Life With My Littles
Hi! If you are coming from www.craftychelsea.com, don't be alarmed! This is my new site! You can find all of my old posts here, as well as new ones more focused on pregnancy and babies. If you are looking for something in particular, you can use the search box under my picture. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Shop by Life With My Littles



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Hey guys! Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving next week? I sure am. I have all my recipes picked out and have done most of my grocery shopping already. I am especially excited to make our family's favorite Coconut Cream Pie recipe! Yum!

Anyway, Christmas is a little over a month away, and I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you my newly updated Etsy shop! AND to offer a coupon code for Black Friday/Cyber Monday! Hooray!

Last month I changed my shop's name a bit and gave it a new logo. It is now called "The Shop by Life With My Littles" and I love it. It sounds so fancy! I figured I wouldn't add "printables" in there just in case I do decide to add some other items in the future. But for now, I just sell printables!


I have been selling printables on Etsy for over a year now, and I love doing it. My most popular prints are my Harry Potter quote chalkboard prints, but I also have a few others that I have made, too.


I love when people ask me to make custom items for them because I like to collaborate with people and create what they are envisioning for different rooms in their home. I have had several people ask me for nursery printables, and I love getting to work with people and make their visions come true.


So to celebrate the grand re-opening of my Etsy shop (and also Black Friday/Cyber Monday), I am offering 25% off for LWML readers using coupon code LWML25. How exciting! I have never done a coupon code before so this is fun for me, too! But you do have to enter it before purchasing, no sending me a message after it's been placed and saying you want to add it (I worked for a company where people did that sometimes and it was super annoying!). But it's not hard to enter so don't worry!


Prints are $4 for a 4x6, $5 for a 5x7, and $7 for an 8x10. If you want a custom printable, it is $1 more. And I would love to help you make a printable that you will love! Please talk to me and I will see what I can do.

I hope you get a chance to stop by my shop and check it out! I sure do love making printables!

What quote would you like to see on a printable?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DIY Pocket Advent Calendar



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In college I took a "Religion in the Home" class where we learned about how different religions practice their beliefs in their homes. It was really a great class, and I loved seeing the similarities between Latter-day Saints and other religions. One of my favorite things that I learned about were advent calendars. I had never done an advent calendar (unless you count little chocolate ones) growing up, and I thought it would be a really fun way to celebrate the season and count down the days until Christmas. I wanted to make an advent calendar last year, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I finally got around to making one. And I am excited to share it with you!


This is a simple advent calendar that I made using fabric pockets, iron-on transfers, and my printer. I love the way it turned out!


It didn't take very long to make, and I love that the pockets are big enough to put an object, a note, or a treat inside. I can really do whatever I want with the activities and little gifts for each day!


To make this advent calendar, here is what you need:
  • 1 2/3 yd 38" muslin 
  • 1/3 yd of four different Christmas fabrics
  • Matching thread
  • Iron-on Transfer Paper
  • Printer
  • Mini clothespins
  • Twine

First, cut 24 rectangles of muslin 11"x 6 1/2", and 24 rectangles (6 each) of your Christmas fabrics 11"x 3".

Second, fold your cotton Christmas rectangles hot-dog ways (yes, I just said that), wrong sides together, press, and sew the long edge with a 1/4" seam.


Third, sew them to the muslin with a 1/2" seam. You will want to line up the sewn side with the raw edge of the muslin (see picture).


Fourth, fold the pocket together, right sides together, and sew along the bottom and side with a 1/2" seam.


Fifth, turn right-side out and press.


Sixth, open up a word document and type 1-24. Use the grid on your document and make sure that your numbers are smaller than 5x5.5". Then print on light iron-on transfer paper and transfer your numbers to your pockets. Make sure you mirror-image print, or you will waste a lot of transfer paper. You can try doing one of those fancy tutorials people have posted on Pinterest using wax paper, but I could never get it to work for me (crappy printer?). Transfer paper is the easiest way to go.


Seventh, hang up your adorable advent calendar garland and you are done!


What kinds of things do you put in your advent calendar?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Making Time for Your Family with Marie Callender's Pot Pies


This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

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Something I love about being a stay-at-home mom is getting to prepare and serve my family yummy dinners every night. I love cooking, but sometimes a big fancy from-scratch dinner isn't always possible. When it was only Little J, it was pretty easy to get a nice meal on the table right when the Mister came home. I gave him all of my attention during the day, so he would usually play by himself while I got dinner ready. But now that I have two littles, it is a bit harder. Because I want to maximize my time with my kids, I have been looking for simple, fast, and delicious dinner ideas. One of our new favorites is a hot, wholesome Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie. Not only is it easy, but I don't feel guilty about serving one instead of making dinner from scratch. And with the new family sizes, there's always enough for our whole family.

