Toddler Holiday Favorites

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Jacob is almost two, which means that this Christmas he understands a lot more of whats going on and I love it.
Although there are still a lot of Christmas traditions that I feel he is too young for, I've found quite a bit of fun toys and activities that suite his age perfectly! 

Here are some of our favorite holiday themed toys:
1. Melissa & Doug Christmas Cookie Set // Jacob is super into pretend play right now, and he loves this pretend cookie set! We sit and cut, frost, bake, and eat the cookies which keeps him entertained for a good chunk of time. Earlier in the week he was so into playing with this set that we ended up making real cookies later that day. 

2. Elf on the Shelf // Everyone has their own opinion on what age to begin this tradition, and I felt that this year was the perfect time for us. Jacob is a creature of routine, so every evening he says goodnight to Buddy the elf and in the morning we always point out that he is missing. This turns into a fun game of looking around the house and discovering what mischief he's gotten into. Jacob doesn't understand the whole concept of the elf reporting back to the North Pole yet, but it's still a fun activity for him each morning.

3. Little People Nativity Set // Jacob has a bunch of the little people sets, so I knew he would love this. I wanted to get him some sort of nativity scene, but at his age I know he's going to want to touch and play with everything so this is perfect. 

4. Advent Calendar // We already have a fabric advent calendar for Jacob, and this year I also picked up on the of cardboard ones with the chocolates inside. If we didn't have one though I would definitely get this Melissa and Doug advent puzzle, although I doubt I would be able to keep little hands away from it.

5. A Charlie Brown Christmas // We bought this last year during a sale on iTunes because it is one of my favorites and I love that Jacob enjoys it too. I love that it's not too long, and we love to watch it in the morning while I make breakfast. 

6. Melissa & Doug Snowman Stacker // I'm a big fan of the Melissa & Doug wooden toys, and this snowman is adorable. We got it for Jacob last year and I know Annabelle will love playing with it next year. 



Sincerely,
Nicole

2015 Holiday Bucket List

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


christmas bucket list

It's officially December!
This is my absolute favorite time of year, but unfortunately it tends to go by way too fast.
I always have so many jumbled ideas of holiday activities that I want to do, and then suddenly I blink and Christmas is over.
This year I complied a few of my favorite traditions, some old and some new, that I want to be sure to enjoy this Christmas! 

Christmas Bucket List

There's a few of these that I was able to complete this past weekend, so we're already off to a good start!

What are some of your favorite holiday activities? 
I'd love to find some new ones to add to my list!

Sincerely,
Nicole Leeay

From east to west: Starting a new chapter in Oregon

Saturday, November 14, 2015

We made it!
Peace out Florida, the Cravinhos are now officially Oregonians.


We are so excited to be calling Bend home, and I cannot wait to get out and explore some more.
Things have been all about trying to get settled and unpacked, but we have managed to squeeze in a little fun here and there. 

Last weekend the four of us ventured out to breakfast at this adorable and delicious little restaurant called McKay's cottage. I embraced fall with some pumpkin pancakes and a hazelnut latte.


After breakfast we decided to make the twenty minute drive up to Mt. Bachelor to show Jacob snow for the first time. 



He was pretty confused and a little weary, but after watching his did make (and throw) a few snowballs he warmed up to it. 

Annabelle stayed in the nice toasty car, except for a super quick photo op.


Clearly, she was not feeling it.  Jacob is being mesmerized by the snow plow driving by. 

I am loving our new town, and even though moving with a four week old and a toddler was totally insane I am so happy that we're here!
Right now we are staying with my parents (who also just made the move) until we get a chance to find a place of our own. 

Things have been too chaotic for me to even think about house hunting, so for now I'm just going to enjoy our current view, which isn't too shabby.



Sincerely,
Nicole

Slowing it Down

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Things have been EXTRA crazy around here for the past couple of weeks. 
I would not recommend moving right after having a baby to anyone, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. 
Trying to balance recovering from having Annabelle, getting in all of my newborn snuggle time and nursing, giving Jacob all of the attention he craves, AND packing up the house has probably been one of the most difficult tasks of my life. 
Of course none of has gone smoothly.

Everything really accumulated about two weeks ago and I finally reached my breaking point.
I was having issues nursing Annabelle (tongue tie that has since been fixed), not giving my poor toddler the attention and understanding that he needs during such a transitional time, trying to do too much at home, and not taking care of myself.
I ended up sick and running a fever for a few days, and that's when I knew it was time to slow down.
When your body starts to physically tell you it's too much, you have to listen.

