Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cookies and Cocoa Shower

This past weekend, my mom threw the most darling bridal shower for my cousin's fiancé. We wanted to keep it simple, so in lieu of a full menu of food, we served hot chocolate, coffee, and lots of desserts! I really have to give all of the credit to my mom for this one, she is such an amazing decorator and has great style. I have always been amazed at her ability to make everything she touches look absolutely perfect.
I hand drew this sign, which is a recycled item from Lincoln's first birthday party. It is just a birch slab that I purchased at Hobby Lobby, and then painted with black chalk paint. One of the best DIY projects ever; we have gotten so much use out of it already!
My mom had a lot of toppings for building your own hot chocolate. White chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, candy canes, and marshmallows! Everyone had so much fun loading up on toppings.




The two tier stand is from Sam's Club, and was filled with utentils, plates, and lots of coffee mugs.
For the hot chocolate, it was just a large tub of regular hot chocolate mix, added to boiling water in a pot on the stove. Once it was heated, it was added to a hot beverage dispenser.
The rest of the shower was simple and sweet; white cupcakes with shimmer sprinkles, homemade cookies brought by the aunts, cake pops, and for a little bit to hold people over some meatballs and a cheese and cracker tray. It was simple, but turned out so great and everyone really seemed to enjoy it. And BONUS-cleanup was so simple and easy, we basically just loaded twenty coffee mugs and a few trays into the dishwasher and called it good!
I couldn't resist adding in my letterboard, too. This is one of my absolute favorite bible verses, and was a perfect touch to add to the room.



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cranberry Sour Cream Muffins

This weekend, I was at the grocery store and saw bags of cranberries in the produce section. Of course, with Thanksgiving days away, this makes sense. But in that moment I realized, not once in my life have I ever cooked using fresh cranberries! I have used sweetened, dried cranberries numerous times, but something about that little bag of cranberries drew me in. I immediately decided I was making muffins, and am so glad I did. I found this simple recipe for cranberry sour cream muffins online, and they were so easy to whip up. My boys, Lincoln in particular, ate more than one of them, he couldn't get enough! While sweet, they definitely had a bit of tartness, and offered a taste that paired perfectly with coffee at breakfast.
 
Cranberry Sour Cream Muffins

 

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups raw cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
 
Instructions

  1.  Combine dry ingredients (only the 1/4 cup of sugar, leave remaining 1/2 cup) in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine egg, sour cream, milk, and vegetable oil.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry, just until all mix is moistened.
  4. Combine cranberries with remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and mix into batter.
  5. Spoon batter into twelve greased standard size muffin pan cups.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
Original recipe can be found HERE.



Monday, November 27, 2017

Holiday Cards and Keepsake Pieces

*This post is written in collaboration with Minted. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Stang&Co!

