LWPH’s fav recipe links

Something I feel very passionate about is having dinner with my family. We try to have dinner every single night — now dinner one night may mean roast and another night cereal. We just do what works and something that really helps me get a home cooked meal on the table are easy recipes and FREEZER meals! I’m a hugeeeee fan of freezer meals, as I’m sure I’ve said many times before. I’m going to put a list below with links. I hope this helps you feel more confident in the kitchen in being able to have a few tried and true recipes in your back pocket!

  • I tried this one pan taco casserole last night with a few friends over and it was a hit! Super easy, tasty, and clean up was minimal since it’s a one pan dish.
  • This recipe for chicken rolls is one of my all time favorite recipes. My mom made them a ton growing up and my kids love them. Might not be the healthiest recipe ever but you win some, you lose some! Add a few green sides and you’re good. A huge bonus is these freeze amazingly well! I just put them on the counter for a few hours to defrost then cook them up.
  • Sunday Stew from The Pioneer Woman is amazing and another recipe that freezes well! Perfect for a cold, rainy day.
  • Salsa Chicken Tacos are another easy favorite of mine — put a couple of frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with your favorite salsa. Cook on low for about 5 hours. Before I shred and mix it all up, I’ll drain some of the water off so it’s not so soupy. Cook up some rice, put it in a tortilla and top with your favorite toppings!
  • This recipe for sloppy joes is my absolute favorite. I actually don’t love sloppy joes very much but this recipe is so good! You can freeze the leftovers too for an easy dinner. Just thaw and re-heat on the stove!

In the next couple of weeks I want to share our Santa Fe Soup recipe I got from my mother-in-law. It’s basically a chili but it’s to die for. Our friends are always asking for the recipe when they come over and a batch of mine won 2nd place in a chili contest so if you don’t trust me, trust the judges from the chili cook off!

-LWPH

4moms High Chair

We were so excited to try out the 4moms high chair because we are obsessed with every 4moms product we own. They really think about their product design and how it all flows together to make parents’ lives easier. Sign me up for anything that makes my life easier, please! Their high chair is no different and we are huge fans.

My favorite features of this high chair are that the tray and entire chair wipe down super easily. We had a wood high chair with Holden and food stuck to it like crazy — it got disgusting fast. We did baby led weaning with Sawyer (look into it, we are huge fans!) so his chair got messy FAST. It has been so easy to keep the chair part clean! The tray is magnetic so I can have Sawyer on my left hip and the magnetic tiles guide the tray into the slots easily. Just make sure that it’s clicked in before you let go because I have accidentally dropped it a few times when it wasn’t in all the way.

You can move the seat part up and down so it will be perfect when Sawyer is bigger and we can just pull him up to the table (and still have him strapped in). The chair cushion seems super comfortable for his cute little tooshie and I love the double tray cause who wants to clean the tray every single time?! Not me.

4moms always seems to add some sort of twist that makes their products unique and definitely add a “cool” factor. The magnetic tray not only helps to guide the tray on but it also comes with a magnetic bowl so it makes it harder for your baby to throw that bowl of yogurt off of their tray! Like I said, always making parents’ lives just a little easier and for that, we are grateful!

-LWPH

‘Tis the Season

I haven’t always been very good about getting Christmas cards out every year but this year I scrambled at the last minute and am so excited to share our cards thanks to Minted! I scheduled family pictures seriously the day before we took them and you know what? It actually was the most low key family photo session ever. I didn’t have time to stress about getting everyone’s outfits perfect or anything like that! I just kind of went through our closets and hoped everything would look okay together and I’m super pleased with how they turned out! The quality of these cards is so good! Thick paper, beautiful rounded edges. Every detail was perfect, I especially loved the envelopes!

Minted also came out with these killer pin boards to display our Christmas cards and I’m so in love with the custom fabric I was able to choose. I wanted something that I could use year round and I can’t wait to put it in our laundry room in our new house next summer! Won’t it look great in a Texas home?! ūüôā

I love our buffet in our front room. It’s the perfect spot to add a few things for every holiday and makes our house that much more festive. I’m going to post a few more family pictures in another post soon so make sure to keep an eye out!

-LWPH

This post is sponsored by Minted but as always, every word is my own.

My Perfect Mess

I have to say, as much as I’d love for my house to be perfectly tidy all the time, with three kids that is just impossible. The second you clean up a mess they’re off making another one and it can be exhausting. Okay, beyond exhausting. I love those kids of mine more than words could describe but my “perfect mess” is not finding markers on the wall or the moss from our plant strewn all over the living room — no thank you! I’m really thankful that STAINMASTER¬ģ has created a campaign for all of us to share our perfect mess¬†because so much of social media and blogs are all white homes and siblings that hug even while they sleep. That’s all wonderful! I wish sometimes that was my life but it’s not and I couldn’t be happier to partner with them to share My Perfect Mess!

