September 8, 2015
by Elbranch
0 comments

Stitch Fix Review #1

By now, I’m sure that everyone has heard of Stitch Fix. It’s the super fun, online personal stylists who review your style and ship you a “fix,” a box full of lovely clothing for you to try on in the convenience of your own home. I love how convenient the whole process is, especially since it’s so difficult to find time with little kiddos to get out by myself to go shopping.  I received my first Stitch Fix back in 2013 but never fully blogged about it. I recently received my second Fix and wanted to share with you the wonderful clothes I received!

The process is so easy…I filled out a quick style quiz, wrote a note to my stylist with specific items I was looking for (and what I did not want), and made sure my style Pinterest board was updated. I selected when I wanted to receive my fix, and voila, soon after I received a box of five clothing items.  When the fix ships, you can go online and peek at the items in your box. However tempting that was, I resisted since I wanted to be surprised.

My box arrived after work one day last week, and I slowly peeked at the items. The box contains a personal note from your stylist as well as style cards that show different ways to wear the clothes.


  I just love how nice and pretty everything looks…all so neatly packaged! Immediately, I loved all of the patterns in the box and was hoping I’d love how the clothes fit me.
  

Please note: I hate taking pics of myself, so these aren’t the best:( Ignore the dirty mirror in the bathroom!

Item #1: 41Hawthorn Renesme Graphic Print Dress.  I specifically told my stylist that I was looking for a dress to wear to work this fall. Once I saw the print, I loved it! It’s a pretty turquoise with a small pattern in a wrap style dress. It fit well and I loved the three quarter sleeve look. Perfect for fall! Verdict: Kept!Item #2: Fun2Fun Enid V-Neck Top. This was one of my favorite prints from the box! It’s a pretty blue and cranberry floral print v neck top that’s perfect for work. It goes great with jeans as well. Verdict: Kept! IMG_5820.JPG

Item #3: Papermoon Jerrard Heathered Open Front Cardigan. I have several open front cardigans but not in this color or material. It’s a thicker sweater like material in a neutral gray/black color. My stylist recommended that I pair it with the dress, but I didn’t like the mix of the patterns/colors. However, I will wear this frequently this fall…it goes with lots of colors! Verdict: Kept! (Are you noticing a pattern here, ha!)

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Item #4: Ijoah Zada Knit Top. I love this super soft, comfy striped top in gray and blue stripes with coral sleeves! Such a pretty color combo and goes great with jeans! Verdict: Kept, of course!

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Item #5: Octavia Barry Striped Infinity Scarf. I love the lightness of this infinity scarf! It’s a cream colored scarf with mint and gray stripes! Love it! It’s perfect for fall but also for winter. Verdict: Kept!

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I was surprised but very happy that I really liked all five items and decided to keep all of them. If you purchase everything in your box, you get a 25% discount off the total box! Great deal! However, if there are items you don’t like, just send them back in the postage paid mailer. Initially, you pay a $20 styling fee but the fee goes towards any items you purchase from your box. If you are interested in scheduling your own fix, click here! This is a referral link…if you sign up, I get a Stitch Fix credit:) Please let me know if you have any questions about Stitch Fix! I highly recommend it and plan on ordering more fixes in the near future:)

July 17, 2015
by Elbranch
0 comments

Five on Friday//Happenings

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with April for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday.

one// This girl is potty trained! I am so proud of how Harper has done the past few weeks with potty training:) We started a few weeks ago with her wearing pull ups and after she went 20 days without any accidents, she was able to earn several toys at our local toy store (she also earned small rewards on a daily basis for using the potty-Skittles and iPad time). Harper was so proud each evening when she earned a sticker for her reward chart and was so excited to be able to “cash in” the chart for three (small) toys from her fave toy store. Mommy’s so excited to be done with diapers after having kiddos in diapers straight for the past five+ years (with an overlap of a year with two in diapers).

two// Cousin fun! Harper and Will’s cousins, O. and N., are visiting from Colorado! They stayed at our house last weekend and the kiddos enjoyed some fun times together. We explored a local cave, played at a playground, and grilled out for dinner. Fun times! three//Babywearing! Even though Harper is three, she still loves to be carried in my Ergo. She’s so light that it’s very easy to carry her around, especially when she’s on my  back. I grabbed the baby carrier at the last minute as we headed out with the cousins to explore a local cave, and I’m so glad I did. It was around Harper’s nap time and she was grouchy. She ended up falling asleep on the cave tour.