Well, it is here! After the most glorious Thanksgiving weekend spent with family, the Christmas season is officially upon us. It seems that the time flies by faster and faster every year. Despite the long and crazy days of life when you are young parents of toddlers, I know how fleeting these moments are. Everyone tells me I am going to blink and my boys are going to be teenagers, and I get so overwhelmed with emotions, because I already know it is true. The days of my boys being babies already feels like a lifetime ago; what I wouldn't give to cradle my newborns and smell that new baby smell one more time. But that is how time works, you are in the throes of sleepness nights and stressing out over your little one meeting milestones, and then without you even realizing it, they are walking, talking, and independent.
Despite the stress that often goes with it, I make it a priority to capture photos of my boys as much as possible. I love using my Canon T5i (okay, actually it is my sister's and I have permanently borrowed it) with a 50mm lens. I have been able to capture beautiful memories of my children right in our own backyard thanks to this camera. As a newly converted believer, I would recommend investing in and learning how to use a quality camera a million times over.
Anyway, getting back on track! We had my mom come and help us grab some family photos in our yard last month, and of course it was a late October day where it was 70 degrees at 5pm. Not one bit common for that time of year in Minnesota! The boys didn't comply one bit, and Lincoln did not look for one single photo. I was bummed for a bit afterwards, but I eventually had an AHA! moment and realized; this is our life right now. My boys are young, carefree, and innocent. They care about having fun, exploring their big beautiful yard, and posing for pictures just isn't high on their list of priorities. That is what we captured this year, and that is what is real to us right now. And I ended up falling in love with how our Christmas Cards turned out.
While I love sending out Christmas cards every year, addressing and organizing them is a different matter. So when I was able to work with Minted and have all of our addresses digitally uploaded, with return addresses printed on them as well, I was through the roof! They even allow you to order matching stamps directly on their website. They took every last bit of work that goes into getting Christmas cards in the mail out of the equation. Once I opened our package and spent a minute (or 100) admiring the beautiful cards, I simple had to place them in the envelopes, stick on the stamps, and drop them in the mail. It was so easy I could have cried. If you don't have your addresses organized into a spreadsheet currently, Minted even allows you to send them your addresses in their current written form and they will do it for you! They have seriously thought of everything and take all of the stress and time out of getting your cards out in the mail. Of course, I had go to with one of their glitter foil pressed options, they are just too pretty to pass up!
When I was browsing their site, I also stumbled across the most precious and sentimental art design that allows you to upload a photo of your home and have it turned into what looks like an antique painting. For those of you that follow along, we built our home a year ago, and the amount of heart, soul, and tears that went into the process was worth it a million times over. While our home is complete, our yard is a constant work in progress, changing every year. But I saw this and thought, how absolutely magical to have a portrait of our home, in its 'original state', to look back at. I was able to list our address and the month and year that the photo was taken in the lower corner. I anticipate this portrait being a part of our family, and maybe even hanging in our children or grandchildren's homes one day. There are so many custom photo art options on the website, allowing you to do amazing things with your photos you truly would never have even thought of.
Are you a fan of Christmas cards? Do you plan them in advance and send them out right away, or are you the person dropping them in the mail on December 23rd? Either way, Minted is a perfect option for you, even in a time crunch they take the work out of it for you! And if you are searching for the perfect personalized gifts, the options are endless. Now is the perfect time to shop, happy Cyber Monday friends!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Early Black Friday Sales

If there is one thing I love the internet for, it is online shopping. Truly, unless I am going to Target or the grocery store, I really don't have many things that I don't purchase online anymore. It is just so much more convenient, and whenever a package arrives on the door it feels like a little bit like a present..to myself ;-) With the internet being so accessible, it is no wonder why many stores have started offering their Black Friday deals well before that early Friday morning after Thanksgiving. You can get shopping today and start saving, and even scoop up a cozy sweater at a sweet deal to wear tomorrow if you are up for a trip to the mall!


Express: Everything 50% off plus free shipping
This store always has the BEST sweaters, perfect for those cozy family get togethers. This chenille cardigan looks ridiculously cozy, thrown over a t-shirt and you are good to go! I absolutely love how feminine and cozy this off the shoulder sweater is. And this oversized ruffle sweater is the most gorgeous pink sweater. Express also has incredible denim, and at 50% off right now this pair is an amazing deal. And I don't care what anyone says, white denim after labor day is a definitely DO in my book. Now is the perfect time to stock up on a dress if you have any winter weddings or holiday parties coming up, and I just love this sequin shift dress (how perfect for NYE!?), and this cozy sweater dress with such a unique hem.


Gap: 50% off of everything with code BLKFRIDAY
I had to scoop up this ruffle cold shoulder sweater the second I saw it! So soft, and comes in tall which I love! This metallic midi skirt is so classy but perfect for the holidays. Because I am clearly obsessed with sparkles, I am all about this sequin dress. This poncho looks ridiculously comfortable and perfect for the chilly winter nights ahead. And not forgetting the little ones, these fair isle pajamas are perfect for both boys and girls!


