Happy Birthday, Amelia + Atticus!

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To say the last year has flown by would be a massive understatement. People always say kids grow up too fast - and they do - but this year seemed extra fast for us. I didn’t even blink, you guys! They just magically turned a year older.

This blog post is going to go against all blog post rules for blog growth. I’m not going to help you learn something new or have catchy headlines. Today is about my babies and putting down these memories while they are still fresh enough for me to remember them.

I don’t know how I lived this tired, beautiful life before these babies were mine but I know that life is infinitely better with them in the world.

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Atticus

Atticus William Balbontin. You are two weeks a one year old and sweeter by the day. In this last year you have brought so much joy to our lives that some times I don’t think I can contain it - it’s too much. You are love. You are my most cuddly baby and are always laying your head on my shoulder. You love your sisters and crawling really fast after them where ever they go. You haven’t walked yet, but you want to kick a soccer ball like sissy so badly that I’m sure it’s coming soon. Take your time, we don’t need to rush it.

Speaking of a ball, that was your first word and your favorite toy. You get so excited any time you see one. I can see you being obsessed with sports already, and I’ll have to learn to love them too so I can keep up. Your second word was dada, and yours lights up any time you say it. And finally, last night you said mama and it made my rough day so much better. You love pasta and apple sauce but only have 4 teeth so eating is still a challenge for you. You’ve been cutting new teeth for the last week so I see a lot of new foods coming your way soon.

There aren’t enough sentences to contain our love for you, so I’ll just leave it at that. We love you sweet boy.

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Amelia

Amelia June Balbontin. You are a firecracker if I’ve ever seen one. You challenge everything. You are as stubborn as your dada and as vocal about it as mama. You are also the most loving and giving little girl. You will share anything of yours and help anyone at a moments notice. You want to help your brother learn everything and sing to him when he’s sad. You want to copy what your sister does and love watching Pokemon with her any chance you get.

You would be happy if you could only eat chicken nuggets, dairy free yogurt, and z-bars for every meal, but we are working on expanding your plate. You love to help mama in the kitchen and paint beautiful pictures for your room. You have such a big imagination and are always playing make-believe. You will turn anything into a character if you don’t have toys with you. A salt and pepper shaker is as good as a shopkin when you are playing.

You have played soccer for two seasons now and you get better with every practice. You make friends anywhere you go and are so kind and respectful to everyone you meet. You let people know when you are upset though. I never have to worry about you standing up for yourself and I love that about you. You’re strong and loving, and honestly one of the funniest kids I’ve ever met in my life.

Mama and Dada were so lucky to “birth” you, as you would say. You’ve made the last five years something incredibly special, and we love you oh so much, our girl.

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today I will be celebrating my girl and taking her out for picnic. I hope you all have an amazing day and take a second to remember the things that bring you joy.

xx, Leslie

The Best of Easter 2019: Target Version

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Full disclosure, while this is not a sponsored post, I have included affiliate links for the items I truly love. Thank you for helping me support my family.

Hey friends!

As per usual, I was walking around the aisles of Target with no real purpose other than to stress out my husband and buy chocolate to hide from my children. And with all this useless energy, I decided to make a list of all of the best Easter things that Target came out with this season.

Side note, if you didn’t already know, Target has a curbside option now and if you’re tight on time you or heavy on kids, you can place an order online and it will be ready within two hours. I’ve never actually used this service… because Target… but you know, it’s there. (It’s also pretty convenient in this circumstance to be able to get Easter Basket things without the kids seeing what you’re buying.)

So anyway, here are my Easter faves… now go shop, and be hoppy.


Home Decor

POM POMS! All of the pompoms! Don’t question it. Just do it. Pom poms for every season because they make everything a million times more festive and fun. Snatch up this one! Also a really great alternative (OR ADDITION!!) to this one, is this also super cute Decorative Egg Garland. Okay, this is my last garland related item, but these LED String lights are a must have! Add them to your kids room to make their space a little more festive and special for the occasion.