IMG_3031-0.jpgfour//I know I’ve mentioned this several times on my blog, but I just love selling my kiddos’ old clothes and buying via Instagram or Kidizen. You should check out the free Kidizen app and search for some great deals on kids’ clothes! My shop’s name is Harper&Will’s Closet. Lately, I’ve been finding some super cute clothes on the app. Below is a recent mail day…cute Mini Boden tops for Harper and some nice shirts for Will from Crewcuts. five//Yummy food! We are going to spend more time with our cousins and family this weekend, so in preparation, I’ve been making lots of yummy food (I’m known for bringing the dessert to get-togethers!), including monkey munch (that’s what we call it but there’s lots of other names for it), peanut butter pie, lemonade pie, and zucchini bread. Lately, I’ve been on a Pioneer Woman cooking kick. I just love her blog and recipes! The peanut butter pie is one of my fave desserts from her blog. On the menu next week, I plan on making her cajun chicken pasta and grilled veggie burritos! She has a new cookbook coming out this fall full of dinner recipes, which I’m super excited about! What are some of your favorite PW recipes?    
Happy Friday:)

July 10, 2015
by Elbranch
2 Comments

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with April for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday.

one// I went in to school two days this week for meetings, and while I wasn’t too thrilled about getting up early and heading in to work, Harper and Will were so excited to spend time at Nana’s! Since Will started riding a big kid bike without training wheels, he’s been begging to go to Nana’s all the time. He had to show off his skills to Mommy when I arrived. Harper, not to be left out of the action, decided that she wanted to try a big kid bike (with training wheels). She just has to keep up with big brother!
two// I love Mini Boden for my kiddos but buying their clothes brand new is so expensive. I search around on Instagram and Kidizen for consignment Boden clothes, but I scored some great deals recently from Boden with their end of summer sale. I purchased several shirts for Will at super great prices! three// Our mini garden is producing a boatload of zucchini! Do you have any great zucchini recipes? I made a savory zucchini pizza (with a zucchini crust) earlier in the week and have made chocolate zucchini bread several times. However, I have way too much zucchini and need to use it up! I’ve been sharing it with my neighbor and Nana, but we still have tons of it!

four// At Target recently, I snapped this pic of books so I could add a few to my “books to read” list. I’m not doing so great finding time this summer to read…and it’s going to be even harder this fall once school starts. I need a good, easy read book-any suggestions?

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five// This week has been super busy with VBS! Our church’s VBS theme this year is Everest, which is pretty cool. I’m a crew leader for Harper and four other preschoolers. Luckily, I have two great helpers. There’s about 50 preschoolers at VBS this year and it has been very busy and hectic each evening. VBS runs from 6-8:30, and by the end of the program, my kiddos are exhausted. I was Will’s crew leader last year, so I decided to help in Harper’s group this year (even though he desperately wanted to be in my group). I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend!

July 9, 2015
by Elbranch
0 comments

Summer Bucket of Fun!

I know that we’re already well into summer (some people even think that summer is over after the 4th of July…now that is just crazy!!), but I wanted to share this fun “Welcome to Summer” bucket that I put together for Harper and Will. I found the fun idea on Jenny Collier’s blog. If you haven’t already, check out her fun blog! She has great ideas for kiddos and wonderful, free printables to download.

On the first day of summer break, Harper and Will each received a fun bucket filled with a variety of summer toys (and pjs!).

Below is what I put in each of their buckets:

-summer jammies from Old Navy

-squirt gun

-a fun, colorful pinwheel

-bubbles (always a hit!)

-a sand shovel

I printed out the “Welcome to Summer” tag from Jenny’s blog and just attached it to the buckets. So simple!

And don’t be fooled by their faces, they really did like the summer buckets! I think this is such a fun and easy way to celebrate the start of summer and plan on doing this every year! What end of school year/beginning of summer traditions do you have? 

July 9, 2015
by Elbranch
2 Comments

Fourth of July 2015

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! Our weekend started a little early, which was super nice! My husband took off Wed-Fri and we headed to West Virginia for the day on Wednesday to visit my in-laws and my brother-in-law and his family. Will recently learned how to ride a two wheeled bike without training wheels, so he was so excited to try out this new ride at my in-laws.

Harper zoomed up and down the road in her three wheeler.

Cousin time! Cousin V. is 7 and cousin E. is 5 (just a few weeks younger than Will). In December, we will have a third cousin (from this family)! 