Old Navy: 50% off of everything, no code needed
Old Navy is my tried and true go-to store for pretty much everything. These lightwash jeans have become my new favorite, I pretty much live in them on the weekends. I love anything with buffalo check, and have been eyeing up this cardigan for weeks-it looks SO cozy. This adorable sweatshirt would be perfect to wear on a low-key NYE night at home. I love wearing ankle booties, and when I saw that these are metallic I about died. This glitter belt could be the perfect accent to any holiday look.

Nordstrom: Take up to 50% off
Nordstrom always has items marked at great prices during Black Friday, and their sale prices are live today, too! How cozy does this sweater tunic look? This pullover sweater is a classic and at this price is sure to sell out this weekend. If you have ever eyed up Kendra Scott, these necklaces are currently on sale! I am still loving faux leather leggings, and these are perfect. This pretty sweater is super similar to the one I found at Gap! I love the tie detailing at the bottom of the sleeves on this sweater. The fun cutout detail on this dress makes it so edgy and still feminine.  I am a sucker for satin and think I may need this shirt for work. This long tie sleeve jacket is SO pretty-I am thinking worn over a dress. And this gorgeous sweater is SO perfect for the holidays, I just love all of the detailing.

Other sales happening today:
Loft: 40% off of everything with code GIFTITUP
J Crew: 40% off with code THANKU
Target: early access to Black Friday deals online for Red Card holders
 
Will you be getting some early shopping done today?! What are your favorite places that offer early access to sales?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Simple Ways To Update Your Master Bedroom

For the first time in my life, living in our new home has empowered me to finally decorate and create my own spaces. When I started dating Michael, he already had his own home which I gradually moved into, and despite living there for over eight years, it was always treated as the 'temporary' home until we moved into our forever home. And, as such, we did very little decorating. We had basics, but rather than collect items that may or may not work in a new space, we waited until we had our new home to buy new furniture, new décor, everything. We really started from scratch; the only furniture we brought to our new home was from the nursery!
Stained trim is very much the norm in Minnesota, so we have dark oak throughout our home. While I love white and wainscoting, it simply isn't done much around here. However, in building we decided to 'break the budget' and not make any sacrifices when it came to our master bedroom/bathroom. While I almost backed out at one point because I was trying to save every last penny I could, my husband told me to do what I wanted, and so while the rest of our house is warm neutrals, I was able to have a master suite with whites and grays. I every day I am so happy we made that choice.
After years of having bright, colorful bedroom sets, I was so excited to create a space that was all my preferences. It is the least kid friendly area of our house in terms of staining and keeping things clean, but it is also our space and I love it. It was a new experience for me decorating a master suite and creating a space that was unique to my style, but I have had a blast doing it. There are four key aspects I kept in mind when planning our room that are great basic concepts when planning a new master suite.

Find the perfect comforter
What I consider one of the most important aspects of a master suite is the comforter. The entire room really will reflect around this piece. I went against everything a mother of young children should do recently and I treated myself to a white comforter. And I could not be more obsessed! When we moved in I initially had this comforter in dark gray, and while I really did love it, the room ended up feeling a bit darker than I wanted. I am shocked by how much switching from a darker to lighter piece on the bed brightened up the space.


Window Fixings
I was incredibly particular about what we put on the windows in our room. We aren't the biggest fans of blinds, but I also know that many drapes are quite sheer and see-through. During those long summer days, we want to block out the sun at 4am as much as possible! On our side window, I find a very light gray blackout shade, that we leave tied up most of the time but can drop for extra privacy or darkness. On our main windows, I knew I wanted blackout drapes but also needed something that was light and airy, and when I found these with the sheer panel on front, I knew I had to have them! I have gotten so many compliments on them; they really add a special touch that makes the space feel almost ethereal and dreamy.


Wall Décor
I am a believer that in a home, the walls fill up over time. You come across pieces that make sense, or hang a new family photo, and those bare walls quickly fill with memories and character. So while I have not rushed to get things hung up, our room definitely needed something above the headboard. I had followed Dear Lily Mae for quite awhile, and she was able to create a custom canvas for me with the phrase Always and Forever. I actually narrowed down options and allowed Michael to make the final selection, which made the piece extra special to me. I also love that, while adding character to the space, it still remains neutral and simple to go with my monochromatic color scheme!

