Thursday, November 27, 2014

t h a n k f u l 2014

Every day I am thankful.  but today holds a special place on the calendar for remembering what all we are and have been thankful for in this last year.  this year has brought many surprises, disappointments, praises, blessings, excitement, and at times, anger and confusion.

but

i am thankful for all of it.
all of it that encourages me to learn and grow.
all of it that makes me a better, stronger, person out of it.
all of it that  can look back on a think 'that wasn't so bad..'
all of it so that i can be there for someone else to share my own experiences and testimonies to offer them their own strength.
all of it that i can continue to hang onto as some of the sweetest memories of my life.
all of it that molds and shapes my heart, personality, and who i am in general.
all of it that i will remember for the rest of my life.

I am thankful.




















Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours 
(all the kissy faces)

photo credit: b faith photography
parker and jolie
headband // royal bowtique
boots  // target
amber 
dress // shop riffraff
boots // steve madden

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

WE EAT | Mushroom & Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto has never fallen off the fancy train, so I'd call this meal fit for company AND a weeknight.  Of course it always gets a bad rap.  TAKES FOREVER.  Really.  Really it doesn't.  This recipe, start to finish, is less than 45 minutes.  That includes all the chopping, roasting, and stirring.
Typically I read my cookbooks and/or cooking magazines with an ink pen close by- making it easy for me to make notes, cross out, and change to make it more to my liking.  I often will take something I’ve learned from another book or mag and apply it to a ‘new’ recipe I’m trying out.  Little tweaks and changes can make all the difference- and not to mention the pride that goes with the idea of creating your own recipe.  
This recipe- I didn't change at all.
Well.. I used a vegetable broth over chicken broth because that what I already had in my pantry.  And going down the 'soup' aisle the weekend before Thanksgiving is NOT fun with a cart full of groceries and babies.  
Cooking Light kills it again.  
For the recipe CLICK
We love butternut squash.  We love rice.  We love bread.  
 NOT sure about the mushrooms. 
This occasionally happens at dinner time with new foods.  We haven't ever has risotto before, so it took a little coaching through the first bite.  

 High fives all around for a first bite!  
 Classic Parker to play off the excitement.. 
 but, Jolie wanted a high five and woo-hoo, too!  So she took her first bite.
 The rest of the meal went well - picking around the mushrooms, and gobbling up the roasted butternut squash and 'rice'... and bread.

 Towards the end of the meal, there is a game.. again. 
'Jolie - can I eat this?'
'...no way, dad.'
'Then take a bite.'
 'Jo.  Take a bite.'
 nailed it.  
This was SO delicious.  I am always impressed with how well risotto always turns out - I don't think there is a risotto we don't like.. but this was a first taste for Parker and Jolie.
We loved it and I think you will, too.
You might just lick your bowl clean.   

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Firehouse Rules

I had something completely different planned for today's blog post..something along the lines of toddler indoor activities.  I think I'm bringing you something better.  I'm just about half prepared for that aforementioned blog topic, and I promise I will bring it to you.  I continue to be inspired by things, and unless you want nothing less than 'stacking dog food cans' I promise it is worth the wait.

Jordan worked a full 48 hours at the fire station over Saturday and Sunday this weekend, so that left us with little time on Friday to get in a weekend's worth of daddy time.  Jordan left on Saturday morning and I spouted out promises we would visit.  Sunday afternoon rolled around and it was time to load up the monkeys to visit the fire station.  

over this last month they have been very interested in trucks.   big trucks- like 18-wheelers completely blow their toddler minds and it is screeches and squeals from the back seat, demanding 100% acknowledgement of the 'big trucks'!  I didn't even think about it when we opened the door to the apparatus bay and there parked was the biggest 'trucks' they'd ever seen.  these girls were enamored.  Immediately running towards the engine with the biggest grins on their faces.

we have been to the fire station before, several times, but never had they taken interest the way they did this time.  they sat proudly in the driver's seat (thats daddy's seat!) and played with all the buttons.. turned on the lights, let out the siren, blew the horn.  I mean.. Parker's face says it all.   


 my favorite people in the whole world.  can't even express the gratitude i have for my husband for his service.. not just for the city and strangers, but for his amazing service as husband and father to Parker and Jolie.  
 so, whats next?  we did al the typical 'fire station' stuff.. and then the best question ever came out of daddy's mouth.  do you want to squirt the hose? never even a thought to my mind, but Jordan has probably been waiting for this day since forever.  Parker acted like this was the best day of her life.  she was jumping around like a hungry puppy.
 they weren't totally sure what to think about it all.  the loaded hose was wiry and moving all over the place before Jordan picked it up under control.  when the water started to spew, the lit up faces never dimmed.  
 again.. Parker has got it covered for explanation as to the time they were having.
 and it wouldnt be a fire house visit without the impromptu engine pictures.
I promise them cookies..and Parker was holding me to this promise by shouting about it.
gimme all the cookies, ma!
 only if you give sister sugars.
never fails.  
and sister sugars never, ever, ever, never, ever get old.
ever.