I usually plan our weekly menu on Sunday, and then go grocery shopping on Monday. This week when we went to Walmart, Little J helped me pick out our Family Sized Chicken Pot Pie. You can tell it was cold that day because Little J is all bundled up! It has been really cold the last week here in Iowa, so I was looking forward to serving a Pot Pie to help warm us up!

Marie Callender’s tastes like homemade, Marie Callender’s pot pies, Marie Callender’s pies

Usually when I make dinner, it can take between 30 minutes to an hour of cooking. So sometimes, I have to endure between 30 minutes to an hour of crying and trying to hold a baby with a toddler on my legs. It was a nice change to get to play with my littles while dinner was cooking! All I had to do was put the Pot Pie in the oven and take it out when it was done! Little A slept half the time it was cooking, and Little J and I got to play!

We played with cars,

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we played with blocks,

Marie Callender’s tastes like homemade, Marie Callender’s pot pies, Marie Callender’s pies

and we played with a puzzle.

Marie Callender’s tastes like homemade, Marie Callender’s pot pies, Marie Callender’s pies

The Mister came home before dinner was ready, so we were able to all spend some nice time together. That usually doesn't happen because we don't have much time to play as a family after dinner since one of us is always doing something else (like dishes, studying, or other housework). But because it was so easy to make and clean up, I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family. Thank you, Marie Callender!

Dinner was delicious, and even Little J enjoyed his Pot Pie! Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pies have homemade gravy mixed with vegetables and all white-meat chicken, in a golden, perfectly flaky crust that’s made from scratch, so it was no wonder my family loved it. I think Little J's favorite part were the veggies, and the Mister definitely loved the crust the best. They were both asking for more! Can someone say #PotPiePlease?

http://www.mariecallendersmeals.com/

When I serve Marie Callender's Pot Pies, I don't have to sacrifice having a good dinner just because I want to play with my kids. We are usually pretty busy around our house, so it's nice to be able to turn dinner into a stress-free occasion. I had a lot of fun playing with my children instead of cooking, and I was still able to serve a meal that delivered the true sense of homemade.

To learn more about Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pies, please visit http://www.mariecallendersmeals.com/. And don't forget to say #PotPiePlease next time you are at the store!!

What kinds of tips do you have to spend more time with your family?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why GroopDealz is the Best Place to Shop for Christmas


This post is sponsored by GroopDealz. I received free product in exchange for this post, and this post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated if you buy something, but that compensation does not influence these ideas in any way. All opinions are 100% my own!

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Have you noticed all of the deal sites out there? I can think of at least six off the top of my head. And while they all can give you decent deals, there is only one that makes it easy to shop for everyone on your Christmas list this year.

Two months ago I discovered GroopDealz , and I am so glad I did because they are easily the best deal site around. Their site features boutique items at up to 70% off original prices. They have the feel of one of the smaller deal sites, but the selection of a large one. And I love all of the items they have. I don't think I have ever looked at their site without wanting at least ten things. And unlike some sites, they have deals for everyone! They have tons of cute clothes and accessories for women and girls, but they also have deals for little boys, men, your home, and the holidays.



A few weeks ago they had the cutest tool bench and tool set for little kids for only $32! It sold out before I was able to buy it for Little J, but it was so cute! And they also had a gorgeous white ceramic canister that I wanted to get as a centerpiece for our new table. They always have amazing leggings, solid and print, and the sweaters and tops, oh my, I want them all.

GroopDealz.com

Something else I love about GroopDealz is that they post new items twice a day. When you sign up for the e-mails, you get e-mails twice a day showcasing all of the new items. For me, I always check e-mails on my phone so it's easy to quickly scan all the deals they send out. And all the deals are in the e-mails so you won't miss out on anything!



And there are SO MANY DEALS! I seriously love that there are so many new things each day. Since last month I have been checking the deals every day looking for presents for my family. In the last year, we've had three new additions to our family (a niece, a brother-in-law, and a daughter), so we have a few more people to buy for this year! And we have adults, teenagers, and kids, so we have quite an age range to buy for, too. You would think that would be a huge challenge, but with GroopDealz , it is no problem! There is always something for everyone on their site.