Add A Pop Of Color
I think this is the final piece that can really take your room from simple to unique. Adding a pop of color, especially when you stick to the same color family within a space, really brights things to life! I have always loved yellow; not just yellow in general, but bright, almost pastel, sunshine yellow. I found my pillows (similar here and here) before even moving into our home and they were the perfect additions to our throw pillows. I also grabbed lamps for our end tables in the same shade of yellow at Hobby Lobby (similar styles here and here). While I am so in love with my white room, I am just a little bit more in love with how much the sunshine yellow brings the space to life!


What are some of your favorite ways to recreate a space and make it feel like new?
*This post is written in collaboration with Lush Décor. As always, all thoughts and opinions are solely my own.

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Stang&Co!



Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Favorites

We have made it to another Friday! And we are already into the middle of November; how crazy is that? For whatever reason, I have been feeling extra festive this year, and while my husband refuses any Christmas décor going up until the day after Thanksgiving, you better believe I have already been enjoying holiday cups from Starbucks and Christmas music on my car rides ;-) Since it has been awhile, I can't wait to share some of my favorites today.

Mike and I recently sat down and had a discussion and decided to officially make a change in our home to essential oils. We have been using them sparingly for years, but we made the agreement that we should start actually switching out products in our home and replacing them with oils. And let me tell you, so far we do not regret it for a second. I have been loving experimenting, but one of my absolute favorites is peppermint. It is so perfect to diffuse with lemon to wake us up in the morning, or with pine and evergreen to get our house smelling like a Christmas tree. It is also great to rub a dot along your hairline if you have a headache (seriously, it works like magic). My all time favorite thing I started doing with this little guy, though, is adding a drop into my black coffee. It adds SO much flavor and tastes like Christmas in a cup, but has almost no calories! I have been enjoying this little combo every morning lately, and I don't think I will be stopping any time soon.

Christmas Pajamas
I can never get enough of holiday pajamas. I try to scoop up clearance pairs at the end of the season for the boys to wear the following year, but I can never resist getting an additional pair or two when the new styles come out. I love this car set, this has to be one of my favorite Christmas décor trends lately. I am always a sucker for a classic plaid set, and I'm pretty sure the quote on this pair was made for Lincoln. This final pair is such a classic, I just love little one piece sets like this.

Blush Finds
I always love finding a fun pair of pants to wear to work. Black dress pants can start to feel blah after awhile, so really how much fun is this blush pair!? Not only are they my favorite color, but they have the prettiest shimmer/sheen to them. And I saw this sweatshirt in Target and it came home with me immediately! It is so soft and cozy, and is perfect for lounging around on the weekends. I'm not sure if and when I'll stop with all of the blush things, they are just too good.

Lincoln Lately
This week I shared a bit of what Lincoln has been up to at 18 months old. He is our wild child for sure, but always keeps us on our toes and is at the cutest stage right now. I swear, I could eat him up!



Copycat Barbacoa Recipe
If you have not tried the barbacoa at Chipotle, you are seriously missing out. This stuff is so darn good, so last week I decided to attempt a copycat recipe at home. And it turned out SO good. I made some copycat cilantro lime rice and copycat corn salsa, and it truly tasted exactly like what I would get at the restaurant. Seriously, you will not regret making this stuff; Mike deemed it one to 'add to the book'. And if Mike approves, everyone probably will ;-)

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend-we are getting a heat wave after our cold week and will hopefully see some temps in the 40s. Funny how things change when you live in Minnesota!






*Post contains affiliate links. Thank you for support Stang&Co!



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lincoln: 18 Months

Time just keeps going faster and faster. Do I sound like a broken record? If so, it is probably because I am, but I just could never fathom how quickly my children would grow until it started happening before my eyes. Life with Lincoln at this stage has been just a joy; I love the feisty, independent personalities that emerge at this stage, and yet that precious baby innocence is still there. We have been having so much fun watching Lincoln learn and explore these past few months.  
 

