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Archive for the ‘hallmark’ Category

magical-christmasIt seems that no matter what is going on in the world, I can look at my children and get lost in their innocence. Oh how I wish they could stay like this forever.

I love the spirit of Christmas, the enchanting lights, our family traditions, warm coco, and more lessons on Christ. We’re only a week into December and we’ve already been enjoying the season. Here’s a special look at what we’ve been up to:

Lil’ J was in her first parade, and danced at a Christmas Festival. We’ve seen/ talked to Santa about five times already, started reading Christmas stories and stories about Christmas. We’ve watched Rudolph movies and danced with Rudolph toys, and there’s still a lot of time lefts for crafting, baking, service and caroling.

santa photo

Now that my youngest sister is close by, I feel like the Christmas spirit is magnified times 5. The light in her eyes helps that in my kids shine brighter.

Take out your camera or phone this season and capture a few seconds of your favorite merry moments. String them together in a video over Christmas music and you’ve got yourself a beautiful keepsake.

What holiday traditions are you taking part in this year? How do you save your merry moments?

sisterly loveChat with me tonight at 8pm CST on Twitter. We’ll be discussing how you make merry memories this season. RSVP to be entered to win $500. Also, tomorrow Hallmark is having a sale for 20% off on Rudolph merchandise as a part of the 12 Gifts-A-Giving celebration.

*This post is written as a part of a partnership with Hallmark. All opinions expressed are my own. 

If you’re from Utah or have ever lived in Utah you may be familiar with a popular bad joke:

“What’s the difference between a University of Utah bride and a Brigham Young University bride?”

–At the U of U wedding the bride is pregnant, and at the BYU wedding the bride’s mom is pregnant.

*ba dum dum tsss*

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. So I was the stereotypical Utah bride (appearances aside). 18 (almost 19) marrying my 22-year-old RM (return missionary) and my mom was pregnant with her 5th child (whoops!).

I suspected something was up when one of my younger sisters told me she had found baby gear and pregnancy tests hidden around the house. Then at my wedding open house at my parents house I pulled her ultrasound photo off the side of the fridge so it wouldn’t be mistaken as my own.

Fast forward 10 years. My sister Kimberly is now nine and I have a daughter of my own just five years younger. She loves and admires her.

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters.

The greatest thing is when she comes over, Lil’ J (and Big T) immediately cling to her for entertainment… Which means a break for me, YAY!

To keep her happy and coming back for more fun, I try to come up with fun ideas for activities they can do while they’re at my house. It can be something as simple as a new library book, puzzle, coloring pages, or an activity I found on Pinterest.

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters.

Kimberly is off from school this week and she came over to try some new games I had set aside. The hilarity at followed was awesome.

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters.

I smiled as I watched them aim the snowball cannon at the targets, danced around to silly prompts like “wiggle your reindeer tail” “stir the hot chocolate” and “ski down the mountain.” And finally, they chased each other around trying to put rings on each other’s elf hats (Kimmie knelt down to make things a little more fair).

Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. Fun family games: Sometimes aunts can feel more like sisters. I’m so thankful that my little sister, who I only got to see a couple times a year, now lives just up the road, and gets a chance to grow up with my kids and be a good role model. I’m thankful I get the chance to be a big sister again, though in a very different way than I was growing up.

I’m thankful for so much this year: My family, my home, my faith. And I’m thankful for a sweet little sister, who’s become a big sister to my kids.

Are you and your siblings spaced out or close together?

I’m passionate about making and saving memories, I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions including getting ready for Christmas! All opinions (and typos) are my own.

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bam-bam-baby-costumeThere’s something about my son’s shaggy fro that always brings a smile to my face. Several months ago it struck me that he reminds me of a tiny cave man. His grunts, destructive nature, and, you guessed it… His wild head of curls all reminded me of Bam Bam from the Flintstones. Sure, the little cartoon character had bleach blond hair, but it didn’t stop me from somehow seeing a resemblance.