GroopDealz also makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for with their "events." One of my recent favorites was their "Cozy in the Kitchen" event where they had kitchen decor, utensils, aprons, curtains, table linens, and even cute vinyl for your Kitchen-Aid! They also sort items by category, so you can search for fashion, jewelry, home decor, kids, and best-sellers. And speaking of best-sellers, they frequently restock the most popular items so if you do happen to miss out on those cute yoga pants, there's still hope that you can get them later!



Basically, I am in love with GroopDealz . I am super happy that I discovered them because they have made shopping for Christmas presents way easier this year (and have saved me a lot of money, too!). I love checking my e-mails every day and finding new things that I can get for my family. And you get exposed to new favorite designers and stores, too! I would tell you what I got my family from GroopDealz , but I don't want to spoil the surprise for them! I will tell you that I bought myself some incredible fleece-lined leggings, though!!

I know that you guys will love GroopDealz as much as me, and I hope you check them out because it really is the best and easiest way to buy Christmas presents this year!

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Cut Any Shape into a Pie Crust


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Last year was the first year we had any littles of our in our home for the holidays. It was a lot of fun to try and make it special for Little J and try and do things that we could turn into traditions.For Thanksgiving, I decided I wanted to try and make a special pie for him that we could do each year for him and any siblings he would one day have (little did we know he'd have one next year!). I had seen pies with shapes cut out for vents before, and thought it would be really easy to make my own little stencil and use it to cut a shape out of our pie crust. And guess what? It was really simple! So now I am sharing this super fast way to cut any shape into a pie crust.

I love this idea because you can either print a stencil off your computer, or you can make your own. I chose to make our stencil be Little J's handprint. It will never be that small again so I wanted to remember it!


All you have to do is trace or print your stencil, cut it out, and lay it flat on top of the pie crust.


Then, just use a small, sharp knife to cut around your shape and cut out the part you want to vent.


Carefully roll up your crust, then unroll it on top of your pie.


Finish your edges and bake it like you normally would, and then you have a beautiful pie with your own unique shape on it! Seriously, so easy and a great way to make any pie special and original. Have fun getting creative!



Monday, November 3, 2014

Getting Your Toddler Involved in Thanksgiving Baking with OREO Cookie Balls


This #OREOCookieBalls shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

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I love Thanksgiving. Growing up, my sister and I used to help every year when we went to my grandparents' house. Our favorite thing to do was to peel and mash potatoes. I have really fun, happy memories of Thanksgiving, and I want to make sure my children have that, too. One way I want to do that is by getting my kids involved in making the food. Last year, Little J was only 8-months-old for Thanksgiving, so he wasn't able to do much. But now that he is 20-months-old, I decided I was going to find ways to get him involved in Thanksgiving baking, and one easy way to do this is by making OREO Cookie Balls!

I tried to get him involved during the whole process, so we went to Walmart and I let him pick out some fun decorations. He was excited that I was letting him hold things, and was all smiles when we picked out our OREOS in the cookie aisle!

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I wanted to involve Little J as much as possible, so when we got home, I let him help me crush the OREOS in my food processor. It's a small one, so he was able to help put the cookies in and press the button to crush them. He doesn't get to sit on the counter very often, so he thought it was pretty cool that he was up there helping me.

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After I mixed the OREOs with the cream cheese, rolled them into balls, and froze them for 10 minutes, I started getting the decorations ready in little paper cups. He was really interested in what I was doing, and I was glad that he knew something fun was happening. I placed my freshly-chocolate-covered Cookie Balls and the decorations on a cookie sheet, and let him go to work!

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Little J was a natural! He did end up eating a lot of the candy corn, but every time I had to take the tray to dip more Cookie Balls, he got upset. He did pretty well, and it was a great way for him to work on hand-eye coordination as well as the fine-motor skills it took to grab some of the decorations. Putting the decorations in the little baking cups was perfect for his little hands!

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This was such a great way to get Little J involved in Thanksgiving baking, since a lot of the other things he won't be able to help me with. And it kept his attention the whole time, so I know he had a lot of fun.

Making #OREOCookieBalls is a great way to get your toddler involved in Thanksgiving baking, too. And with only three ingredients, they are super simple to make.

