Monday, March 16, 2015

YOU'RE INVITED.... STORK THEMED TEA PARTY BABY SHOWER


We recently threw our dear friend Lori a baby shower for her FIRST baby!!! There is just nothing more exciting, huh? We have been "planning" her shower since the day she even spoke about a baby. We couldn't have asked for a better day!! It was the first day of sunshine and warmth we had had in a while, and it was such a mood lifter. Lori loves her "tea time", especially ever since our trip to JA together with our husbands' work family. See here for those photos! So, we opted for a tea party/stork theme. What more could you need for a beautiful afternoon?.... feathers and tea! Ha!

Ok, so all of our little details...
The invite.... beautifully designed and assembled by Lauren @ Rock Paper Scissors. She completely saved us and tied everything together with all of the printed goods you will see throughout the post.
Leah and I scored with a major tulip sale from Whole Foods. Tulips are our fav!!! We used mini tin pails from the Target dollar section as vases. It was so fun to send Lori home with these beauties for her to place around her home! Just a little reminder of her special day and all of those that came to love on her and baby Mahon.
Leah and I gathered as many teacup sets as we could get our hands on! Thank God for thrift stores :) I walked into a Goodwill near my home one day, and literally bought an entire table of teacup sets. They were just waiting to be used for this shower.
Nothing goes better with tea than sweets....duh! Poundcake, scones, macrons, and tea sandwiches were our food groups of choice :). These are food groups, right?
Can we talk about that diaper cake? Leah did such a great job! We always love a good diaper cake that coordinates with the shower theme. They make beautiful center pieces, and are totally practical for the mommy-to-be. We really want to get a tutorial up on the blog for you to see how we make our diaper cakes!


I ended up tying white feathers to aqua thread, and taping each feather to the ceiling and adding other feathers to the bottom of my light fixture to resemble a "nest". Again, a time consuming project, but it really made for a beautiful centerpiece above the table. 
These moss letters were the perfect "springy" touch for our little tea party. I actually left them up for a week after the shower because I have an serious infatuation with moss. Why is it so beautiful??
I simply cut the tops of the letters off with an xacto knife, and just stuffed fresh live moss in there. It stayed beautifully, and took a total of 5 minutes!
Our favorite tea cup find! Isn't it lovely? Leah totally beat me to the punch when it came to who would get to sip from this beauty while socializing with guests. 
These DIY tea tags were by far my favorite touch of the shower! We love showing baby pics of the mom and dad to be, and this was such a unique way to do it. VERY tim3e consuming, but totally worth it. Guests absolutely loved picking their tea and admiring the pictures. You can find the tutorial I followed here. For the tea selections that came without a string, I simply threaded a piece of green and white twine through the tea bag and tied a knot on the end so that I could add a tag :) 
The absolute cutest "pickles and ice cream" wrapping job by our friend, Lauren! 
The stunning mama to be sipping her tea of choice... Tazo Passion tea with a baby pic of her sweet hubby on there of course!
As guests said their goodbyes, we made sure they left with an "egg from the Stork's nest". We purchased little EOS organic lip balms for each of them!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

DIY FAIRY COSTUME + EDUCATIONAL ART PROJECT

It's always nice to sneak in some educational concepts when you're playing with your littles! My 4.5-year-old, Ari, needed a costume for a school carnival this weekend and beeeeeeegged me to buy a Tinker Bell costume. I did NOT want to go out in traffic to buy one and spend the money. I thought it would be much more fun to make it! But wait... we're out of green paper. That's okay, we'll use paint! Oh **** we're out of green paint. Ummm.... 

Ari's really into experiments and potions and magic, so we refreshed our color theory lessons and made all different shades and tints of green.
 Just blue, yellow, and white! 
I put blobs of blue, yellow, and white all over a piece of butcher paper and let the kids go to town. They came up with the most beautiful colors! And Max had a nice snack of paint (OMG that kid!!).
When the paper was dry, I drew leaf shapes with a thick sharpie and cut them out. Just freehand it, really anything will look good outlined in black!
I used safety pins to attach to a green sweater and baseball hat. We borrowed fairy wings from our friend, and voila! Tink!

 Yep... those are jammie pants.
Max went as Danny Zuko at the end of Grease :)

Love your children every minute of every day!