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Carving pumpkins is M-E-S-S-Y. Our son, Holden, is hilarious and would hardly even touch the goop. He has never liked to be messy but he sure loved to manage us all. We were calling him Manager Holden as he was cheering us on (literally) and telling us to let him know when we were done with each step. We were dying laughing and it was so fun to see a glimpse into his possible professional future! We did get him to scoop out a few pumpkin seeds before he switched into his manager role.

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We had to put Sawyer in “baby jail” because this kid loves a good mess but also loves putting small things in his mouth (like pumpkin seeds). We were surprised to see that he actually loved watching everyone working and didn’t cry to get out once! I think his teething self didn’t mind chewing on that bar while he observed!

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I’ve somehow become the official pumpkin carver of the family and I actually have a lot of fun doing it! I don’t remember doing a lot of it growing up (not saying we didn’t but #mombrain) so discovering that those little cheap tools actually do something was a lightbulb moment!

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What I love most about our perfect mess is that we were creating a somewhat controlled chaos but it was such a beautiful family moment with everyone working away, Halloween music playing, laughing + dancing together. The kids were even going around the yard practicing trick-or-treating! The holidays are such a rad time to share with kids and it’s memories like these that I truly believe I’ll look back on as the best days of my life. And i mean, I’m pretty proud of this pumpkin! Arm workout for the week, check!

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STAINMASTER is running an amazing contest where YOU can enter to win free flooring for one room in your home and a $500 retail gift card by posting your perfect mess on social media with #MyPerfectMess and tagging @STAINMASTER in the caption. I think we could all use $500 for some Christmas shopping coming up!

This post is sponsored by STAINMASTER but, as always, opinions are all my own.

-LWPH

Observer Fabric Tour

I was so excited when April asked me to be part of her Observer blog tour! I am a HUGE fan of April’s. In fact, a good majority of the fabrics I use (and definitely most of my best sellers) have been designed by her. She is kind of my fabric spirit animal.

I actually had a totally different project in mind when April initially asked me. I immediately thought of another pattern I had been wanting to do but it took me a while to get started and in that time the wheels started turning. I had been wanting to make a pineapple quilt but something about the classic colors didn’t do it for me creatively. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the classic colored pineapple quilts floating around the internet but I wanted a bit of a challenge. I had an image in my head of how I hoped it’d turn out but wasn’t really sure if it would be totally rad or a disaster. I went for it anyway and I ended up loving how it turned out! When it started coming together I had to powerhouse my way through to see the final product and I’m so glad I decided to change projects last minute.

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I had to grab my husband to hold up the quilt top for me this morning before he left for work and got minimal eye rolls! That’s huge, guys.

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I had to order more fabric for the backing. I decided to use the goooorgeous Indigo Window Crystal print because it’s maybe my favorite from the new line. I said maybe! The splatter fabric is the perfect neutral background fabric and I love the depth it adds to the quilt.

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You can find the whole tour on April’s blog here and I highly recommend going to check out the projects! I love to see how everyone was given the same fabric to work with but everyone came up with something so unique. Totally in awe of everyone’s creativity and talent! I’ll share the final project on instagram once I have it quilted + bound so make sure to follow me there!

-LWPH

Frame those photos!

We take so many pictures with our phones always within reach — I’m talking 9,000 photos on my phone right now! Not all of them are gems, of course, but some of them I definitely do not want to get sucked into the cloud abyss. You know what I’m talking about? They go to up into the cloud (whatever that means!) and then I never really look at them again. I’ve been dying to print a few of my favorites and was so excited to try out Framebridge. Their service was SO easy and for a visual person like me, it made the process painless. I could upload my photo or art, pick different frames and it would show me what each one would look like immediately. The printing quality was so good and it came with everything ready to hang! I know this is silly but even the nail was pretty!

For those of us that use Instagram a lot, you can even log into your account and easily select which photos you want printed + framed for around $40! That’s what we did for our kitchen and I love how they turned out. I’m a little addicted now and want to frame all the things.

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I had recently purchased these two large prints and was worried about finding the right frame for them. I don’t have a lot of free time so going from store to store printing and looking for frames I loved was just not going to work. Hallelujah for Framebridge coming in and saving the day on this one! Seriously, if it wasn’t for them these would still be sitting in my inbox, I promise. I just uploaded the artwork, picked a frame, and bam! I’m all about convenience these days and when it doesn’t break the bank? Even better.