After deciding that would be his Halloween costume I realized it would be fun for all of us to be characters from the show and I set out to do some Flintstones DIY costumes. My daughter would be Pebbles, my husband Fred, and I Wilma. If I can find a purple dog shirt I’d love to paint dots on it so Snoop can be Dino.

flinstones-family-costumes-sewingI didn’t want to spend a ton of money on costumes, and I’m happy to say I spent a total of less than $30 on all of these costumes. I bought a thrifted orange t-shirt for my husband, small pieces of fleece for my son’s costume, a quarter yard of cotton fabric for my daughter’s pillowcase top (luckily the ragged tattered look is in for cavegirls cause I didn’t hem it or anything), and some thrifted blue shorts.

wilma-and-bam-bam-costumeswilma-and-pebbles-costumes

I pulled together my costume from a skirt and swimsuit cover-up I had in my closet, and made my necklace using thread and some styrofoam balls.

The “big spending” came from ordering a felt club for Big T and a plastic bone headband for Lil’ J off Etsy.

loving-girlsAside from costumes I haven’t done much else in regards to Halloween prep. I took my sister and Lil’ J to a neighborhood pumpkin patch to pick out some pumpkins to decorate… Right, decorate, not carve, cause frankly I just didn’t have the energy for that this year. Lil’ J painted one at preschool, and the rest we did up with this Hallmark Jack-o-lantern sticker set.Halloween-Pumpkins_0010-copy

Halloween-Pumpkins_0001-copyFun and easy ways to have a festive halloweenMy son even got in on the action, but I’ll admit, I helped him with his Halloween sticker jack-o-lantern because Lil’ J wouldn’t let me help her with hers, which turned out like this:

Halloween-Pumpkins-HallmarkYou have no idea how much willpower it took not to get in there and put the eyeball stickers where they belong, and take off a few of the extra mouth and mustache stickers she stuck on there.

“Don’t you think one beard is enough?” I asked her.

“NO! I like all the beards!”

… And eye-patches and other accessories, all in one clump.

Despite my frustration with her lack of anatomically-correct pumpkin faces, it was still 100% fun and 0% messy.

Halloween pumpkin decoration.I’m planning to paint our last pumpkin teal this year and give out glow sticks and bubbles in lieu of candy. It’s keeping kids with food allergies in mind. Hopefully the neighborhood kids won’t TP my house later. I mean really, who needs one more piece of candy at the end of all this?

We’ve also done just a little bit of yard decorating. I bought this cool Halloween sign from a neighbor who hand made it for $10!

Halloween-Pumpkins_0012-copyHalloween-Pumpkins_0009-copyMy family got all dressed up for Trunk or Treat at our church and surprisingly we won the costume contest (we didn’t even know we were entered!). It was a pleasant surprise. My husband is actually off for Halloween this year so I’m excited to go through the neighborhood all dressed up in my handy creations.

flinstones-family-costumesAfter Christmas, Halloween is probably my next favorite holiday. It’s the beginning of the end of the year, and I get to dress up my kids like adorable little characters (for a limited time).

Are you dressing up for Halloween this year? What are your costumes?

PS: I let my daughter pick out another costume because she wanted one to go with her Aunt’s and we have enough Halloween events to dress up for that I’m ok with her having two costumes. Bonus points to anyone who can name who she is:

Sailor Scout CostumesSailor chibi moon costume

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I didn’t even get around to sharing all my other fun Halloween stuff, like our trick-or-treat greeter, drop and greet spider (which we actually had to put away because it gives me nightmares) and check out my Instagram for a video of Big T dancing with our dancing treat bag. If you’re still setting up for the holiday, or getting ready for the next, pop in your local Hallmark to get inspired for other ways you can get festive.

I’m passionate about making and saving memories, I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions including getting ready for Halloween! All opinions (and typos) are my own.

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While unpacking one of the last boxes in my home I came across my journal from college. It is one of my most precious possessions because it chronicles the time I started at BYU, met and married my husband, and our first year of wedded bliss.

Journal-keeping tips. Places to store special cards and notes.I’ve saved old ticket stubs, cards, photos, and other little trinkets from that timeframe. I occasionally will continue to stuff special things inside the journal because it’s a safe of sorts.

