minted for the holidays / Cyber Monday Sale!

minted for the holidays / Cyber Monday Sale!

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It’s the most…..wonderful time…..to check the mail. 

Anyone else?  I stalk the mailman this time of year!  Last year Harlow would excitedly open the mail with me, joyfully looking at photos and reading updates and covering our fridge with cards from friends and family far and near.  I cannot wait for her to be even more aware and excited this year!

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Every year when I’m picking out our Christmas cards from Minted, I gush over the moving/new address cards — with no reason to order them, but wanting to all the same.  I love how Minted provides a platform for artists with all types of aesthetic and feel: everyone can find a card that fits them!  

I was so pumped to finally pick one of the Holiday Moving Announcement cards this year — and I made sure I picked and ordered them early, so people would have our new address right away! In the past, even in the years where I’ve been good about ordering our cards early, I procrastinate the addressing and stamping part…..and a few years our Christmas cards have turned into New Year cards…. whoops!

Minted takes all of that out of the equation! 

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Simply upload a spreadsheet of addresses — or manually enter them  — to Minted’s Address Assistant, and Minted will print your envelopes…..wait for it….

For free. 

I love how you can even pick a design to match your cards!  They even offer options for return addresses, like the skinny labels I chose again this year.  I just love how they add a little something to the back of the envelope too!

Today is Cyber Monday and Minted has a few sales going on:

Get 20% off Holiday Cards and 25% off everything else!

Use the code CM2015

Also! Get $25 off your first order!

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Happy Monday!  We are definitely still trying to get into the swing of things after the Thanksgiving weekend with family in town!  We are all moving a little more slowly…wishing for a little more sleep.  Harlow’s curled up by the fireplace coloring with Wyler while Jones takes a morning nap.  Well, Wyler isn’t coloring, but he’s always by her side. :)

What Cyber Monday sales are you tackling today?  How about Giving Tuesday tomorrow?  

Thanks for being here. :)
kaciasignatureOur Holiday Card photos are by the incredible Rachel Rowland. xo!

feeling like Super Mom

feeling like Super Mom

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Because let’s be honest: most days I don’t.  Moving has sort of kicked my butt in a lot of ways, and most days my head hits the pillow with a lot of shoulda, woulda, coulda floating around before I fall into dreamland.  

Andy’s been working some longs days, which are always such a good reminder of what a great team we are!  The days begin to slow, it seems, and my patience dwindles.  Sometimes, I just need a little structure from someone other than myself for the kick in the rear to get stuff accomplished!

Enter one of my favorites: Blue Apron.  It’s been a while since I’ve written about themand offered you all some free meals! — so I’m excited to share how helpful Blue Apron has been during our moving transition.  

If you’re not familiar with Blue Apron, let me begin by explaining quickly how it works:  

  • meal planning, prep and recipe service with farm-fresh ingredients delivered right to your door
  • choose between the 2-Person Plan with 3 meals/week and the Family Plan with various options
  • Blue Apron currently ships to 99% of the United States — always free shipping
  • Blue Apron now offers a recycling program!  You can use their locater to find options near you, or you can return your packaging to be recycled for free through USPS!  You can learn more about that here.
  • no commitment: meals can be skipped at any time

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Some of the things I love about Blue Apron:

  • trying new recipes that then become part of our rotation
  • cooking with ingredients I don’t have on hand
    • I’m not the best at adventurous cooking when it comes to purchasing a ton of new ingredients or spices I would never otherwise use.  What if I hate it?? Then I’m stuck!  Blue Apron allows us to try recipes without the commitment: one of my favorite things about this service!  Take the chopped chestnuts pictures above.  I sure would have never picked a recipe with roast chestnuts before, but now I need to find where I can get them, because we loved this recipe!!
  • no waste
    • I’m admittedly one of the worst meal planners…..ever.  I just don’t feel like eating the things I’m planning, so I change my mind and food sometimes goes to waste.  Blue Apron somehow turns me into Super Mom for the afternoon, and I always stick to cooking the recipe we have planned for the day.  
  • learning new uses for ingredients
    • crisping rosemary and garlic to top a burger?  Who knew!  
  • some of my favorite times to schedule Blue Apron:
    • right after vacation – it’s so great to have some meals planned and out of the way when returning from being away
    • during a move or transition
    • after a baby — we did many weeks of Blue Apron after Jones was born!

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Up on the menu Tuesday night was this Seared Chicken & Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds meal!  I had two of the cutest helpers in the kitchen!  Harlow’s friend Eden was over for the afternoon, so we all wore aprons and got to work!