On Thursday, we headed to Durham, North Carolina to visit my brother and sister-in-law for the holiday weekend. We always really enjoy visiting them! They are the best hosts and are wonderful with our kiddos. Here’s a brief glimpse of our adventures in NC!

Park time after enjoying some yummy Italian food. We checked out several different parks throughout the weekend.  
We headed to Raleigh to a fun children’s museum, full of all kinds of creepy crawlies. 
The Durham Farmer’s Market is always fun, and since it was the 4th, we received free popsicles and the fire truck was there to spray water at the kiddos. Quite fun!

     Jump time! I had always wanted to check out one of these bouncing/trampoline places, so we decided to go to one on Saturday. It was really hot out, so being inside in a cool gym was great. All of us (grown ups and kiddos alike) had a great time!

  Then we had some relaxing time at my brother’s house, painting Harper’s piggies and getting some new pirate and shark tattoos (along with some fun, stick-on mustaches!).  

We headed to their friends’ house for a 4th of July picnic and walked downtown Durham to watch the fireworks.   
We ended the trip by eating at one of our favorite donut places, Rise, before driving home on Sunday.  
We had a blast! It’s been the third year in a row that we’ve headed to NC for the 4th of July. I love the tradition and hope to continue it:)

 

July 3, 2015
by Elbranch
10 Comments

Five on Friday!!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with April for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday. In other words, here’s my weekly blog post that recaps what we’ve been up to. We’ve been too busy enjoying our summer…there’s just no time to blog!

one//water table fun. Harper and Will have really enjoyed playing with their water table this summer. I bought their water table several years ago and we’ve definitely gotten our money’s worth out of it. I put little animals (dinosaurs, horses, etc…whatever I can find around the house) in a variety of plastic containers and freeze them. Harper and Will love trying to thaw out the animals in the water table. It’s a super easy and fun activity, especially when it’s so hot out!

two// Summer dollar movies! I took Harper and Will to see “Paddington” last week. It was a really fun movie, though there were several scary parts (for my kids). We’re still not ready to sit still for that long, so I was glad the movie only cost us $1 each. I plan on taking them at least once more before the end of the summer. three//Peach fun! We visited our local peach orchard for the second time this summer to participate in their “Come Grow With Me” program. It’s a really fun program where the kiddos get to listen to a story or two, create a fun fruit themed craft, pick the fresh fruit for the week (we picked cherries the first time we went, then we picked peaches), walk around the orchard, and enjoy some yummy fruit ice cream. Harper enjoyed collecting peach pits and stuffed them in her pockets. We currently have a container in the garage full of peach pits…Harper and Will want to plant them to grow their own tree. four//sidewalk chalk fun! Harper loves drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. Mommy, on the other hand, can’t stand the sound and feel of chalk. Any suggestions on other sidewalk paint type activities that don’t involve chalk?five//Haircut time! Will was in desperate need of a hair cut! The last time he got his hair cut was at the beginning of April during spring break…yikes! Of course, any time we go, Harper has to get her hair “cut” as well. She sits up in the chair and the hair stylist pretends to cut Harper’s hair. It’s so cute! She always has to do what big brother does:) Speaking of haircuts, she has yet to get her hair cut. It’s getting really long but I love it…I’m not sure when I will get it cut.  

Happy 4th of July weekend!

July 1, 2015
by Elbranch
2 Comments

{star spangled kids!}

Happy (almost) Fourth of July! I’m linking up with Sara for a fun 4th of July kids link-up:) I searched high and low for any red and white in my kiddos’ closets. We have lots of blue but not so much red. I reused Harper’s 4th of July hair clip from last year to add some red to her outfit. Harper and Will brought home these flags from story time yesterday. 

 I can’t wait to see everyone else’s stylish kiddos’ outfits for the 4th! 
   

June 26, 2015
by Elbranch
2 Comments

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with April for 5 on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey friday. It’s been a while since I’ve linked up for the fun Friday blog posts. Here goes!

one//we had a great Father’s Day weekend. I even managed to snap a picture of daddy and Harper and Will (though bribery was involved, ha!). We kept the weekend pretty low key and hung out, went for ice cream at our favorite local spot, and took a walk. Fun family times!