Growth
This sweet boy is still so big. At his doctor's appointment this week he weighed in at 31 pounds, placing him in the 99th percentile. He measured a whopping 35 inches and had a head circumference of 20.5, both of which put him OVER the 100th percentile. I will also note that he went to the doctor and sat on her lap, and she scooped him up when we were all done to bring him to get a sticker. I wondered for a moment if she was going to try to keep him ;-) At one point during the visit she said "I can't even look at him!" I may be a biased mama, but it sure makes my day to know others find him equally as adorable ;-) He is wearing 2T pants and is mostly into 3T tops now, and size 5 diapers. I feel like I just switched out his clothes, and I am already needing to empty his drawers and get rid of all of the things he has somehow managed to outgrow.
He had his third haircut last month, and it made him look SO much older. I loved his curls, but oh my gosh how handsome he looks with his little crew cut sides.



Development
He has started doing so many new things recently. While he isn't talking up a storm, he is definitely starting to talk and communicate much more. He loves to walk to the door, often carrying his dad's water canteen for work, and will loudly declare BUH BYE! He also says mama, dada, hi, and all done. I have noticed him start to copy Jackson when they are playing, and in doing so he has said 'quack quack' when playing with a duck, and when Jackson was being a zombie zucchini (long story) and declaring 'SALADDD' out of the blue Lincoln mimicked him and declared SALAD as clear as day!
He is also signing, much thanks going to our daycare provider who has been teaching him. He does all done and please. I don't know why, but whenever either of my boys do that little tummy rub to signal please it has absolutely melted my heart. Lincoln does it when he wants more dinner or his bottle, and it is just the sweetest. (Fun fact: Jackson will still subconsciously sign 'please' when asking for things without even noticing it!)

Eating
Much to my dismay, we have entered the stage of the picky eater. Both of our boys have been good eaters around the one year mark, and then get progressively pickier. Sunday was our first time of finally putting our foot down and not making him an alternative meal at dinner. He had refused 2 or 3 dinners in a row, and based on past battles with his brother we know we have to kick this habit before it gets out of control. He loves carbs, and will eat bread, macaroni and cheese, and basically any kind of pasta or sandwich for days. He also loves fruit, and lately he has been sticking raspberries onto his little fingers and he thinks he is the funniest person ever when doing so. Bananas, oranges, and blueberries are his other favorites. And, in stark contrast to his brother, he really wants nothing to do with meat. Jackson used to eat hotdogs and chicken nuggets so much we had to cut him off and remove them from our house, but Lincoln will maybe take a bite or two but then won't touch these things. It is so interesting to watch children and their unique preferences.
Recently we have also started giving Lincoln more 'normal' servings of food. So, despite my OCD fear of my children choking, I give him a sandwich cut in half rather than into small pieces, or a full round of summer sausage instead of slicing it up. He seems more inclined to eat the foods he is picky about if they are given in their whole form. He so much wants to be 'big', so while it means us watching him much more intently during mealtimes, he seems to be loving eating his PB&J sandwiches like a big boy!

Sleep

This kid loves his sleep. I will say it until my last breath, sleep training was one of the best things we could have done for him. He goes down between 7-7:30 at night, and will sleep straight through until around 6:30am. We had a rough week this month due to cutting a new molar, but he seems to have regulated and is back to his normal schedule. He wants nothing to do with being rocked or held. When we go upstairs to lay him down, he will actually arch his back in preparation of laying down, sometimes before I even get into his room. He needs his blankie, his bunny, and his 'snuggy snuggy' blanket, and he will roll right over and go to sleep. He naps once during the day from about 1-3pm, sometimes a little bit longer. I love both of my kids equally (cliché but I mean, us moms aren't lying when we say it), but if there is one area where Lincoln is my favorite child by a landslide, it is the department of sleep. He is just so easy, and it has been a blessing for us to have him make this routine a bit less difficult!