Now I'm working on slowing it down and giving myself a break.
I mean, I just had a baby for goodness sake!
It sounds so simple, but when your a control freak like me it's easier said than done.
My husband has been handling just about everything related to the move as well as helping out with the day to day stuff at home, and I've been focusing on my little ones.
Babies grow so fast, and I don't want to miss out on this newborn time with Annabelle.


As a mom and wife sometimes you feel like you have to do it all. 
That's a totally unrealistic expectation, but I know many of us are guilty of it. 
With that kind of mentality everyone suffers, a realization I wish I came to sooner and hope that I remember.

Sincerely,
Nicole

DIY Halloween Cardstock Banner

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I am a big fan of card stock banners.
They are SO easy to make and are a perfect way to make something a little more festive, whether it's a holiday or special event (here's a card stock banner I made for our gender reveal).
The best part is if you use stuff you already have it won't cost you a dime!


I recently made this beware Halloween banner for our mantle.
Since we are moving on Halloween, I decided to decorate our home back in September.
I love holidays and didn't want to miss out on Halloween just because our home would be packed up during the month of October.


What you will need:
Black, orange and white card stock
Stencils for three different size pennants, beware letters, and spiders 
Glue stick
Needle and thread (if you want your spiders to dangle)
Bakers twine or string of your choice

Start off by cutting out your pennants, beware letters, and spiders.
I used my Cricut to make mine, but you could easily use stencils for this project.
Using glue stick, attach your pennants, largest to smallest.
Next, glue the beware letters to the pennants.


I used a needle and thread to attach the spiders to the bakers twine. I chose to use thread because it's nice and thin, so that all you really see are the spiders dangling off of the banner. 

This card stock banner was so simple, and I love the festive addition it makes to our mantle. 
Jacob was especially partial to the spiders, and we lost a few to curious toddler hands. 

Happy Halloween!

Sincerely,
Nicole

Introducing Annabelle

Monday, October 26, 2015


We welcomed Annabelle Nicole into the world on October 1st at 5:38pm. Our little fall baby arrived weighing in at 6 lbs 15 oz and a head FULL of dark hair. 


We are all so in love with this little girl, and after only three weeks with us it's impossible to imagine life without her. 


Our little Belle has such a calm and sweet nature about her, and she sleeps right through all of the chaos and commotion of our current household. 
She is such a blessing and the perfect addition to our little family. 

Sincerely,
Nicole Leeay


DIY Polka Dot Bulletin Board

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This project was so easy, yet it made such a nice addition to my work space.
It's the little things, right?



All you need is a plain cork board (I found mine at Hobby Lobby), some acrylic paint, a paint brush, and something round to make a circle stencil with.


I started off by painting the frame of my cork board white.
I normally would have used painters tape along the edges of the cork, but I couldn't find mine.
C'est la vie.


My paint job turned out a little less than perfect which doesn't really bother me, but I would recommend taping off the border.

I didn't feel like buying an actual circle stencil, so I made my own. I used a large circular hole punch that I already had in my craft closet, and made about 4 stencils out of card stock scraps.



I fixed any mistakes free-hand, and also applied a second coat of paint to my polka dots because I really wanted the gold to pop.



Once the board is dry you are free to pin whatever pretty things inspire you!

Sincerely,
Nicole

Halloween PJ picks for littles

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Celebrating holidays with little ones is SO much fun, and I especially love picking out seasonal PJs for Jacob (and soon Annabelle!). I've seen so many cute options for Halloween this year, and I have to admit I've already picked up a couple pairs for Jacob. Here's a roundup of my favorite Halloween jammies for kiddos right now!

Are you a fan of special holiday pjs for your little ones? 


Sincerely,
Nicole

Lately...

Monday, September 21, 2015

I've been meaning to get this post written and up for a week now, if that gives you any indication of how things have been.
Without further ado, here's a little snippit of whats been going on around here lately.


Moving. You might call me crazy but right after our little lady is born (I'm talking weeks) we are moving across the country. The timing is a little insane, and I wish we were able to move before Belle is born, but things just didn't work out that way. We are REALLY excited to be moving back to Oregon though, and I think Bend will be the perfect place to raise our littles. I'm looking forward to a cold winter and for Jacob to see snow! We've started the process of packing up the house, and I'm hoping to have my part of it done before the baby arrives. Pulling out baby gear while packing away everything else has been a little insane, but I know we will all be so thankful once we are on our merry way to Oregon!