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Framebridge is offering all of my readers 15% off their first purchase with code LITTLEWIFE15 and I highly recommend trying them out! I definitely want to get a few more of my Instagram pictures framed for another room in our house. We’ve been in our rental house for a little over three years and adding pictures of our family just makes it feel a little more like home to us.

This post was sponsored by Framebridge but all words and opinions are 100% mine!

-LWPH

Day Trip to San Francisco

We live about 45 minutes south of San Francisco and we love going into the city every chance we get (although with three kids it’s equal parts fun and exhausting). Living in a tourist destination means that family comes and visits often, which is so great since we live so far. We got to play tour guide to my BIL + his girlfriend for the last week and our first outing was the city!

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One thing that’s super important in taking day trips/vacations with kids is making sure you bring the right gear. I’m talking about gear that will make your life easier so before you pack up the car, make sure to think about what you’ll be doing and bring what will be the most helpful. For this trip we brought our new G-LINK stroller from UppaBaby + our Ergo 360 as a backup for Sawyer. Three kids means three places to sit if they’re all exhausted at once so the G-LINK with two seats was perfect! A diaper bag that helps you be hands free (and looks gorgeous) is always a huge plus and this Fawn Design in black is the perfect one to do just that.

My biggest tip for traveling with little ones is to be flexible. There will be meltdowns, more rigid lunch/dinner times, nap times to work around, and unexpected things that come up. We always try to set a loose schedule by planning a few things we want to do that day then do them in whatever order works out the best with the kids’ schedule. Try not to let it ruin your day if things don’t go as planned (any other Type A’s out there?!) because half the fun is just being together, no matter what you’re doing.

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We always stop at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market first. It’s a gorgeous building right on the water with the best donuts inside, fresh fruit + veggies everywhere, and the atmosphere is just really fun.

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You’d think going almost anywhere in the US in July or August would mean pretty warm temperatures but with the San Francisco fog, you have to be prepared with layers. It ended up being warmer so we all peeled off our jackets and put them in the basket below. Thank goodness for the extra space because there were seven jackets under there plus a blanket!

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If you’re ever in San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts is definitely a must-see. You feel like you’re in Europe and it’s right in the heart of the city. It’s also really convenient location-wise, a quick stop on the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. The beauty here is jaw dropping and the pictures don’t even do it justice!

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We walked around quite a bit so it was nice having the G-LINK where the older two could jump in and out as they wanted and Sawyer was comfy strapped to me.

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I mean, come on!

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Everyone who comes to San Francisco has to at least drive across the Golden Gate Bridge! You might think that it’s just a bridge but it really is beautiful. The fog had rolled in, covering the top of the towers but it added to the beauty. I highly recommend walking across part the bridge if you have time. Driving across just isn’t the same!

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I get a little freaked out walking on the bridge so I didn’t go as far as everyone else. I made it farther than I did last time so I’m still patting myself on the back! We opted for just taking the Ergo on the bridge because it’s a bit of a hike from where we park to the bridge. I’m so glad we grabbed the Ergo because carrying Sawyer all the way up and all the way down would have been a nightmare! Like I said, make sure you have the right gear and even if you think you may not use it, BRING IT.

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We will be taking basically the exact same baby gear on our trip to Ireland later this year so I feel like this was a good test run. We chose the G-LINK by UppaBaby because we wanted a stroller that folded up into once piece, was easy to fold and carry up stairs, had two seats, extended shades, space below, and a rain cover. A rain cover is a MUST in Ireland, I hear, so I’m relieved we were able to find a stroller that checked off so many of our must-haves for traveling with little ones.

-LWPH

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of UPPAbaby. The opinions and text are all mine.

traveling with little ones

We have traveled with our little ones quite a bit. Sawyer is barely 8 months old and he’s already been on four flights! We really have tried to make traveling part of our lives as parents even though it can be more challenging with kids. A lot more challenging! I always think of something Jordan of¬†Oh Happy Day¬†said when thinking about taking our kids on a trip. The gist of it was that traveling with kids is not as fun as traveling with all adults BUT it sure beats staying at home all the time! A-men, Jordan.

I feel like every trip we take we downgrade what we bring. Our first couple of trips back home to Texas we’d be schlepping a million things through the airport! Car seats, a pack n play, large luggage, carry ons, a big stroller, along with our kids. It was SUCH a production just getting to the airport! My husband is somewhat of a bag aficionado so he’s been looking at¬†Tom Bihn¬†bags for a while. I started watching videos on their website and was blown away by how much they could fit in their different bags. The type A in me was all googly eyed over the organizational aspect! It totally changed the way I thought about packing!