I opened it up and started reading a few entries, traveling back in time, and smiling at the memories I otherwise would have forgotten. Notes my boyfriend at the time wrote to me, things I wanted to tell him, what I thought about him when we were getting to know each other and falling in love.

It didn’t take long, a couple of weeks to be exact. And a few months later we were engaged.

I flipped through the pages and read about emails sent just because, phone calls that drug on for hours. Late nights staying up and talking until we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore and dreams of our future kids. I looked at photos we took together in a photo booth before we had kids, camera phones, or such things as “selfies.” I showed the photos to my daughter and asked her who those people were.

Journal-keeping tips. Places to store special cards and notes.

“Is that you and daddy?” She asked me. Wasn’t it obvious?

“Does it look like is?” I probed.

“Yes!” She giggled at the pictures in her hand. My hubs came in and saw the pictures and had a totally different reaction.

“WOW! I look totally different.” He said. “I had so much more hair!”

“Yea, I pretty much look the same,” I said with a chuckle. He knew it would be better to just go along with it.

Journal-keeping tips. Places to store special cards and notes.

I dug through more of my journal picking out other items I’ve saved through the years, more recently a sparkly pink card. A few years ago I tucked away a Hallmark card that my husband got for me from my daughter for my birthday. You know it’s a special one when you save it. I’m not one of those people who save her cards year after year. Christmas cards are an exception. I’ll use them to decorate during the holidays. But birthday cards, thank-you cards, and whatnot, I just can’t keep them all. But this one was the trifecta of a perfect card: pink, and flattering, with thoughtful words personally written inside.

Journal-keeping tips. Places to store special cards and notes.

My husband isn’t the most romantic guy on earth, but he still manages to surprise me from time to time. And romance isn’t what made me fall in love with him. It was his hilarious personality, his dedication to the people he loves, and his passions, the way he listens to me, and always knows just what to say. His big heart, and kindness. All of which are qualities he’s only strengthened through the years.

It wasn’t like I had forgotten why I fell in love, but sometimes it’s just fun to have a refresher about the way it happened.

Since having kids, creative gifts and romance has become less of a priority for us, but my special journal filled with memories from our lifetime before reminds me of how fun and crazy we once were (now we’re boring old farts).

For the last several years my journal has been here on my blog and I’m STILL not up to date on printing it out. That needs to be a priority this year, and maybe even starting another physical journal. Typing pages is so much easier but there’s something special about flipping through these dated pages and deciphering my sloppy handwriting. And something fascinating about having a place to store special notes and “just because” cards from the ones I love.

Do you or did you keep a journal? Where do you save your favorite cards or letters?

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As you know I’m passionate about making and saving memories, I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions. All opinions are and will always be my own.

Next time you’re out getting a special card for someone you love, remember you can earn rewards by documenting your purchase. You can choose whatever you want: gift cards, discounts, or other fun prizes for every 5 cards you buy. (You don’t have to get the card from a Hallmark store, it can me from anywhere!) Just sign up (it’s free!). Click here for more information.

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I’m very proud of myself for having breastfed my daughter for 17 months, and my son at this point has been nursing for 15.

Part of me is sad to be nearing the end of this motherhood experience, but a greater part of me is feelin’ all “see ya!”

Breastfeeding is beautiful and great, but it's also great when it ends. 3 reasons I can't wait to be done nursing. Photo by Rebecca Loren Photography.

The benefits are great. My children get nourishment and comfort, I burn calories (allegedly) and a get a lower risk of breast cancer. Win-win. But let’s just be honest, there are some downsides that come with breastfeeding too.

Here are three reasons I’m excited the end is near:

1. I think it’ll help me shed some weight. I know for most women the extra calories they burn while breastfeeding helps them drop the weight. For me it seems to have the opposite effect. I go UP in pants sizes not during pregnancy, but after giving birth. Once I finally gave in and bought larger sizes after my daughter, it was about the time we stopped nursing and 6 months later all of the extra fat in my hips, and butt were gone.