Jordan talked about how much fun he had, and how much fun the girls seemed to have for the rest of the evening.  he was basically gushing with joy to see his babies be so excited about where daddy works.  I love it.  this is such a cool place to visit, and sounding the siren, whether you are 2 or 30, is equally as special.
such a perfect end to our weekend.  and daddy got to be apart of it, even while working. 
I hope yours was the same! 
happy Monday!

head wrap // two little bees
kimono // camden & kate
leggings // odarling handmade
boots // old navy
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Friday, November 21, 2014

WE EAT | Weekly Toddler Menu Planner

Here we are- the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I'd LOVE to say I am 100% ready for this, but I'm about 90% there.  We do have out Christmas decor on display, complete with a metallic purple and hot pink tree. I decided to coordinate with Parker and Jolie's birthday party theme.. and I think Jordan just might kill me.  Their theme this year has NOTHING to do with Christmas.. but, the tree is out.. and as apposed to clashing.. I just went for it.

What do you think?
I don't have words really.. and so it is alright if you don't either.  I sent this picture to Jordan (he was at the fire station last night) and all he replied back with:
'I want my tree back next year.'
Better reaction than I thought.  But I have also promised that we can take all the 'color' down after the 6th of December.  
Maybe.

This week's meal plan is - again - EASY.  I didn't want to be dealing with leftovers all week since we will be living off them all next weekend.  We are all home all week (Jordan and I are both off- yippee!) so we will need something to snack on, so the beef stew (which totally warrants leftovers) is on Sunday night - mostly because there is nothing better than to come home from church on Sunday to have dinner already prepared - but also because it is early enough in the week that we will eat whatever leftovers there are.
Oh.  And donuts are in honor of the Black Friday madness we won't be taking part in.

What I want to know.. whats on your Thanksgiving menu?  I have a rough draft of what I'm preparing.. and I did get to 'practice' on my Supper Club last weekend, but I'm still nosey and wanna know.  Give me inspiration! 
Happy Turkey WEEK!
Recipe Clickables

Recipes
Leftover Turkey Pesto Panini
Cooking spray
4 thick bread slices (I used ciabatta)
1/2 cup prepared pesto
sliced mozzarella cheese
2 cups chopped/sliced leftover thanksgiving turkey
Tomato slices
Sliced avocado  
--
Spread 2 tablespoons pesto over 1 side of French bread and top with mozzarella, turkey, tomatoes,
avocado and top half of bread. Repeat with remaining slices of bread. 
Add sandwich to hot grill pan or panini maker and grill until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes.

Tuna Pasta Salad
serves 2
1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta
1/2 cup water packed tuna
1 hard boiled egg, diced
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or mayo
salt & pepper
--
Stir all together to combine.  Chill until ready to serve.


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shop Small This Holiday Season | DISCOUNT CODES

I cannot believe this time of year is upon us.  I am always one of those that wishes so badly to have her Christmas shopping finished before Thanksgiving.. but never that is me.  I don think I'm alone.  I think more shopping is done in the weekend after Thanksgiving than any other time, because, hello - sales. We easily recognize Black Friday - you crazy freaking people that I secretly wish were my friends so that I would have SOMEone to go out at all hours of the night on that day to shop with.  I have been one time.  Alone- because my husband refused and I had no friends to go with.  I went to Target and it was the most dangerous night of my life.  ZERO exaggeration. I watched two women argue over a rug.  A rug.
Not even a cute rug.  
SO- I do A LOT of shopping online.