Halloween in September. I am ready for Halloween y'all. About a week ago Jake was out of town so Jacob and I busted out all the Halloween decor and decorated the house. I love holidays, especially now with little ones. Jacob definitely understands more this year, which makes me determined to make sure he doesn't miss out on anything! Annabelle is due on the 11th, so I think part of me is in the mood to celebrate Halloween early because I'm worried that with all of the craziness of a newborn AND moving I might not get to enjoy everything I want to with Jacob. I also feel like it's a bit of misplaced nesting energy. Who knows, but if you follow my Instagram feed you've definitely seen some of our "Halloween in September" festivities.


Hobbies. I have wanted to learn how to sew for a while, and in August I finally took the plunge and got myself a sewing machine for my birthday. I LOVE IT. So far I've only been sewing things for Annabelle, and this past weekend I had to finish up all of my projects in preparation for both her arrival and the move.

Pregnancy. This pregnancy has definitely been different than my first. I'm not sleeping well and I have way more aches and pains. Some days it's really bad. BUT I'm also moving around more and staying pretty limber. At 37 weeks I'm still crawling around on the floor and bending down to pick things up without a problem. I think I have my toddler to thank for that. We are all set for Annabelle to arrive! Since we are moving at the beginning of November, the sooner she gets here the better. At my doctor appointment last week I found out that I'm 3 cm dilated, which I know doesn't really mean anything, but a girl can dream right?

That's what we've been up to around here lately, I hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Nicole


Pumpking spice & everything nice

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

As a result I've rounded up a few tasty pumpkin spice recipes to get you in the fall mood! 
Some of them have become a staple in our home every year, and some I can't wait to try.

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles//Pumpkin French Toast//Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins//No Bake Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars//Pumpkin Cheesecake//Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Martha Stewart always has great recipes, and I make these pumpkin cookies every. single. year. Sometimes twice.
About four years ago I also began a family tradition of making a pumpkin cheesecake every Thanksgiving, and this recipe is the one I have stuck with.

I think my family would really love this pumpkin take on snickerdoodles and I would love to try making these granola bars for a healthy pumpkin-flavored snack.

Do you have any pumpkin recipes that have become a staple in your home?

Sincerely,
Nicole

A family that cooks together

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
















*This post is NOT sponsored in any way by Blue Apron. These opinions are my own, and I enjoyed the service so much that I decided to share my experience.

It's SO easy for dinner become a hassle each week.
We were stuck in a rut for a while, rotating the same 4-5 meals every week.

The innocent question of "what's for dinner?" instantly made my nerves skyrocket.

Then one day my husband randomly decided to give Blue Apron a try.

A box that contained all the makings for three gourmet dinners arrived at our doorstep on a Wednesday morning.

The food was well packaged between 3 giant ice blocks, and was still nice and cold after sitting on our doorstep in the Florida heat.

Along with a welcome letter that discussed the meals for the week, there was also an information sheet for each meal which included the ingredients, pictures, and super easy to follow directions.

That night we excitedly cooked our first meal, and it was of course super tasty.

Much better than anything we probably would have come up with ourselves.



Flat iron steak with potatoes and asparagus salad

Besides enjoying good food, something else happened: my husband and I prepared the meal together and had an awesome time doing it.

After a busy day of him working and me chasing our toddler around, it's so easy for us to feel a bit disconnected. Things can get chaotic, especially around that time of night.

The Blue Apron meals have given us a wonderful stress-free way to come together at the end of the day.

While we prepare our dinner we turn on some music and our little guy has a blast dancing and playing in the kitchen while we cook. When he starts to get a bit irritated we just stick him in his high chair with a little dinner of his own and he eats while watching us.

Everyone is happy and everyone wins.

We've been receiving Blue Apron meals for a few weeks now, and are constantly impressed (check out my Instagram to see more of the yummy meals we've cooked).
The recipes are always unique and delicious, and we now have a great catalogue of meal ideas at our fingertips.

Another thing I love is that you have the ability to pick and choose what weeks you want to receive the meals.
My husband and I weren't big fans of what was on the menu for one week, so we just chose to skip it.
There's also vegetarian options that you can request, which we tried once when we weren't into a particular meal that was scheduled.

I have to say, overall I have been pretty impressed with our Blue Apron experience.
I foresee many more delicious (and stress-free) dinners in our future.

Sincerely,
Nicole Leeay



DIY Father's Day etched glass mug

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Father's Day is just around the corner, and if you are looking for an easy customized gift to make you've come to the right place. 

Glass etching is super easy, and if you've never tried it before I highly recommend it.