For our trip to Texas we brought more than we will on our Ireland trip but we still only checked one bag (along with our car seats). I’ll tell more about our international packing/car seat/traveling in a future post — some tips will be the same, some will be different.

  1. Bring luggage that helps you be as hands free as possible.¬†When you have little kids, it makes traveling so much harder when don’t have hands to help kid A with this, kid B with her backpack, or wipe kid C’s spit off off his mouth without putting everything down and picking it back up. It’s seriously exhausting! We both carried an¬†Aeronaut 45¬†on our backs and just look at how much I was able to fit in mine! I love the organizational¬†cubes. Honestly, I could’ve fit even more than this!¬†
  2. If your kids are old enough, get¬†each a backpack to carry on the plane full of snacks and activities.¬†In the past we’ve used whatever backpack we had around the house but this time we got a¬†Sprout¬†pack for each of the older kids and they are amazing! We filled them with tons of activities, iPads, snacks, “babies” and there was still room for more, they were just getting too heavy. When they get older they’ll be able to carry even more!
  1. This goes along with #2 but¬†pack their bags with their favorite activities, snacks, candies they don’t usually get to eat.¬†For us, most rules at home go out the window while traveling. We are in survival mode! We pack iPads for each of them, temporary tattoos (with a rag in a plastic bag), stickers, a notepad for each, a dry erase board, and a small game. When Holden was younger we brought little boxes of nerds because he would eat them one by one and it would take FOREVER for him to eat them, it was fantastic.
  2. For babies, pack more than you think you’ll need for the plane.¬†One time I was heading home and before we even made it half way to Texas, Sawyer had pooped through one outfit and peed on his extra outfit so boyfriend had to hang in an outfit he had peed on for the rest of the trip. Have backups for your backup! If you’re nursing, bring your favorite nursing cover (Covered Goods!!) so you can nurse on take off + landing. We’ve been using our¬†Parental Unit¬†from¬†Tom Bihn¬†(sensing a pattern?! All of their stuff is so so good!) and it’s crazy how much stuff you can fit in the bag and still zip it up and it doesn’t feel heavy or bulky. My husband has LOVED this diaper bag because it just feels like a bag he would carry everyday but with all of the organization a good diaper bag needs.
  3. If you have access to a washer + dryer, try packing less and doing laundry on your trip. For our 10 day trip to Ireland, we plan on bringing a small thing of detergent and doing some laundry in our sink or bath. I have a feeling a tide to go pen will be our best friends too with spills and splatters.
  4. Buy diapers when you get to your destination.¬†We always bring enough for the plane ride and for a day or two once we get there (if we have the space in our bags) because sometimes you just don’t want to go to the store as soon as you step off the plane.
  5. Pack an empty sippy cup or straw cup for the plane ride.¬†We just buy a water once we get through security and pour it into each kid’s cups. It’s a lot easier than dealing with screw tops and it helps the kids be more independent on the plane. We love the ones that have a straw but close so they don’t spill in their bags.
  6. Check your stroller at the gate or bring a baby carrier (like an ergo or solly wrap). We love to check our stroller at the gate because it helps us be as hands free as possible while walking around the airport. Bonus: our kids ride on the skateboards of our orbit so it keeps them close to us!
  7. Kids get restless so if the seatbelt sign is off, get some wiggles out by walking up and down the aisles a few times!¬†This is especially important on a long flight. We’ll do this and also sometimes hang out in the back with the flight attendants for a bit if our youngest is feeling grumpy. They usually love to see a cute baby so they’re happy to share the space for a few minutes (I think at least hah!)

I hope those were some helpful tips for packing/traveling with little ones! As I’ve done it more and added more kids to the bunch my motto is simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.

-LWPH

our living room tour

We’ve lived in this house for just over three years. We are renting (and feel so lucky to have scored such a great house in Silicon Valley) but have been constantly frustrated at the housing market here. We’ve put some work into decorating our rental but not a ton of work.

We’ve been toying with the idea of buying a house out here and even looked at a few but something was telling us it just wasn’t the right time for us so we’ve put it on hold. Once we put the house hunting on hold I told myself to just enjoy this rental we have and really make it our own!

I knew I wanted a long picture ledge along the back of the couch. We have so many wonderful pictures + prints framed and the ledge makes it so we can swap out as often as we want! We bought two of these ledges from Ikea and hung them next to each other on the wall. I love how it turned out!