We also not ever forget November 29th. The Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Also known as Shop Small Saturday. Truth be told, it wasn't very often I shopped small before Parker and Jolie came along. I wasn't well read on Etsy.  I didn't know there were such places other than Nordstrom, Loft, Charming Charlie.. you know - all those bigger stores - to purchase quality items for a really great price.  Since becoming a mom, I've been introduced to about a bazillion amazing shops and the people behind them and have been so encouraged by their hard work and individuality that I cannot even hold a candle to with how amazing they all are.  I have even started to branch out and seek product for myself - not just hair bows and baby fashion - although so much cuter on them than me. 
The number one question I get asked - and I mean the number one - is where do you shop for Parker and Jolie?  I get this question from boy-moms, too.  Truth is that outside of hair bows, everything I have bought from a small business is pretty gender neutral - total justification to Jordan that 'our future baby boy can wear this, too!' That being said - I finally have pulled together some of my favorites to share with you today.  This post has been a long time coming- BUT - it imperfect timing with Shop Small Saturday coming up next weekend.  Perfect time to introduce you to these shops (if you aren't familiar already).  If you follow me on Instagram (masseya), you have definitely seen these shops tagged in my pictures more than once - but this list is limited!  After coming up with my list, it was LONG.  I kept coming back to it with another couple to jot down.. a few more.. a few more.. 
Really, I love everyone:)  While I find new a fun shops everyday, these have been some of my very favorites for Parker and Jolie.
** This Post is LONG - but I promise for a reward at the end:)

THE reason why I became hair bow obsessed.  Serious.  This girl, Chelsea, is a rock star.  She has the most creative brain and can make any hair bow vision you might have come to life.  I'm not even sure how I found her, but she was the first small shop I started following on Instagram and fell in love with everything she had to offer.  I have an entire 'favorites' list dedicated to her etsy shop - NO JOKE.  The first 'wrap' Parker and Jolie ever wore came from her shop.  For our family photos last year I emailed Chelsea about three days before on a whim because my vision changed and I desperately needed something custom.  She totally nailed it.  Dont you think?
also to make note of.. my children have changed.  so much.
Every single hair bow we owned for the first 9 months of her life came from Jameson Monroe
I never knew there was such a thing as this perfect.  She also frequently hosts sales (HUGE sales) on GroopDealz, and I am always sucked in to purchase. I cannot pass it up!  
Most recently.. the baby scarfs.
bub & bug studios bows
Love this shop.  Period. 

This is a shop I stumbled upon recently, and I'm so glad I found her!  She is so creative with baby fashion, and the moment she posted a picture of her little girl in the buffalo plaid kimono, I knew Parker and Jolie had to have them!
hat by sweet eloise designs
She has scarfs, kimonos, vests, skirts, head wraps..you name it. She can make it!  Such a sweet girl behind the shop, too.  I just about want everything that comes off her sewing machine.  If money grew on trees, ya'll.

Sweet Eloise Designs
WHILE we are talking about money growing on trees.  I need a little more.  I think I found Sweet Eloise around the same time I found Camden & Kate.  These two shops go back and forth in support over IG (love it), and so I couldn't help but find myself swooning over Cristina's woven designs.  Super high quality- this girl could sell her baby knit hats and cowls for a pretty penny.  I cannot even imagine the work that goes into each handcrafted piece.  When we received our knit beanies, I about fell over and died with 1.) my kids looks WAY too flipping cute.  I mean.  C'mon.
and B.) I couldn't believe how thick and warm these hats were.  Really, really beautiful work!  The moment I threw them on Parker and Jolie's head, I knew I would be purchasing more in every single color!

Another baby fashion genius. We received a skirt over the summer, and I was hooked.
jameson monroe head wrap  
Baby tunics, skirts, and her bloomers.  OH. MY.
Ruby Blue headwrap
Perfect for summer weather, but now that it has gotten cooler out, I've been throwing tights or leggings under them and getting more wear through the fall and into the winter.  We were in church last week and happened to be doing the whole tights under the bloomers thing, and the amount of compliments my children received was out of this world.

I started following Veronica almost two years ago on her personal page.. she has a little girl, Shelby, that is Parker and Jolie's age, and loved her sweet smiling face.  Veronica was a cake decorator in her former life, and holy geez she was good.. and then one day she shared a bow she had made for Shelby.  The rest is history.  Aside from Jameson Monroe.. I have about 1,000 bows handmade by Veronica.  She exploded in popularity - started with her sparkle bows, and then her poolside wraps (I had girlfriends DYING to get there hands on one over the summer), and now she's come full circle with the most amazing line of Sparkle Bows for fall and winter.  SERIOUSLY - I die over them!!

I have about a bazillion pictures I could post.. 