This year for Father's Day I decided to make my husband a customized etched glass beer mug, with our son's birthdate on it. 



All you need for this project is whatever glass item you want to personalize (I picked up this inexpensive beer mug from Walmart for $3), etching cream (you can find this at Michael's), a brush, and a stencil of whatever you want to etch.



I used my Cricut to cut out my stencil, but I know that if you search Pinterest there are other ways to make stencils that don't involve craft machines. 

I peeled away the letters so that I was left with the outline for my stencil. 



I carefully placed the stencil on the beer mug, making sure there were no bubbles near the letters. 

Next I generously applied the etching cream to the glass, and let is sit for a good 10-20 minutes. 
I've found that the longer I leave the cream on, the better.



I put the glass under running water in the sink to wash off the cream and peel away the stencil, and was left with a beautiful etched glass mug!




Paired with a 6 pack of Dad's favorite beer, this Father's Day gift is sure to be a hit in our house.
Happy Father's Day!

Sincerely,
Nicole


Navy and Coral Living Room Inspiration

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Right now I am obsessed with navy blue and coral together, especially with gold accents.

We painted our living room a smokey shade of navy (Sherwin Williams "smokey blue"), and this color combo is definitely what has been inspiring me as I work on decorating our space.

images via left//right

I am not the kind of girl who can live in a neutral-only home (even though I know that's the trend right now), and I love the statement these bold colors make.

I still have a lot of work to do before I achieve the look I want in my own living room, but you have to begin somewhere. I decided that throw pillows were a great place to start.







Since I have a lot of navy blue going on already, my goal is to add pops of coral, gold and white whenever I can.


Right now I'm working on finding accent pieces to really make my vision come to life, so stay tuned!

Sincerely,
Nicole

DIY: Easy Reupholstered Chair Cushion

Tuesday, June 2, 2015






Do you like my charming new desk chair?

It used to look like this, which made me sad every time I looked at it.

That's a pretty ugly chair.



Since I've been working on giving my office area a much needed facelift, I decided it was time for this chair to get a makeover.

I got rid of the ugly, stained, beige fabric and recovered the seat cushion with a sweet girly fabric that I found at Hobby Lobby.

Reupholstering sounds difficult, but it was actually really easy.

First I unscrewed the seat from the frame of the chair. The fabric that was currently covering the seat cushion wasn't very thick, so I didn't even bother removing it.





I situated the cushion on my fabric to figure out what part of the design I wanted on my chair.

{Look at those gross stains, ew.}





Once I had that figured out, I traced the outline of my cushion with a pencil and cut it out. I left an extra five inches or so all the way around, leaving me with plenty of extra fabric to wrap around the cushion.

Next I flipped over the fabric and my cushion, pulled the fabric taught, and with my staple gun began attaching the fabric.





You want to be sure that you are pulling the fabric tight while you do this, and that you are carefully working the fabric at corners to avoid any creases. Be patient, this may take a few tries before it looks perfect.

I had decided to paint my chair white as well, and once that dried I screwed the cushion back into the frame and voila!

My chic new desk chair.






This project was so easy, I'm not sure why I waited so long to do it.

I was able to complete it during my little ones nap time, and I'd say that's time well spent.

It's the little details, like a desk chair, that can make a huge difference in how you feel about your space.

Sincerely,
Nicole





Gender Reveal {Easy Card Stock Banner}

Monday, June 1, 2015





We will be adding a baby girl to our family this fall and I could not be more excited about it!









Pink lace shirt from JCrew Factory / similar one can be found here.



I have to admit, things have been a little different with pregnancy number two.
Chasing a toddler around sure takes up a lot of my time, but I am SO excited about our baby girl.

I knew I wanted to announce our news in a special way, because if I'm being honest I really haven't been documenting this pregnancy like I did my last one.

I made my "girl" sign out of card stock during Jacob's nap time, so quick and easy!
I used my Cricut to cut out the pennants and the letters, but it could easily be done with stencils and scissors. I used good old fashioned glue stick to attach everything, punched a few holes, and laced some jute through it.





Now that I've reached the halfway point and we know that we are having a "she", the fact that there is going to be another tiny little human here soon is starting to set in.

How will I continue to give Jacob all the attention that he needs and craves once the new baby arrives?
How will our family dynamic change?
What the heck is life going to look like with a newborn and a toddler?
Will I ever have time for myself again?

These questions (along with many others) are constantly floating around in my mind. I know that things will workout (they always do), but it doesn't stop me from worrying and wondering!

If you have two (or more) children how did your family adjust?

Sincerely,
Nicole