-L

Friday, February 20, 2015

MY DAILY DINNER - KALE QUINOA SALAD

You guys. This salad is SO good and SO filling. I've been craving it (not pregnant) every day for dinner and sometimes for brunch over eggs. Mmmmm. Kelly Simmons from yesterday's nap time pilates post HERE created the yummiest healthiest salad, and she's letting us share it with you! Hooray! Actually when she came over for the photo shoot, she brought the salad for me as a yummy post workout lunch. I mean... come on! 
Kelly tells me that's a lot of siracha I added on there. I could have gone with more, but I'm a freak. I usually add a huge handful of extra steamed kale under the salad, and I'll throw some grilled tofu on top for me and grilled chicken for the hubs. I make a recipe of this in a huge pyrex covered bowl and it lasts the week. I'm usually in a rush to eat with the kids so this is perfect for just scooping out over kale, microwaving, and dousing in siracha :) Enjoooooy!
-L

Here's Kelly (see her site and contact info HERE) with the recipe:

RECIPE:

KALE QUINOA SALAD
by Kelly Simmons

INGREDIENTS:
1.5 cups of uncooked quinoa
2-3 cups frozen broccoli
1 c frozen corn
1 c frozen edamame (shelled)
1 c shredded carrots 
1 c chopped raw green beens
2 cups of spinach or 2 cups shredded kale
Sliced almonds
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
Crumbled Feta
Optional toppings: Avocado, balsamic, teriyaki, siracha

-Prepare 1.5 cups of quinoa according to package directions, but boil in large pot, instead of small pot. Add salt to water. 
-While quinoa is cooking, put all of the veggies in a huge, microwave safe bowl (I like using a gigantic glass pyrex bowl, because I can then store the quinoa dish in it later).
-Cover the veggies with water, put in the microwave, cover with a micro-safe top and microwave on high for 10 minutes (or until all veggies are warm/blanched)
-When quinoa is finished, throw 2 cups of spinach or 2 cups shredded kale into pot with quinoa. Stir until greens are wilted. 
-Drain veggies. Put them back in the bowl. Add quinoa and wilted greens to veggies in the bowl. Add salt and pepper, a handful of sliced almonds, dried cranberries, feta, and avocado (optional). 
-Scoop out a serving size, and your favorite condiment (I'd suggest balsamic, teriyaki, hot sauce or siracha) and enjoy!

NOTES: 
- Depending on how much quinoa/veggies you want, you can reduce the amount of quinoa to 1 cup, or increase it to 2 cups. 
- I like a LOT of greens, so before I dish out my serving, I put torn kale in a microwave safe bowl, then add the quinoa mixture on top of the kale. I cover the bowl, microwave for 1-2 minutes until the kale has wilted. Then, I add the feta. 
- For protein, the quinoa mixture tastes great with eggs, chopped deli meat, chopped chicken or whatever you'd like to add. My favorite combination is scrambled egg whites with a few pieces of chopped deli turkey, with avacado and siracha.

Enjoy!

As a Certified Health Coach with the American Council on Exercise, Kelly helps people get well and stay well with tools and strategies for everyday healthy living.

To contact Kelly, visit kellysimmonshealth.com or email kellysimmonshealth@gmail.com
For fitness tips and healthful ideas, go to Facebook.com/KellySimmonsHealth, find her on instagram @kellysimmonshealth, and follow her on Twitter at @ksimmonshealth.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

NAP TIME PILATES WORKOUT!

If you know me at all, you know I'd rather do anything than work out. It's tied with cleaning the house. Actually Jenni and I are both averse to expending more energy than it takes to chase our kids around. We've been saying, who has the time to work out? 
Fortunately for us, my good friend, Kelly Simmons, is a Pilates instructor and health coach (and I don't even hate her... I adore her actually). Kelly has come up with a 10-30 minute workout, easily accomplished at your kids' nap time- like in your bedroom, bra optional! That's the most I can deal with right now, ya know? The beauty of this workout is that you can do it anywhere at any time! No getting sweaty, no gym equipment, nothing. This whole workout was done in the corner of my bedroom- see, you can do this anywhere! I even do some of these exercises in the play room with my kids! 
If you're in the Nashville area, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post for all of her contact info and social media! She's THE BEST. Check out Kelly's gorgeous site HERE.
KELLY:
These exercises are perfect for an at-home workout, and can be completed quickly—in less than 10 minutes, or could be expanded for a full 30-minute workout. 


WALK OUT PLANK
Full body move that’s great as the first and/or last exercise in your workout.