I’ve been working out almost daily for several months and doing better at resisting sweets, (still loving on the fries though) and I haven’t lost a pound. I have a feeling my baby’s addiction to the tap is partly to blame.

2. Biting. My son has the most beautiful smile, and adorable teeth, but I am not happy when he decides to show them off while latched on. My nipples can’t take it much longer.Adorable biracial baby boy with some sharp teeth.

3. Leakage. Lately I’ve been getting pitches from different panty-liner and adult diaper companies, and I’m wondering what about my blog screams incontinence. I don’t have bladder leaking problem at this point in my life, however, the leaking due to breastfeeding still happens to catch me at the most inopportune times.

It’s not so bad now that my son is nursing less. But on some days, when I take on an extra long shift at work and forget my boob pads. Things get ugly.

News anchoringLike one day, it was a Sunday morning when I was still full-time at my station. I was finishing up my morning anchoring shift. Since it’s a 24-hour news station, I’ll record a bunch of stories at one time then they’ll play throughout the day. Well, between stories it got quiet. All of the people who normally talk in my ear stopped talking, and my director came over to have a chat with me. This was unusual.

I could sense something was up but didn’t know what. She came over and whispered what was probably more embarrassing for her than it was for me.

“Umm. I think you have a lactation spot on your shirt.”

“A what? OH!”

I looked down and confirmed.

“Oops, I leaked!”

I had a feeling it would happen at some point, but I’m usually really good about remembering nursing pads. Unfortunately one got away from me, shifted, and resulted in this.

I think if this had been my first child I may have been horrified. But since it was with my second, I understand milk stains just come with the territory.

News anchoring (Notice the careful placement of my right arm.)

Unfortunately I had to spend the rest of my shift with my dress shifted a little and my right arm awkwardly positioned over my chest, but I guess it could have been worse.

I can laugh about it now and imagine my experience could make a good greeting card to a nursing mom in need of a good chuckle.

Breastfeeding is beautiful and great, but it's also great when it ends. 3 reasons I can't wait to be done nursing. via

“In middle school we inconspicuously stuffed our bras with tissue. Who knew we’d be doing it again as adults for an entirely different reason?”

What do you think Hallmark? Am I hired?

Didn’t think so.

Here are a few other shoebox cards to make you smile:

Hilarious Shoebox greetings by Hallmark.

If I ever meet Beyonce I’ll give her this appropriate card:Cute Shoebox greetings by Hallmark.Hilarious Shoebox greetings by Hallmark.

Being an adult changes things doesn’t it? Like your thoughts about boobs. I’m ready to have mine back.

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I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions. Some of the products featured in this post we selected, courtesy of Hallmark. All opinions are my own. You can find out more silly Shoebox greetings for the ones you love (or like a lot) by visiting Hallmark.com.

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The unthinkable happened this Sunday when my husband asked me to take a picture of Big T and him together.

“We match,” he told me with a smile.

I had just gone shopping the day before to load up on new clothes for our son. I’m all about consignment sales, and I was a preferred member who got to shop an hour before the store opened plus get 70% off already low prices.

Before I left he gave me requests.

“Don’t get him lame stuff,” he said. “Get him some tank tops and t-shirts, and if you see anything with sports teams on them, get those.”

Sports teams? He does realize who he’s talking to right?

“How am I suppose to know which teams you like?” I countered. “What if there’s a shirt for like the Colts, do you even like the Colts?”

My husband gave me a list of dos and don’ts that flew straight over my head like a baseball heading for the stands. He must have seen the blank look on my face because he amended his request.

“Just get any Texas teams, and t-shirts and tank tops.”

I thought the idea of a one year old in a tank top was one of the most hilarious things I had ever heard, but after seeing it on my little guy, I think he makes it look good.

I also picked up several other tops and shorts for this summer and next, as well as a blue Knicks shirt. No idea if my husband likes or hates the Nicks.

When I got home my hubs picked out the blue shirt and kaki shorts to match his outfit for the day, then gave me permission to photograph him.

If you know my husband you know this is a pretty big deal and a rare occurrence.