Official OREO Cookie Balls
Makes 48 Cookie Balls

Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
  • 36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
  • 4 pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
Make it!
  • MIX cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.
  • SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan.
  • CUSTOMIZE it with your own ingredient additions or edible decorative skills.
  • REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.
Share and enjoy!
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Here are some tips to make decorating OREO Cookie Balls with your toddler easy:
  • Dip the Cookie Balls in small numbers and let your toddler decorate them as they go.
  • Don't worry about stray sprinkles, candies, or other decorations. It's going to get messy and that's okay!
  • Use a wide variety of different toppings so your toddler has several things to choose from.
  • Put your decorations in mini cupcake wrappers. The shallow cups make it easy for your toddler to grab the decorations, and they are small enough that even if your toddler picks them up and dumps them, it's not a big loss.
  • Have extra candies on hand. Your toddler will eat them.
  • Decorate the OREO Cookie Balls right after you dip them. The chocolate dries faster than you would think!
  • Have fun! Your toddler certainly will!
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Little J and I both had a good time making and decorating these delicious Thanksgiving treats. It was such an easy way to get him involved in Thanksgiving baking, and I can't wait for his sister to be able to help next year!

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For more delicious and creative OREO Cookie Ball ideas, check out our hub where you can find tons of great OREO treats!

What tips do you have to get your toddler involved in Thanksgiving?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Little A's Birth Story


Okay, so Little A was born almost 8 weeks ago (ah!) and I still haven't shared her birth story! Since my blog is mainly about pregnancy and raising kids, duh, I had to share it! So here it is! Both in text and photos!

I know everyone knows that I have said this before, but I don't really enjoy being pregnant. It is a blessing that I am able to get pregnant, but those last few weeks are the worst. I hate not knowing when baby is going to be born because even though I can get everything ready, it is awful just sitting and waiting. Especially when you are having lots of braxton hicks contractions and they keep coming and going and making you crazy.

I had been having braxton hicks contractions starting around 31 weeks. I didn't feel any with Little J, so it was different and a little scary because we had a lot of traveling to do in July and the beginning of August. So once all the traveling was over at 35 weeks, I was ready for our little girl to be born.

We found out at 37 weeks that I was strep B positive, and because I delivered Little J so fast, the doctors said that I could probably be induced at 39 weeks just to make sure that I was able to get antibiotics in time and so that our baby would be okay. I was having so many braxton hicks and it was really frustrating when they would be 5 minutes apart and then just stop, so I said yes, please!

We scheduled my induction date at my 38 week appointment for September 3rd, and then we pushed it back to the 4th so that the Mister could come and be at the hospital the whole time (darn medical school rotations). On Tuesday, Little J and I went to the zoo, and on Wednesday, we tried to do every last thing we could together before we added a new little to our family. On Thursday morning, six days before my due date, we got a call at 6:15am that the hospital had a room for us and to be there at 7:30am. We got dressed, had some breakfast, and headed to the hospital.

After we were all checked in and everything was ready to go at 8:30am, I was started on a dose of Pitocin. They kept increasing my dosage because while I was having contractions, they weren't painful. Around 12:30pm, they stopped increasing the dosage because they started getting painful. They still weren't bad, but the dosage must've been a good amount because they kept getting worse. At 2:05pm my doctor came in and broke my water (a very weird feeling). My contractions were getting more and more painful, but not nearly as painful as when I was in labor with Little J. At 3:35pm I asked the nurse for my epidural and the anesthesiologist came in and gave it to me. I was never in too much pain, and the epidural worked perfectly. However, I wasn't dilating very quickly so they turned up my dosage of Pitocin again. They turned it down again after a while because my contractions were getting too close together and I wasn't dilated enough. My mom was in town to watch our son, so she and Little J came to the hospital around 7pm (I was at 5cm at this point). We couldn't go a whole day without seeing our little boy! After they were there for a while, the nurse turned up my dosage again, and after about 20-30 minutes I felt a very strong pressure. The nurse came in and told me I was at a 10 and ready to push! My mom and Little J went out into the lobby, the doctor came in, I pushed through a few contractions, and Little A was born at 8:10pm!

The Mister and I were both surprised by how much dark hair she had! We were both imagining a blonde little girl since Little J is so blonde, but nope! I got to hold her right after she was born, which I didn't get to do with Little J so I really liked that.

After we were both all cleaned up, my mom brought Little J in around 8:40 and he got to meet his new baby sister. The first thing he did, without us even telling him to, was to lean over and kiss her, and then pat her. He is the sweetest.

It was a really great experience, and we love our new little girl so much. She is almost two months old now, and she has brought so much joy to our family. Little J is really sweet and kind to her, and he loves to lay next to her and to play with her hair. He is such a good big brother!

We feel really blessed to have this sweet baby in our lives, and are enjoying every minute of it.