JK - this Wooden Garland is my last LAST garland related item.

In my option, one of the easiest ways to transform your space for new seasons and/or holidays, is by adding throw pillows, wreathes, and little decor accents. They have absolutely no prep time, and can be thrown into a storage bin after the holiday to be saved for next year. No muss, no fuss. Here a few of my favorites from this season: Easter Egg Wreath, Faux Daffodil Wreath, Easter Bunny in Glass Cloche, Vintage Easter Blue Truck, Bunny Lumbar Pillow, Bunny Square Pillow, and this tiny little bunny figurine.

Let’s get one thing clear RIGHT MEOW, there are few things I love more in this world than pink milk glass and believe wholeheartedly that it can AND SHOULD be enjoyed all year around. However I also acknowledge that not everyone lives in a vintage dream world but you should at least enjoy it in the spring because it’s perfect for it. Hearth & Hand has a couple really cute pieces right now: 2pk Milk Glass Cupcake Stands, Milk Glass Scalloped Bowl, and my fave, a Milk Glass Scalloped Cake Stand.

Some other really great transitional pieces from Hearth & Hand this Easter are their Egg Tray and Faux Eucalyptus Stems (think center pieces y’all!)!


Easter Basket Goodies

I have a full Easter Basket blog post coming soon, and I’ll link it here when I finish, but in the meantime, here are some great ideas from Target.

So when it comes to things like Easter baskets, I like to pack them away and save them to use again next year. It seems so wasteful not to and as much as I like shopping, I don’t like wasting money. Because of this, I like to buy semi-neutral baskets that can grow with your kids and have things added to it (if that’s your thing) for each stage.

I like this white Spritz one because it’s sturdy and only $8 for the medium sized option. It also comes in several colors. I’ve also linked this cheaper but also cute Herringbone Easter Basket, and this Wire Basket with Wooden Handle.

Don’t forget about the Easter grass! I always do. Here is a natural looking option and a fun festive option.

I’m not huge on filling their baskets with candy. I’d rather get them one or two really yummy treats (because is it really an Easter basket without a Easter Bunny chocolate), and then get fun stuff they will enjoy longer than a few seconds. I usually get them these Lindt Bunnies. This year I’ll be getting Amelia this dairy-free alternative because her minimal dairy diet has now become no-dairy diet. For those who have other dietary restrictions, these bunnies are also gluten free, nut free, and soy free.

You can never go wrong with putting books in Easter Baskets. I got two little ones for Atticus’ basket already and I’ll be getting some for the girls as well.

Here are some of my favorites: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, We Are The Gardeners, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and Little Joe Chickapea.

For your favorite teen or pre-teen, it can be a little more challenging to fill their baskets with things you used to, so don’t try. Instead, get them things that they actually want. I don’t know about you, but I say ‘no’ a lot during the year, so holidays I like to get them things they would really like.

Here are some of the best teen-preteen Easter basket Target has to offer: Conair Colorful Bobby Pins, Fujifilm Instax Mini, Cake Bath Bomb, The Hate U Give, and a Floral Toiletries Bag.

For your preschool and elementary school aged babes, this is such a fun age! Everything is so dang exciting and still so magical. It’s such a fun age to buy for because they just light up with joy. Amelia loves art and being outside, as do most kids I think, so here are some great picks for that.

Here are some of my favorite preschool and elementary school aged favorites: Colorful sidewalk chalk, Hatchimals, Colorful headbands, Glitter crayons, and a Gardening Set (perfect to go with the We are the Gardners book)!

The last age group I’m hunting for the best of the best for, is for your littlest babes. They don’t quite know what’s going on yet so it’s a great time to mix their basket with both fun items and items that they need, obviously adjusting more or less for their current development level.

Here are my picks for your littlest ones: Bath tub toys, the softest bunny rabbit, Egg Shakers, Baby’s First Baby doll, Some super cute body suits, a sippy cup, and a teether.


I’d love to hear what all of your favorites are! Do you have any Easter must-haves? As Amelia would say after watching way more than the appropriate amount of YouTube: Let me know in the comments below!