Likes
This boy is so happy and carefree. He absolutely loves to run, play and giggle. He has started following Jackson around and copying him while they play, and it is one of those things I could watch all day when they decide to play nice together. He has started dancing, and when we turn on Moana he prances around the room on his tippy toes while walking in big wide circles, and then he will occasionally kick up one of his little legs. Speaking of Moana, both he and his brother could watch that show all day long. He also loves Wallykazam, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Peppa Pig. One of the only time she will sit down and snuggle for an extended period of time is if I turn on an episode of Wally and hand him a bottle. And speaking of the bottle..yes he is still on it. We have started cutting it out (again, our daycare is a saint and she works with us to cut things out), but on days where he is teething (or hello, daylights savings) I will cave and give it to him. He has been doing much better taking milk from a sippy cup, so I am thinking we will be able to kick the bottles in the next month or so. He does love brushing his teeth, and will often go to the drawer in my bathroom and pull out his toothbrush and toothpaste and carry them to me with the sweetest smile on his face, hoping I will give him some.
Lately, he has discovered how to open our pantry door, and has empied more than one box of cereal onto the floor in search of snacks in the past few weeks. He will often come walking out with the most random items, like a can of tuna or a loaf of bread, and will had them up to us with the most genuine look on his face. I don't know what he expects when he hands me a can of petite diced tomatoes, but it sure is cute when he does it.
And on that note..he is also absolutely obsessed with his pacifier. While that thing saved us during sleep training, I am terrified for how we will ever manage to take it away from him. Much like the bottles, we have been trying to limit it to naptime and bedtime, but he always manages to find them in random places like the toy room or under the couch. We need to be better about keeping them confined to his room only, but he is definitely a lover of the paci.
Despite not being much of a cuddler, this boy loves anything soft and cozy. He carries his blankie and stuffed bunny around, and when I get him up in the morning he will frantically search his crib to make sure he has both of them. So, while he may not want the security of mom and dad, he definitely has an arsenal of those security items he is pretty attached to.
His absolute favorite activity lately is definitely playdoh. I have been so hesitant to give him any because I don't trust him to not eat it, but he has actually done so well with actually playing with it and keeping it out of his mouth (for the most part). He will sit at the table for a solid hour keeping himself entertained, which is a great tool to have lately, especially if we are trying to prepare dinner or get some chores done!



Dislikes
While our sweet boy is happy, he definitely has his preferences, and if you try to get him to do anything he isn't feeling, he will let you know exactly how he feels. He hates having his paci taken away, and will often throw himself onto the floor in hysterics and have a tantrum whenever it happens. He also isn't a big fan of sharing; he will get mad at his brother if he tries to share my lap, and sometimes he has even been known to have a meltdown because Jackson tries to play in the same vicinity as him. To be fair, their torment of one another goes both ways ;-)
As I mentioned above, he really does not like meat at all, and he also doesn't like any food that isn't straight carbs with pasta sauce or peanut butter on it. When he doesn't like the food we serve him, he likes to empty his plate onto the table and then swipe the food all over the place with his bare hands. That is probably my least favorite naughty trait he has picked up on..it is so messy and frustrating!
He has grown to like bath time, but he hates having any water put onto his hair or face. He loves to splash water all over during bath time, so selfishly because I don't want to spend an hour drying the area surrounding the tub, I usually do his baths in less than five minutes, and he is usually not very happy when I make him get out!
He is happy and loves daycare, but often when I drop him off he tries to escape out of the front door, not because he wants to leave, but because he wants to play outside. He just hates being told NO so our sweet daycare lady usually has to attempt to bribe him to get him upstairs. He despises coming in from outside, so if he escapes outside for anything more than thirty seconds and I then attempt to put him into his car seat, he lets us know he is angry.   
 

While children grow and change so much throughout all of their stages, I really feel like we are at that precious stage where all that makes him a baby is quickly fading, and before we know it he will be a full blown little boy. So, despite the tantrums, sneaky behavior, and dumping out cereal in the pantry, I am soaking up every second I possible can of his sweet, 18 month of innocence. And those sloppy kisses with an over animated 'MUAH' at the end, too. We love you, Linky Doodle!



 
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