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There is something about Blue Apron that makes me feel invincible prepping for dinner — instead of the stress I often feel.  So I often end up tackling way more than I plan on, because well, that’s what you do when you feel like Super Mom!  So with the girls’ help, we made Swedish apple pie as well!*

*full disclaimer: I’m not super mom.  In fact I completely failed at timing when to cook the apple pie….so we ended up finally having the sweet potato rounds towards the end of our meal.  Not that any of us besides Jones got to enjoy them though…..he ate. them. alllllll.  Little hog. ;)

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This little guy woke up to help me prep as well!  

I’m often asked if the 2-Person Blue Apron Plan is enough for our family of four.  For us, the answer is “right now, yes.”  Jones is a pretty big eater, and Harlow is become more adventurous, so very soon, we will probably need to shift to the family plan.  

That being said, I typically look ahead to what the meals are that week and grab additional meat to add in.  So I may grab some chicken from the freezer, or additional sweet potatoes, and I’ll stretch the meal a bit in that way.  It’s worked out great for us!

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So. Delicious. So so so good!

If you want to try Blue Apron, the first 20 of you can claim two meals off of your first Blue Apron order! 

here

Happy Thursday!

xo
kaciasignature

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.  We love Blue Apron and purchase meals regularly.  All opinions and love for Blue Apron are my own. 
gifts for growing minds

gifts for growing minds

Introducing

Happy Monday!  I’m in Vermont with my parents and the kids, soaking up the incredible beauty and colors of Fall.  We are headed to the Von Trapp Family lodge and Ben & Jerry’s factory this week, and I’m so excited.  The hills are alive….with the taste of ice creammmmmmm.  

Okay.  I’m dumb.  I know.  

Back on track, Kacia.  I’m really excited to share with you all a new-to-me company: Lakeshore Learning.  When Lakeshore Learning contacted me about their new Gifts for Growing Minds collection, I could barely contain my excitement.  We decided to homeschool Harlow this year for preschool, and my goal has been to keep things fun, yet challenging for her as go through the year.  

I love being able to focus on current events, nature, holidays and learn throughout our day.  We try to take a designated 1-2 hours every morning while Jones is napping for “school,” but each day is always a bit different.

Some days we work on crafts and simply talk or practice spelling or simple math.  Other days we read and follow up with flashcards and a reading lesson.  In our small apartment, the Arts & Crafts Supply Center is full of amazing materials for creating. 

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A new favorite around here is “store,” using the Real-Working Cash Register.  Harlow goes around the living room and finds items to stock her store shelves: a pet raccoon, some books, a puzzle.  She labels them with various prices, and then I shop.  It’s mostly just fun, but we practice the names of our coins, adding totals and figuring out what I (as her costumer) can afford with the money in hand.  And no, I’m not just allowed to charge it — early lessons on saving show up during this game, too. :)  

Lakeshore Learning’s Gifts for Growing Minds collection is an exclusive assortment of educational toys and games designed to aid and encourage the excitement of learning for children of all ages.  This collection features over 200 items for children from birth to age 11, giving parents a fun way to make education a part of children’s daily lives.  

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Often times Jones boycotts his nap or doesn’t rest very long, so I always make sure to have a few of his puzzles (Big Knob First Puzzle Set) and toys (Classic Hardwood Learning Toys) in a small area for him.  In our tiny apartment, creating learning stations and rotating items has been a lifesaver for us.  I definitely want to continue rotating toys even when we have more space as I have found the kids play so much better when they aren’t overloaded with massive amounts of toys staring back at them.  It’s just what seems to work for us!

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Be sure to check out Lakeshore Learning’s new collection: there are so many items that would make perfect birthday and holiday gifts! 

Have an awesome week!  I’ll be pretending I’m Julie Andrews tomorrow as we frolic in the mountains tomorrow before the rain hits on Tuesday.  Vermont: I’m loving you!

xo
kaciasignature

the Parative Project // more together

the Parative Project // more together

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I can’t be the only one obsessed with things like Kickstarter and SharkTank, amirite?  There is something about people making huge sacrifices for something they believe in, and then seeing other people believe in the dream as well.  If I had to pick a favorite though, it would be Kickstarter.  

I’m not Mark Cuban or Lori Greiner.  I don’t have $300k to hand out to entrepreneurs, but I do have the ability to give up extra stuff at Target and some Starbucks drinks to join others in support.  Amazing how when many people come together numbers like $300k and more are attainable.

Pretty amazing and honestly? Pretty dang simple.

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Today, I’d like to challenge you to head over to Kickstarter and see what The Parative Project is doing for women who have been trafficked, exploited and forced into labor.  What I love about these t-shirts is that they were designed to speak backwards as the founder, Drew, describes.  