two//one of the activities on our summer bucket list is outdoor sensory activities. I had some cheap dollar store shaving cream on hand, so the kiddos and I mixed it with some corn starch. It made the most wonderful feeling (and smelling) play dough-so smooth and silky. Then, Harper and Will decided to add water and cook with it, turning it into a soupy mess. Luckily, we were outside and I easily sprayed off the mess afterwards. The kiddos had lots of fun! And I even had a few minutes to read part of my book:)three//summer jammies! I’m loving the fun, colorful summer jammies I found for Harper and Will at Old Navy. Old Navy recently had a great baby/kids sale, and I scored these summer pajamas for under $8 each! four//is anyone else obsessed with their Fitbit? It drives me crazy when I’m pushing a stroller or the grocery cart and don’t get my steps. If that’s the case, I usually strap the Fitbit onto my shoe or flipflop. Or I try to push the stroller/cart one-handed, which looks pretty ridiculous. My husband makes fun of me for doing this, and the kiddos have caught on to mommy trying to get her steps. They occasionally walk around the house saying that they’re getting their steps (no joke!). five//has anyone read this book? Is it good? Every time I see a book I want to read (which is usually when I’m reading blogs on my phone), I take a screen shot of it. Unfortunately, I’m not very good about going back and looking through my zillions of pictures trying to find the books I want to read. Any other good book recommendations for the summer?

Have a great weekend!

June 23, 2015
by Elbranch
2 Comments

{summer bucket list}

summer bucket list

 

Now that we’re a few weeks into summer, I thought we’d better get on the ball and create our summer bucket list, ha! I found this fun editable printable from Jenny Collier (love her blog! Go check it out-she has great printables!) and plugged in our summer plans. We’ve already completed some of these activities like exploring new parks, bubbles and sidewalk chalk, canoeing/fishing with granddaddy, summer dollar movies, and going out for ice cream. I hope to blog about these fun activities soon.

What do you have planned for the summer?!

June 22, 2015
by Elbranch
4 Comments

Losing a Loved One

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I haven’t blogged in a while…since the end of May. It’s been a very difficult few weeks for us. Our beloved Pops passed away of cancer at the beginning of June. Pops was our babysitter, Nana’s husband. He was a great man who loved our kiddos as though they were his own grandchildren. Nana started watching Will and Harper as soon as they were born, and we’ve always referred to her and her husband as Nana and Pops, our kiddos’ third set of grandparents. Here are some of my favorite pictures of Pops at Harper’s second birthday party. He was too sick to come to Harper’s third birthday party and Will’s fifth birthday party this year.

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This is how I remember Pops…always playing and interacting with Harper and Will (and his grandchildren, as well as other kiddos who were close to the family).

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You can’t really see in this picture below, but Harper and Will are playing tea party with Pops (at her 2nd birthday party). The hardest part has been explaining to the kids what happened to Pops. I reached out to my friend and co-worker (a school counselor) for help and resources. She provided me with numerous books, information about grief and kids as well as a memory book for the kids to complete. Thanks, Ashley:) Reading the books seemed to help Will and Harper understand (as much as they can since they are so young) why Pops is no longer with us and is in Heaven.

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We’re taking things a day at a time and are spending lots of time visiting Nana. Since I’m off for the summer, my kiddos aren’t at her house each day, so we’re making sure we visit her a few times a week.

Any suggestions you have for helping kids go through the grieving process would be beneficial. This is the first time that Harper and Will have experienced a loss in our family.

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I’m struggling because I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to Pops. His health rapidly declined the last few weeks of May and we had one of our other babysitter’s come to our house to watch the kiddos. The day he passed away, as I was driving to work, the song, “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli came on the radio. I broke down and just prayed out loud and talked to Pops. Later that day at work, I received a call saying that he had passed away. I left work and as I turned on the radio, Francesca Battistelli’s song, “Holy Sprit,” was playing. Now every time I hear the song, it reminds me of Pops and I usually end up crying, thinking of all the wonderful times and memories that my kiddos and I have of him. As I’m typing this post, I’m bawling. Cancer is such an awful disease. He was so young.

While Pops and Nana were at Duke for five weeks this past winter receiving treatments, I sent Nana and Pops a text and a picture of the kiddos and their daily events each day. I didn’t miss a day.  I’ve been going back through the tons of pictures I have taken and am going to create a photo book of Pops and the kiddos. At this point, the pain is still too hard for me to get started on it. I hope to have it finished by the end of the summer though. I want to make a copy for both Harper and Will, for our neighbor and her children (Pops’s grandchildren) and for Nana and her parents.

I hope to get back to blogging soon…it’s summer and I’m trying to do lots of fun activities with the kiddos. However, things just don’t seem the same.

 

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