Winter Allergies in Dallas/Fort Worth

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and our own.

If you live in Dallas, you are well aware that seasonal allergies are real. We enjoy a relatively nice climate, but the downside is that various plants bloom throughout the year and trigger seasonal allergies.  As a fellow Texan in the DFW metro, let me share 5 allergy tips that have helped our family.


1. Consult your doctor and take medication throughout allergy season. 

I know that "consult a doctor" sounds generic, but I think that it is important because we found that different medications have different affects on each of us. You may even find that siblings respond differently to a medication. If you try an allergy medication that doesn't seem to work well for you, work with your doctor to see if a different one works better. 

2. Use air purifiers.

We use air purifiers in our living room and each bedroom. We prefer air purifiers with HEPA filters because they have a sthe industry standard for HEPA filters is that an air filter must remove (from the air that passes through) 99.97% of particles that have a size greater than or equal to 0.3 ┬Ám.


3. Check your local pollen forecast.
Minimizing allergen exposure is helpful. Check pollen.com for the local pollen forecast in your area. For instance, grass pollens are particularly problematic for me, so staying indoors as much as possible on medium and high pollen days is helpful.  In addition, if I do need to go outside, I head straight for the shower when I get home. I also wear a new outfit after my shower. 



4. Avoid fragrance, fumes, or odors.

I used to love wearing fragrance.  It never occurred to me that fragrances were making my allergies worse until my allergist pointed this out. I would take scented bubble baths, generously apply scented lotion, and spray fragrance on myself. Eliminating fragrance has been helpful. I rarely use fragrance anymore since I realize that it has an impact on my allergies.

5. Run the a/c to help filter the air in your car.

Despite allergies, most of us still have to leave the house and go about our normal activities as much as possible. We love the Atem Car Air Purifier. This in-cabin air purifier is a game changer that makes it very enjoyable to be in our car during an allergy season.  Here is a photo of it in our SUV.

 

I read on their website that research shows that the air inside of a car can be 15x more polluted than the air outside of a vehicle. The Atem Car helps as it cleans the air up to 20x per hour.  What really sets it apart is gas-phrased filtration that absorbs odors, gases, chemicals, and even harmful allergens.  This air purifier is fabulous in terms of helping with my allergies. I also run it when I pick my son up from soccer practice! (If you have an energetic son who plays hard, you must know what I mean!)



I hope that these tips help those of you that are suffering from allergies.  We have lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro for several years.  Our first couple of years were the worst in terms of allergies, but then I learned the tips above and we have felt much better.  Let's hope for some low-pollen days soon!
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The Best Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Families in 2019


Valentine's Day is just around the corner. This is one of my favorite holidays because we have the opportunity to focus on love and family.  Our family has a tradition of spending Valentine's evening together. Our Valentine's Day evening at home is lovely because (a) we don't have to worry about finding a babysitter on one of the biggest babysitting nights of the year and (b) the relaxed family evening creates happy memories for all of us to treasure.  I'm sure that I'll miss our family Valentine's evenings when my children are grown, so we really make the most of our time together.  In today's post, I'll share The Best Valentine's Gift Ideas for Families this Year (2019)!

Let's start with dinner.  Marley Spoon is the best Valentine's dinner idea for families who want to spend a special evening at home together. The fabulous Marley Spoon team will send everything that you need to create a special meal.  Marley Spoon is my favorite at-home meal kit for a few reasons. The top reason is that their recipes are fantastic and that they make us look like cooking pros. We typically prepare the same meals over-and-over again, so Marley Spoon helps us to move outside of our comfort zone to try new things. I think that the chefs who create the recipes and instructions are perfectionists and pay attention to even the smallest details. They provide detailed information up front when you select your meals so that you know what you are getting into. They share a skill level rating, estimated serving time, instructions (with photos), and a list of th ingredients for each recipe.  Since we included our 8-year old in our meal preparation, we chose meals that were rated as Easy so that we wouldn't feel overwhelmed and could focus more on having family fun with good food.  For instance, we chose the Seared Steak & Creamed Spinach and the Restorative Chicken Soup with Sweet Potato, Collards, & Quinoa.  You really can't beat a special Valentine's dinner with your family at home when you use Marley Spoon!