Another amazing woman behind the sewing machine.  I started following Chrystina simply for her creativity..and those highwaisted skirts and pants.  Wishing every day for 'mom' sizes.  Until she posted this cardigan.
bub & bug studios bows

Holy moly, I died and was frantic to find their size to purchase.  I've also got a couple pairs of her handmade leggings waiting to be worn (I bought them big) and the quality- let me tell you something about quality.  DLC knows it.  Love and appreciate her sweetness and thanks with every purchase made.  So much live goes into this craft and it makes me continue to come back to buy from her

I think I found this shop through a random post of a friend of a friend or something.. but how impressed and over the moon I was with their bold and genuine love for Jesus.  It blew me away, and I needed a piece of it. 
As you can see.. those size 12 month tees are growing shorter and shorter, but I totally do not care.  We are going to get the wear out of them that they deserve.  If you follow me on IG, this shirt is no stranger.  Such an amazing outward expression of love from this shop for their love of The Lord. Doesn't get much better than this.
pieces to peaces rockabilly bands

I have been following Amy, who is also a twin (girl) mom, since she went into the hospital to deliver her sweet girls almost two years ago.  when she started to make hair wraps and bows, I totally hoped in to support her - and to get some amazing bows - and she has seriously become outrageously busy.  With every new print seems to come mass chaos to get their hands on them, and I love it!  I love seeing other success, and I LOVE that I am able to be apart of it. We have MANY bows from two Little Bees.
odarling leggings

Trilogy Design Co
I 'met' Andrea early this year and fell in love with her style.  Her SWOON tee was what did me in and I had to grab a couple ASAP.
pieces to peaces head wrap
Since then her shop has expanded to many designs and styles and I LOVE every bit of it!  Her YO! tees and trucker hats.. not to mention her (never in stock) nerd glasses that fly out the moment she stocked them back up. We became brand reps for them several months ago and have been blessed with her design every time!

If ever you questioned the monogram.. look no further.  I never thought I would want my kids to have their name written all over everything, until I saw them on these two booties.  
Leggings, skirts, hairbows, wraps, and beanies, blankets..and most amazing - yoga pants.  YOGA pants for babies.  I can't even.  No, really.  And Kristyn is the sweetest soul.  I absolutely love working with her.  Those leggings in the picture above were hand crafted by Kristyn after I gave her my 'vision'.  Such an awesome thing about shopping small.. they can create what you can't.  We have been wearing these yogas for this entire second year of their little lives and they still fit well - they wash well, too!  Can't beat that quality.
shelby chic wraps

Another craft mama.  SUPER crafty.  They all are.  Again, another shop I stumbled into several months ago and fell in love with her creations- mama and mini bracelets.  I was searching for something special to accessorize for our upcoming Fall Family Photos and couldn't help myself.  Not only do I love it, but P&J get a kick out of matching their mama, too! I love that she also encourages these not only for your mini, but for your bestie, too.  Would my besties love one of these for Christmas?  Probably.
odarling leggings / whistle and flute tees

Whistle & Flute
While we are at it with these precious pictures (c/o BFaith Photography) I'll go ahead and mention Whistle & Flute.
bow by Ruby Blue
Another Instagram phenom -I have fallen in love with everything!  If the Pandas weren't enough.. Go ahead and throw some gold Odarling leggings in there and make the outfit complete.  Canada based (but never fails for quick ship - AND offers free shipping often!) Whistle & Flute has been featured in Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine, the Style section of The New York Daily News and online on the Oh Joy blog.  Hello- big time.  Like huge.  Another unisex brand that falls perfectly across the board for boys and girls alike.  Grey, White, and Black- I dont think I can have enough of that in the little's closet.

One thing I LOVE about these small businesses is the love they have for each other.  Always lifting each other up, and rarely voicing frustration in competition.  I was introduced to Danielle by another favorite shop, and then Danielle introduced my to Lovey Lake.. and so on.  They love each other, and it makes it more encouraging to shop small, doesn't it? ANYway.  Pieces to Peaces has been a favorite of mine - we are brand reps for this shop, so of course it is a favorite. I stand behind my brands 100% :)  Danielle is another sweet soul and her handwork shows it.  She sells hair wraps, and scarves, and her new line for the fall- fleece lined beanies, scarves, and clothing. 
Good gracious she is hitting all the bases and definitely going for the home run.  Many of my favorite pictures of Parker and Jolie include these head wraps.. several pictures that I've already shared above have P2P featured.
bear tee trilogy design co

LOVE her Rockabilly Headbands.  For serious, tho.