After about three clicks of the shutter, he was done. The moment was over. But I captured the sweetest image of the two of them. These two don’t have nearly as many photos together as my husband with Lil’ J, but we’re trying to catch up now.

He saw it and loved it, then asked me to email it to him, right away. So I did.

Father and son Father's Day Looking at this photo I see two gorgeous boys. One my son, and one my husband, and father of my children. My boys. I’m so lucky to have them both in my life.

I’m still working on the perfect Father’s Day gift. He’s the most difficult person ever to shop for, but I think we mostly have it covered. He’s had his eye on some new workout equipment, and I have an adorable Hallmark DAD frame that has a custom-cut picture coming. I’m thinking of printing the photo above to frame as well cause I love it. We also have a huge stack of cards to give him. And I foresee his favorite candy in his future.

Hallmark-Dad-Frame-ShutterflyWe met nearly 10 years ago and back then I had no idea what a great father he’d be. It’s funny thinking back to how much convincing it took for him to want to embark on fatherhood, considering how he’s embraced it. Our kids are blessed to have such a great dad. And I’m lucky to have such a great husband.

Father and DaughterWith my mom here now I’m hoping to have more time alone with this great guy myself. Date nights twice a month anyone? Yes please!

Hopefully my camera-shy hunkster will make these requests more often. I think the kids will love seeing pictures with their daddy when they’re older.

And I know this may be awkward but it’s ok, you can tell me you think my husband is hot. I promise I won’t be offended.

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I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions. Some of the products featured in this post we selected, courtesy of Hallmark. All opinions are my own. You can find out more Father’s Day gifts for the man in your life by visiting Hallmark.com.

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My heart pounds every time I stop and ponder about the fact that my daughter is starting kindergarten next year. It’s more than a year away, but still, I feel like it’s happened too quickly. It seems like just a few months ago I was taking pictures of my pregnant bump, and now, she’s almost four. Soon, I’ll have a memory that spans an entire generation as her first day of kindergarten overlaps with memories of my own.

The only thing is, many things have changed since I was in kindergarten. Schools are crowded, classes are bigger, and people are… Dare I say… Crazier.

Ok, maybe I’m overreacting about the last part, but I do sorta feel like influences aren’t like they once were. Part of this could be the innocence (or ignorance) that shrouded me much of my life.

I remember the first time I had heard people bought, sold, and used drugs in the bathrooms at my high school. I was completely shocked. It was my last semester of high school and to be quite honest, I had been avoiding public restrooms since middle school.

While I’m not worried about her fellow kindergartners offering her a joint in exchange for some Halloween candy, I do wonder if, in general, I could teach her classes better.

Think about it… One-on-one attention versus learning with a class of 25. We can move at our own pace, and focus on subjects that interest her. And I’m no Einstein but I’m pretty sure I’ve got up through algebra down. I may need a refresher on long division but you can learn just about anything on YouTube these days.

It all comes down to this question I’m trying to answer: How can I help make my kids even more awesome?

I always loved school, learning, and the social aspect of it all. I loved making new friends and starting new classes. Come to think of it, not much has changed; I guess that’s just my personality. I think a lot of who people turn out to be just happens to be who they are. I can influence my children as much as I want but they’re going be who they want to be.

My parents always drilled into me that I was going to go to college. Neither of them went, but they wanted that for me. I don’t remember when I decided BYU was where I wanted to go, but once I had my sights set on that, I was determined. I knew I needed good grades so I studied hard, and did what I had to do.

I think because my husband and I both graduated from college, our children should have a good shot at going. I mean, I don’t know the exact figures but I’m pretty sure the statistics lean in their favor.

Senior pictureMy sister Lauren just got accepted to BYU Hawaii and I’m so proud of her. It’s a school I dreamed of attending but never tried because fear, (and a lack of a broadcast program). She’s graduating high school a year early this month. I explained to my daughter how her Aunt Lauren is graduating, and how it’s a BIG DEAL. We shopped for some gifts and cards to send her.

Choosing the perfect Hallmark gift.

If shopping in a Hallmark store with two kids who want to touch everything sparkly, shiny and breakable isn’t nerve-wracking, I don’t know what is.