Oh, if we owned this house that fireplace would be the first thing to go! The stonework matches the outside of the house but it definitely needs some updating. I’m not really sure if the actual fireplace works but that could use an update, too. It’s from the 60’s, I believe!

There was a NIGHTMARE of a mess of cords hanging allllll along the wall. We had all of the game consoles and internet/cable boxes on the mantle and it just looked terrible. I wish I would have taken a before picture — it was THAT BAD. Now full disclosure: a tiny bit of the gathered wires really do show a tiny bit around those white flowers that I didn’t have time to fully figure out how to cover up so that was photoshopped out. You can totally hide the wires behind the wall though following¬†this tutorial, we just didn’t want to drill into the wall anymore than we have to.

I love this diffuser from¬†Magnolia Market. Everything Chip + Joanna do turns to gold. I want to be BFFs with them (a sentiment felt by most of America, I’m sure!) The diffuser smells DIVINE. The perfectly fresh scent.

It took me a really long time to figure out what to do with the top shelf! Like a really long time. I finally was like DUH, put some great books up there and steal that cool ball thing from Sawyer’s room and voila! The difference between past decorating endeavors and this one was I didn’t want a bunch of little things that maybe looked cute but served no purpose. I don’t need anymore junk around my house! I used the shelves of our¬†Walker Edison media tower¬†to host some of our favorite books, a plant for some green next to a box for all of our Amiibos, our game consoles and cable boxes (which I still want to hide somehow) and a speaker for our nightly dance parties!

I LOVE our¬†coffee table¬†from¬†Walker Edison! It has a glass top which you’d think would be super annoying to keep clean with three little kids but it honestly hasn’t been bad and the fact that you can see through the top actually helps me to keep the bottom shelf clean. I need all the motivation I can get to not let clutter take over our lives!

Sawyer was, of course, hamming it up for the camera. He just radiates sunshine!

Now this is technically a¬†TV stand¬†of sorts but after I saw how¬†Whippy Cake¬†made it such a functional piece for her family I was like THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEEEEED. Now, this post is already getting suuuuper lengthy and I have so much to say about how we use this in our every day lives so I’m going to have to make a totally separate blog post for it. It’s been that life changing in organizing our day to day! Thank youuuuu,¬†Walker Edison, thank youuuuu!

We needed a LARGE piece of art to put above our life organizing, wonderful piece of furniture and Minted definitely saved the day. They have the most beautiful selection of art and you can either buy the art separately or have it framed and shipped. We opted for the framed and shipped option because convenience is everything in my life right now! They have SO many options guys, take a while and browse their selection! I want it all.

We were going to put two large pieces just leaning against the wall there but decided to move one of the framed pieces to the game room. I love how it looks on our buffet and that copper frame is just gorgeous!

Here are a few more shots from around the room and then I’ll try to put some sources below¬†but if there’s something specific you’re wanting to know about, just put it in the comments and I’ll get back to you!

I love having the quilts I’ve made for our family out on display. They are such a labor of love and mean so much to me, there’s no way I could hide them all away in a closet somewhere! We love snuggling under quilts watching tv, movies, or playing a video game so it’s perfect having them so easily accessible.

That¬†Rad Revolution¬†romper on Charlotte…obsessed! I don’t think she sells that floral print anymore but has TONS of other adorable romper choices! And really, it would be terrible of me not to turn you guys onto¬†Loyal Hana¬†if you’re nursing. All of their clothing is cute, well-made, and HAS HIDDEN ZIPPERS for breastfeeding! I have quite a few pieces from them and pretty much rotate them out and maybe throw a t-shirt or two in the mix but mostly I’m like, why would I not want zippers in everything I’m wearing right now?! I told you, convenience.

Like I said, if you have a question about a specific piece let me know in the comments and I’ll get back to you! Hope you enjoyed the tour! I’ll post next later this week or next week about the console and how we use it!

All photos by Rachael Bradley.

-LWPH

Castle Rock Hike

One of our favorite family activities is going on a hike with the kiddos! We usually do a pretty low key hike but we were feeling adventurous..or at least Allan was feeling adventurous and it was his Father’s Day hike after all. Carrying Sawyer up and down the mountain, Charlotte peeing her pants half way down and nursing Sawyer to sleep while hiking down the mountain made for a super interesting time but there were just so many good moments along the way.

We always stop at this creek to throw a few rocks + leaves.

Sawyer is loving the Ergo Baby 360 these days. It was great because he could be facing out for as long as he wanted and then when he got tired and needed to nurse I could switch him around very easily.

-LWPH

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