Marley Spoon also offers dessert this week, including Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling. This is a fantastic dessert kit for families. My children (a preschooler and 8-year old) love to help in the kitchen, so this kit is perfect. The steps of the recipe are easy to split among children and parents. It's the perfect dessert for a family evening together.



Valentine's Day isn't complete without wine.  You'll find the best wines at Nakedwines.com. You've probably heard of this company because they have been featured a lot in the media. This includes everywhere from Forbes to Time Magazine. There is also the word-of-mouth advertising from their 100,000 members.  People love them because they have a business model that connects customers with talented, independent winemakers for reasonable prices that work well on both sides.  The customers (called Angels) invest $40/month into their Nakedwines.com piggy bank in exchange for exclusive wines at insider prices of 40% to 60% off. They have supported 150 winemakers in 14 different countries to offer 1,500 different wines over the years. All of the wines at Nakedwines.com are exclusive to their site. It's a fabulous deal and they are still accepting new customers. This is the perfect time of year to join since Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Plus, we have an exclusive offer for $100 off of your first order of $160 or more here!




Teleflora has the most beautiful made-by-hand arrangements this year.  We love this iconic company that has been connecting customers with fantastic florists for 81 years. Teleflora has 12,000+ florists within their North American network and another 20,000 abroad.  They make it easy to send the best floral arrangements to almost anywhere in the country with confidence.  I received the trendy Teleflora Happy Harmony Bouquet below.  It is gorgeous! I love the smell of fresh flowers when I walk into the room. Follow #Teleflora and #LoveOutLoud on social media to view other gorgeous floral arrangements.



The next item on our list is the fabulous line of C by GE lighting products. Installing new light switches and lightbulbs added a special touch to our house.  This trendy line is really nice because the soothing innovations combine nature and technology.  Plus, I love that I was able to install everything on my own even though I am a novice.



We love the C-Sleep SmartLED Light Bulbs. In terms of nature, the lights support your natural sleep/wake cycle. For instance, the 6:30am setting provides vibrant morning light, the noon setting provides an optimal soft white light for the day, and the 8:45pm provides a softer and warmer evening light that for a calmer environment. The tech side is also impressive as the lights may be controlled via blue-tooth, use preset lighting scenes, or be controlled with voice control, out-of-home-control, or switches. 



We also installed the GE Smart Switch that seems to have been created by an overachieving team of engineers who thought of every possible functionality that a light switch could offer in order to please everyone.  It's the coolest thing - the switch responds to taps, voice (when paired with an at-home assistant), motion, or may even be controlled remotely (through an app). While it's perfect in our bedroom and you couldn't find a better time to install it than on Valentine's Day, I have to add that this is a must-have for our audience of moms here, especially if you still wake up in the middle of the night to check on your children! It's a total game changer. I wish that I would have had these lighting products when my children were newborns, but since my youngest is still a toddler and wakes up once at night, I greatly appreciate this fabulous and nurturing technology!



Moving onto the kids, our children cannot get enough of Justin's Cashew Butter and their Nut Butter Cups. I love that their products use natural ingredients. My children have been obsessed with dipping apples into the Justin's nut butters since they were preschoolers. Of course, the nut butter cups are perfect for a special holiday.



Finally, I thought that I would close with some books since many families enjoy a cozy evening of reading books together before bedtime. The first set of books are a funny and memorable gift for toddlers - Baby University Books that cover everything from Rocket Science for Babies to AstroPhysics for Babies.  This line of books is adorable and is a perfect Valentine's gift for young children if you or your spouse are into Science & Engineering. My husband and I are both Engineers, so these books are sure to make our Valentine's Day extra special as we all spend the evening together and enjoy a cozy evening of reading these books together.



The next books are specific to Texas, but they also have these books for other states and cities. These are nice books for young children, especially since they feature so many Texas landmarks! Nothing is better than having your children fall asleep on you while you read books. Visit Sourcebooks here.



We hope that you enjoyed this peek into our favorite Valentine's Day gift ideas for families and that you enjoy this love-filled holiday with your family!

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