Start in a standing position, arms hanging by your side. Nod chin to chest, round the upper body over the waist, pulling the ribs up to the ceiling. Come back to a tall back by re-stacking the spine. The neck and head are the last to come up. Repeat. 
On the last repetition, roll all the way down, place your hands on the floor (bend your knees if needed) and walk out to a plank position. Hold the plank position for a few deep breaths, then go into a downward dog stretch and then back to the plank. 
More difficult: add push-ups. 
Reps/sets: 2-3 roll downs, 3-5 walk out planks/downward dog stretches.


TOE TAPS
This move targets the abdominals, but your arms and legs will also get involved.

Lie on your back, arms by your side, fingers reaching towards your toes. Bring your right knee to a “table-top” position (knee in line with the hip, shin parallel to the mat). Keep the 90 degree bend behind your knee and lower your toe toward the mat. Lower as far as you can while keeping your ribs pressed into the mat. Switch legs. Then, bring knees together and lower both legs together.
More difficult: Add the arms-- with straight arms, reach behind you as lower your toes.
Reps/sets: 5-10 reps on each side, 5-10 reps with both legs.


CAT COW STRETCH
This is a great stretch that prepares your powerhouse for the next move.

Come into an all-fours position (hands under shoulders and knees under hips).
Lift ribcage high to the ceiling, tucking the tailbone under.
Then, reverse-- drop ribs down, press tailbone into the air.

Reps/sets: 5-10 sets (1 set = 1 cat and 1 cow)


BIRD DOG
This is a balance challenge and also works back, abs, glutes, hammies.

 Stay on all fours, weight balanced evenly across shoulders and hips, with the waistline cinched up. Stay in steady, balanced “table” position, and reach one leg out behind you, hip height. Take a couple deeps breaths. Switch legs. Repeat.
Do arms (one arm out at a time, repeat).
Then, lift one arm and the opposite leg.
See-saw the arm and leg, keeping the powerhouse strong.
More difficult: bring opposite elbow to opposite knee.
Reps/sets: 2-3 reps of lifting each leg and arm, 5-10 see-saws.


SAW
Strengthen your abdominals and back with this rotation exercise that will also make you feel taller.

Sit on your sits bones, arms in a “T”, legs mat-with apart, knees lightly bent and feet flexed.
 Sit tall, twist from the ribs, reach over the thigh to “saw” off the pinky toe with the pinky finger.
Come up to vertical in the twist, then unwind through center. Repeat on opposite side.
Reps/sets: 3-5 sets).


SWAN
You may not feel as graceful as a swan as you do it, but this exercise is excellent for improving posture.

Lie on your stomach, legs together, all ten-toe nails on the mat. Make a pillow with your hands—palms down, one hand over the other. Put your forehead on your hands.
Lift your abdominals off the mat. Hover your head and shoulders a few inches off the mat and hold for a breath. 
Reps/sets: 3-5 reps.


SHOULDER BRIDGE
Get your glutes, hammies, core and arms with this combo move.

Lie on your back, knees bent hip distance apart, feet flat on mat.
Curl tailbone up, follow by lifting the pelvis, middle back and upper back into a “bridge”— long line from shoulders to knees.
 Lower down by rolling through the upper back, middle back, low back until the tailbone touches the mat. Repeat.
On last rep, stay in the shoulder bridge, bring your right knee into your chest then straighten the right leg up to the ceiling.
Flex the heel, lower the leg to the height of the left knee, point the toe, and lift. Repeat 5 times. Bend the knee, lower the foot to the ground. Switch sides.
Reps/sets: 3-5 shoulder bridges, 5 reps of leg lifts on each side.


RELEVE BALANCE
Stand with heels together, toes apart, zipping legs together. Arms out into a wide “T.” Imagine a corset around your ribcage to keep your abdominals working.
Lift onto the toes, look to the right, look to the left, look to center. Lower the heels. Repeat.
More difficult: close your eyes as you turn your head to each side.
Reps/Sets: 2-3 sets.


Kelly Simmons, PMA®-CPT is a Nashville-based, NYC-trained Pilates instructor who helps clients improve overall strength, flexibility and mobility. Through group fitness and private training, she focuses on safe, effective movement for full-body workouts that emphasize the core. As a certified Health Coach with the American Council on Exercise, she helps people get well and stay well with tools and strategies for everyday healthy living. 

To contact Kelly, visit kellysimmonshealth.com or email kellysimmonshealth@gmail.com
For fitness tips and healthful ideas, go to Facebook.com/KellySimmonsHealth, find her on instagram @kellysimmonshealth, and follow her on Twitter at @ksimmonshealth.
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