I SO appreciate this shop.  Emma is the handwork behind her creations, which by the way are amazing.  Leggings, harems, hats, and headbands.. she is actually the first shop I purchased leggings from other than store brand.  Print leggings for less than $15?  A twin mom's dream.  I think I pair $13 each for the fist pair of leggings I purchased for the girls - and we still wear them as, well, capris these days.  High quality fabric, and super fun and unique prints.  Usually you will find the same or similar fabrics across some of these alike shops, but Emma never fails to bring the best.  When we became supporters of the brand, I have never been so proud to rep a shop with such strong ownership.
Love it, and you should, too!
jameson monroe hairbows and riley clay tee
two little bees head wraps

Tessa is the bomb. Another shop I have been following since the beginning.  Her graciousness and ability to create is, again, amazing.  I came to her for Parker and Jolie's first birthday, and she nailed it.  Glitter crowns, anyone?
THE cutest thing I had every seen when I opened up that package.  Since then, her shop has exploded with amazing creations.  I LOVE her headbands for myself, too!!
You can always catch me in one of her halo bands (the gold wave is my FAVorite).  
Another shop I stand behind 100% as her adult brand rep!  I never thought, but when I was selected, I was over the moon.  We've got something special coming in December for my readers, so stay tuned:)

Bub & Bug Studio
Another twin mama I adore. I have been following Kelly since forever it seems, and I absolutely adore everything that comes into her shop.  I always scold her via social media for being so dang creative. I WANT everything she makes.  I do believe she was the first the throw glitter on my babes heads AND offer the smallest head bow they wore in their entire life.  and I'm hooked.
kid + kind shirt
 jameson monroe scarf
You may have seen Kelly's bows on the amazing Jessica Garvin's littles a times or two - which is out of this world amazing!  Such a hard worker and seriously the fastest turn around time ever - I have messaged her with a request needed in just days and she has shipped it out in the same day.  Really.  Doesn't get much better than that, you guys.

Big Bows are an understatement for the Miss behind Ruby Blue!  The original Messy Bow Wrap came about through the brains of sweet Trisha (That I have some to ADORE).  Her bows are a statement piece, sparkle, t-shirt, metallic, and lace..but you cannot forget the other amazing things in her shop!  She is the creative brain behind Parker and Jolie's 1st birthday outfits - those bows.  LACE leggings.. ARG- they were perfection. ARG- they were so chubby!
riley clay tee
Worn front or back these wraps are still amazing!  I have them in nearly every color and its still not enough.  Perfect accessory for your little girl!

bloomers by lovey lake / glitter bow by two little bees
Such a strong message behind the two Colleen's that founded this shop.  Their mission to spread love & kindness across the hearts of children, and doing our part to not only teach our children, but make the world a little bit brighter for them! I mean- seriously.  How can you not fall in love with appreciation for the motive behind their business.  They are a new and growing brand - and supporter of all small busnieses.  I love seeing them on my IG feed (@mamasaidtees) - always, ALWAYS inspirational.

I told you I had a special 'reward' at the end to share for making it allllll the way through this post: All of these shops SO graciously have offered up a special discount code for 3 Ladies and Their Gent readers
AMAZING, right??  Just a little kick start to shopping small on November 29th.
Codes are valid today through Sunday!
Camden and Kate - 15% 
shopsmall15
Sweet Eloise Designs (shop is closed until Friday 11/21)
WINTER
Lovey Lake - 20% 
shopsmall20
Shelby Chic Boutique -25% 
shopsmall25
Two Little Bees - 25% 
3LADIESANDTHEIRGENT
Dandy Lion Co.- 20% 
holiday20
Riley Clay - 15% 
AMBER15
Kennedy's Collections - 15% 
TWIN15
Hazel Love Designs - 20% 
HLDC20
Pieces to Peaces - 20% 
shopsmall
Sweet T Shoppe - 20% 
THREELADIES
Odarling Handmade - 10% 
shopsmall10
Bub & Bug Studio- 10% 
THREELADIES
Whistle & Flute- 10% 
MASSEYA
Ruby Blue - 15%
BLOGLOVIN
Jameson Monroe- 20% 
MASSEY20
Trilogy Design- 20% 
THEMASSEYSPOT 
Mama Said Tees- 15% 
3Ladies

Big HUGE Thank You's to these shops for being so gracious.  Another reason to shop small.

Where are you shopping this year??  I'd love to hear it!
Check out these small shops (and don't forget to use your discount code!)

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