Xx- Leslie

Three Baby Outfits I'm Loving Lately

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Fun Fact, I’ve been low key blogging since I was about 15 years old back when you could actually keep your blogs semi-private and more like an online diary. Writing has always been something I love. However, this venture in to blogging that started a few years ago, all started when Amelia was a few months old.

I was transitioning from being around people constantly and my own income, to being a stay at home mom. It was a culture shock for lack of a better term. I always knew being a stay at home mom could be challenging, but I honestly underestimated the toll it would take on me mentally. See here’s the thing about stay at home moms - there is never a day off. There is never a break. There is no work/life balance. You’re on call 24/7 and there is always a call. There are no co-workers to spend 15 minutes chatting with, instead your co-workers are 2 feet tall and yell at you for giving them toast without crust even though that’s how they’ve asked for it for the last 237 days in a row.

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That’s not to say that being a mother isn’t a beautiful, beautiful thing. And there are A LOT of amazing moments. And while I’ve always been super grateful to be able to stay home with them, in the beginning, I was going stir crazy. I was introduced to a BST (buy, sell, trade) group on Facebook that consisted of a huge group of women who had similar interests to me. Insert cute baby clothes and friendship. This was the beginning of not only my blog, but my love affair with small children’s boutiques.

That love affair has continued in both respects. While I love a lot of places, I have a few that I always circle back to. One of my favorite boutique’s to nab up the best in children’s wear is Komodo Boston and here’s why: it’s slow fashion. They don’t just go with what is the cheapest to save a buck, they choose what brands they keep in stock not just based on their playfulness (although they are the best at that too) but also on their business and ethics practices. And that’s a shop I can get behind.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite pieces from their winter line. So many of them would be perfect spring transition pieces as well.

Gray Label: This brand has been one of my favorites for several years due to their simple timeless colors and cute cuts. You can literally feel the difference in quality of material - it’s so soft! Atticus is wearing this long sleeved tee.

Bacabuche: I love this brand too and pretty much everything they have in stock. Atticus is wearing these grey overalls that are soft like butter but durable enough for play.

Marmar Copenhagen: Another amazing staple piece brand for your littles. They have amazing gender neutral items, and the quality like all of the clothes at Kodomo, is perfect. Atticus is wearing this off-white rompy.

popupshop: This brand is great for statement piece but they also have some great subtle ones which is more our style. The super cute blue and white striped outfit is what we picked from them. Check out more of the popupshop options here.

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Aren’t these outfits JUST THE CUTEST?! I die. Be sure to check out kodomo boston because they are the bees knees and supporting small business is good for your health.

Leslie x

Five Ways to Throw The BEST Teen Birthday Party

This blog post has been sponsored by Basic Invite; however, as always, I only work with brands I truly love and want to share with you. All opinions and ideas are my own.

You guys.

Ava is turning thirTEEN in two months. THIRTEEN! We aren’t even going to address the fact that I have been a mom for that long because it makes me feel old and I don’t like feeling old. What we WILL focus on is the fact that Ava has had a hard year like the rest of us.

She moved to a new town across the state, started middle school without knowing anyone, and then a week later lost her home, her cat, and everything she owned in Hurricane Harvey. She had to pick up again and start ANOTHER middle school in ANOTHER city, again not knowing anyone… only to move back a month later once we had a semi-suitable living situation while we rebuilt. She has adjusted to us having another baby (and yes it’s joyous and she loves him so, so much, but it means even less time for her).

Needless to say, our girl is probably VERY ready to say goodbye to twelve and hello to the world of teenage-hood. (Somebody hold me.)

Today I looked down at the calendar and realized that this huge birthday is only two months away and I need to get to planning. I want to do something really special for her and let her know that even though this year has been rough, we are so proud of how she’s handled it.

I used to go ALL OUT for Ava’s parties. After all, she was my only baby for eight whole years and she got all of my focus. It’s been awhile since she’s gotten that special treatment. SO this is her year.