The messages on these specific shirts are not for the consumer, nor the people who will see you wearing them (although of course we think you will love them too!).  Instead, we designed these shirts to speak to their maker.  The woman who is working to end the cycle of poverty for the generations after her.  The woman who is diligently fighting the ghosts of her past.  The woman who might need some encouragement to know she is remembered.  We know that a t-shirt isn’t going to erase everything that has happened to her, but like a greeting card can turn around someone’s day, these tees will serve as comfort and support to her.  As she works, she will read the messages, “You are loved” and “our freedom is tied together.”  So when the product she made is purchased, she will know that we believe in her freedom and want to help grow her business. 

The power of words.  It gives me chills.  The honor to be involved in something bigger than me. 

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Harlow has something she wants to tell you!

You better believe we supported this Kickstarter project!  I can’t wait to see the final tote bag design: #nevertoomanybags is my life motto. ;) I kid.

But seriously.  Kid shirts are now available, and they are SO very close to meeting their goal.  Imagine if we all join in what can happen.

Stop reading — go!

xo
kaciasignature

Parative 

back to school kicks // Shoes that Fit

back to school kicks // Shoes that Fit

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Y’all know we are huge fans of Rack Room Shoes over here.  I was so excited to finally step foot into a brick and mortar at a mall close by!  Ordering online is awesome, but sometimes perusing in person takes the cake.  

We’ve decided to homeschool Harlow next year for preschool – cue panic and fear in my eyes and another post for another time – so I’m excited to create little back to school traditions for us as we venture down this path.  Will we continue homeschooling?  Who knows.  I’m taking it one year day at a time.  

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Harlow is definitely in an “let me do it, mommy” stage, and I love it.  I also can’t believe she’s not a baby anymore, so I’m constantly prying my hands open to let her grow and flourish.  Man, it’s so hard to loosen that grip!  I love that these Sperry shoes are so perfect for her to put on.  

She loves asking me, “this way?” to ensure she has her shoes on the correct feet, so we’ve made up a little saying to help her remember: pinky toe, velcro.  I love hearing her recite it as she goes to the closet to grab her shoes.  

I’m wearing these VANS just about every day — getting a lot of compliments on them too.  They are such a great shade of grey and go with just about everything!  Rack Room Shoes has shoes for the entire family — and you can’t beat their everyday “buy one get one 50% off” deal. 

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For this back to school outfit, she’s sporting her bubblegum pink Sperry Hallies and her favorite dress.  It’s cute and simple, and both items pass the rigorous “comfy” test that Harlow puts every garment and shoe through.  

She’s one tough cookie!

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I can’t write about our favorite Shoe place without sharing some of the amazing things they are doing!  Rack Room Shoes is raising funds for families in need through their yearly Shoes that Fit campaign.  This campaign provides new shoes to at-risk kids at the start of the school year.  

I love how easy Rack Room makes it to donate: simply donate when checking out in the store or donate online here. 100% of donations will be distributed locally where the shoes are purchased.  

Want to hear the best part?  Rack Room Shoes is matching 100% of all donations raised up to $300,000.  Yup.  $300k.  

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Harlow’s pumped too.  There is such a need right outside our front door, and sometimes those needs are the easiest to ignore.  

Let’s get Rack Room Shoes to match the full $300,000.  You in?

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xo
kaciasignature

This post was done in partnership with Rack Room Shoes.  All opinions are my own. 

a mother’s helper // Munchkin

a mother’s helper // Munchkin

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It’s amazing how these little babies cause our material possessions to multiply exponentially.  I have a long list of “nice to have” baby things, but the truth is, I have a very short list of essentials.  Other than a lot of love and kisses and cuddles, babies don’t need a whole heck of a lot more.  

One thing that is on my shortlist?  A great pacifier

We are a proud pacifier family.  Harlow loved hers and Jones was a fan from the get-go.  I remember putting off using one with Harlow for a few weeks and then wondering WHY on earth I waited when she was all of a sudden so pleasant with that little thing in her mouth!  I learned my lesson, and Jones joined the pacifier club pretty early on.  We recently had the chance to try the new Munchkin LATCH pacifiers – they are trim and all one piece of silicone — and Jones loves them.  

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Finding a great pacifier that works for your baby can be a difficult feat, but also one to rejoice over when it actually happens!  Especially when life doesn’t allow me to just sit and nurse for hours on end in the middle of the day, his Munchkin LATCH pacifiers have saved the day.  Another plus? I can buy them and other Munchkin accessories at my favorite happy place: Target.  Let’s all do high kicks and happy dances together.  

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Munchkin LATCH also has bottles that have given me the freedom to sneak away during a typical nursing session knowing Jones will take a bottle.  I love that the bottle’s design keeps Jones from swallowing a ton of air, and the LATCH bottle nipple is flexible and designed with breastfeeding moms in mind.  Double win.   

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What items make it on your short list of essentials?  What’s your biggest “mother’s helper” that you recommend?

Happy Monday!

xo
kaciasignature

This post was created in partnership with Munchkin.     

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