Choosing the perfect Hallmark card.

The singing squirrel and plush giftcard-holding owl were their favorites. I got her a picture frame and we chose a card. My high school graduation paled in comparison to my college one, but both are worth celebrating, and something I want my kids to remember, and hopefully aspire to do.

Hallmark graduation squirrel gift. So adorable for a high school or college graduation present.

I am glad that there are good influences in my children’s life. People like my sister Lauren, and I hope that I can continue to surround them with others. Is homeschooling a good start?

It seems as though the homeschooled kids I’ve met have a good track record for being very smart. Sure, some of them are also socially awkward, but these days there are so many more groups, clubs and recourses, kids aren’t as sheltered as they once were.

Luckily I still have a year to decide, and this fall I think I’ll give it a dry run with home pre-school. As long as my schedule continues to be as flexible as it has been, I think I’ll be able to give it a good try. If I crash and burn I can always send her off to kindergarten next year. And even still, if public school doesn’t fit us, we can always try homeschooling or private school or something else. Whatever gives my kids the best chance at growing to be awesome.

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I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions. Some of the products featured in this post we selected, courtesy of Hallmark. All opinions are my own. You can find out more cute graduation gift ideas by visiting Hallmark.com.

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I’ve been racking my brain these past few weeks trying to remember what I did with my son last Easter, and WHY IN THE WORLD I had no pictures of him. Even though I’ve taken pictures of him every day of his life, a 365 photo project, numerous videos and more; his life documentation pales in comparison to his sister’s. I didn’t want that to be the case, but it’s true. Granted, she still has a couple of years on him, and the peek of her photos were taken in her second year of life, so we can still make a comeback.

Anyway, after giving myself a guilt trip about not taking Easter photos, and searching my photo archives time and time again, I realized something… Easter was early last year. I Googled it to be sure, and sure enough, Easter was March 31st last year. Five days before my son was born.

So this will be his FIRST Easter! And now that I have that realization I’m feeling thoroughly excited and equally as unprepared.

Springtime bluebonnets baby boyNow let me preface something, I’m NOT a Martha Stewart mom. I in no way, shape, or form come up with unique fun ideas for styling, decorating, baking or whatever. I browse Pinterest and am amazed by the talent at hand. However, I also have an extremely terrible false sense of optimism and think that I can achieve almost anything I want to. Including Pinterest things I totally cant.

All that to say, I enjoy the challenge of making (or last-minute shopping for) matching Easter outfits. I love crafting with, and setting up little Easter scenes for them. The fact that I haven’t though a lick of my potential spectacular plans through until now makes me feel a little behind, but I know we’ll still manage to have fun.Giant campfire marshmallowDelicious marshmallowAt his birthday party I discovered my son loves giant marshmallows, so I’ll probably incorporate a Peep marshmallow thing into his basket. Lil’ J just loves the idea of gifts anytime, any place. When I told her about the Easter Bunny she was like “who is that?… OH, he brings me PRESENTS? Can I write to him?!”Happy little girlSo I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into, but the Bunny has been bringing them little Easter gifts all week. I doubt this is a tradition I’ll keep year after year, so hopefully she’ll forget how generous he was this time around.

I still owe you all a bowtie tutorial, so I think I’ll do that this week to go along with a matching new dress I just finished for Lil’ J. They’ll be perfect for the holiday. Her grandmother already sent a few fancy dresses, but we’re invited to a couple of Easter parties so she’ll have plenty of chances to get all dressed up. And speaking of dresses, I know you’re wondering… The one she’s wearing is from Adelaide’s Boutique.

My little man has tons of cute dress clothes but with it getting so hot here in Tejas, I need to find a way to keep him stylin’ in cooler clothes.

Here’s a little look at what the Bunny’s been bringing to our house. The fam am I are so excited that Spring is finally here!

What are your plans for Easter?


Hallmark Easter presents

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I’m partnering with Hallmark to share some of my life’s special moments and occasions. Some of the products featured in this post were sent to me courtesy of Hallmark. All opinions are my own. You can find out more about these cute Easter gifts by visiting Hallmark.com.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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