If there are any other parents out there hoping to throw a special party for your little or not so little ones, this is the blog post for you!

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Five Ways to Throw The BEST Teen Birthday Party

  1. COMMUNICATE.

    I really can’t stress this one enough. Teens are these elusive creatures, don’t assume you know what they want. Ever. Maybe they think parties are for “little kids” and would rather go to a concert or a small weekend trip. Maybe they want to hold on to childhood as long as possible and have that traditional party. By asking them how they envision their party, you’re opening up a line of communication that has long-term benefits.

  2. PLAN

    Now, if your teen picks a concert or a trip, that’s up to you to decide if it’s within your budget of course. And obviously if they want something rivaling MTV’s Sweet Sixteen, that won’t work for majority of parents budgets. But you can try to make their vision a reality in some ways. Ava picked a birthday party this year.

    She was very specific about wanting to have her party in San Antonio with her cousins and old best friend. She wants it at her grandma’s house and she wants a Jurassic Park theme. No Harry Potter. No Jurassic Park. (Okay, she’s still working out the them in her head.)

    From that, I have a great starting off point. And I can move on to the fun stuff, the details!

  3. DETAILS

    Details have always been my favorite part of planning parties. I love making the DIY decor and party bags. I love getting creative with the names of foods to match the theme. I love it all.

    But even if you don’t have the DIY Bug, you can personalize your teens party in an easy way that makes them feel special - with the best birthday party invitations. I’ve been using Basic Invite which has almost unlimited colors, and custom samples. I haven’t found another website that lets you order a sample of your invitation beforehand to ensure the quality is top notch. They also offer an address capturing service to make collecting those addresses much easier for us busy parents. Hallelujah!

    I’ve also opted to get Ava some customized stationary because it’s something she really loves and bonus, everything at Basic Invite is 15% off this month when you use code 15FF51.

    Peep the bottom of this blog post for some examples of what you can get made.

    The day of the party, the most important part is making them feel special and loved. So much of this stage is full of changes and uncertainty, they need to know they still have a safe space to land.

  4. REFLECT.

    This is something to do with your teen privately, outside of their party. Talk about the past year they just had. What were their favorite parts? What parts did they not like so much? How can they grow from those lessons? Helping talk this through with them and helping them come to their own conclusions sets them up for more success later in life.

  5. GROWTH

    What is a birthday, if not growth? Now that they’ve had an amazing party celebrating their new year, and you’ve reflected on the past year, it’s the perfect time to talk about what they want to achieve in their next year. Goal setting is not something that comes easy to everyone, and creating the habit young is so beneficial.

Scroll to the right to see some awesome kids birthday invitations!

You can find out more about Basic Invite on their social media channels:

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I’m really excited to plan the rest of Ava’s party, and I’ll be sharing it here when I’m done, so be sure to keep an eye out for the that fun post!

Until next time,

Leslie

Affordable Back To School Must Haves!

Awe, mamas. 

It's that time of year again. The holy time. The time of celebration and gratitude. The time of renewed sanity and self-love. A time to be cherished above all else.

That's right. It's time for back to school. 

And as we send our little heathens, I mean blessings (okay, they really are), back to the land of education and betterment, we can do so with a little mom pat on our backs knowing that we kept them alive all summer. Good job, us. 

We are checking off our lists and throwing the essentials in our baskets. Colored pencils. Notebook paper. Wine. I mean juice boxes. And then they want the fun stuff. New backpacks, new clothes, new shoes. 

You start trying to do the math in your head, but you remember you aren't even good at math in your head so you break out the calculator on your phone at the same time as a cold sweat breaks out on your forehead. You wonder why you had three kids and grasp that bottle of wine after all because it surely is the only one that understands you.

Fear not, my fellow mamas of the summer. The celebration does not have to end, and you my dear friends can, in fact, send your little ones back to school looking good and ON A BUDGET! 

I've compiled my favorite back to school pieces that won't break your bank! 

Cheers!