Have you discovered Shabby Apple yet?  If not, you're missing out!  Shabby Apple creates some of the most gorgeous dresses, skirts, accessories and kids' items I have ever seen.  Not only are their clothes both trendy and classic, but they even provide you with the tools to pick the perfect outfit.  The website allows you to shop by body type, by clothing style, by event or even by outfit.  And these clothes won't be going out of style any time soon.   I can't stop adding their items to my Pinterest page. 

Check out some of the amazing sales they are having this December.  I promise, you won't be disappointed!
Dresses from Shabby Apple
Dresses from Shabby Apple
 

Smurfs Party

12/03/2011

 
Coming soon - our Smurfs playdate.
 
 
Today I am pleased to introduce to you Kelly-Marie from Our Footprints On The World.  Doesn't she have the sweetest little boy?  Take it away, Kelly-Marie!
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hey I'm Kelly-Marie, mummy to my specail little guy Josh and wife to my best friend Matt. I love to blog and looove to take photo's of . . yes you guessed it, Joshy!!
I work part-time in a small Post Office in my village which I love, plus it's right across the road from where we live so I just kinda roll out of bed to get to work. I've always got my camera with me to capture the world around me to share with you guys.

Tell us a little about your blog.
You can find me over at Our Footprints On The World where I like to blog about everyday life and capture Josh growing up. Come say Hi sometime, we would love to hear from you!

What inspires your writing the most?
Joshua is what I mainly blog about, I started really getting into photography  but where life is so busy at the moment I have put it kind of on hold till after Christmas is over.

What is your favorite post item?
My favourite posts are the ones I do every month that are letters to Joshua about how he's growing up and learning new things.

What do you consider to be your biggest triumph.
Being a mummy to me is the most specail thing in the world.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Christmas Day is the best day of the year, we don't do alot but it's just so nice to spend together as a family and eat loads of junk food!

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us. 
I'm a nerdy Disney pin collecter ;) I have over 100 pins.

What is your best tip as a blogger?
Blog about something you love and blog for yourself don't become obsessed with collecting readers.

 
 
If you haven't signed on for this swap, but would still like to swap for something on my blog - feel free to contact me! 

Here are the things I'm offering up:

1) Clothes -
3 vintage flowered skirts, 2 J Crew skirts, 1 Old Navy puff vest, 1 frilly skirt
2 denim jackets (1 J Crew, 1 Gap), 1 grey sweater, 1 Bebe red shirt, 1 red chord shirt
I can send more detailed pictures of anything you'd like.  Willing to swap as a lot or individual items.  (all clothes are around size 4/6)

Also, various 3-9 month baby girl clothes, mostly summer dresses and onesies (ask me for pictures)

2) The following dvds:
The Shape Of Things
Fusion Pilates: Exercise with Baby
House of Flying Daggers
Top 10 Christian Music Video Hits
Jeeves and Wooster season one

3) I have two etsy shops.  Mimi Baby Boutique sells jewelry and Big Red Kite sells appliquéd items and prints.  Have a look around, I'm willing to trade just about anything in them.

4) 150x150 sponsor slots on this blog, a product review, a guest post or a giveaway slot.

What I'm Looking For:
1) Shoes in size 7-8.  Especially fun boots, funky heels or fun sandals.
2) Kids' clothes in sizes 3T and up (for boys and girls)
3) Ad space on blogs (for my shops or my blog, whatever works for you)
4) Design expertise.  I'd really like to tweak my blogs/buttons and could use some help.  I blog in Weebly and don't know the html well - looking to expand my margins, clean up my sidebar, and get some really professional looking buttons for both this blog and my shop blog. 
5) Felt in all colors (at least 8x10 sheets)
6) Whatever you have that you think I might really like.  I'm open to suggestions.  I don't really need a lot of "stuff" - but you never know, I might just say "Oh!  I've been searching for that!"

Thanks all!!
 
 
Happy Advent all!  Yeah, I know, I'm way behind.  That's just my M.O. this Christmas, unfortunately.  Anyway, I've been working my little tail off trying to get  things ready for advent for my kids.  I love holiday traditions and with all the books on Santa that we're reading, I thought I would try to get the kids excited about Jesus instead.  Here are my top favorite resources for putting together a stellar Advent!

1) After spending hours on Pinterest (that's probably not much of an exaggeration) trying to come up with the perfect Advent calendar, I finally decided to make an amalgamation of these two garlands (click images for links):

I'm using a combination of the envelopes and the mittens - not going to finish in time to have all 25 days this year, but so far it's looking adorable!  And the best part is, they are super easy to make - just stitch up a couple pieces of felt and you're done!  I have 2 envelopes and a mitten sewn up and un-numbered, so I'll just be reusing them every 3rd day this year and finish up after the holiday crunch.  Oops - at least my kids are forgiving. 

2) In each pouch I'm adding a verse from here and from here (this one can also be made into a paper chain if you're not doing pouches).  I'm also adding one charitable act to perform each day, and a special treat (dinner out, candy, extra bedtime books, etc).  And we do a fun Advent-related activity every day.  You can find ideas for activities here, here and here.

3) And because I have been reading about it everywhere, and I really wanted to go all-out this season, we're also following along with Truth In The Tinsel.  It's a great e-book (only $4.99 and you can download it instantly!) detailing a verse, a craft and discussion points for each day of Advent.  It's easy enough for young kids I'm so excited to get started with my kids.   (click the picture to buy the book).
If you celebrate Advent, what fun activities have you put together?  Please feel free to share so we can all learn from each other!
 
 
Today I'm going to share with you why I am such an avid fan of the Medela Pump In Style double electric breast-pump.  If any of you ladies is having a baby soon, I seriously recommend that you check it out.  This pump is super easy to use, very easy to clean, and has amazing suction.  It even comes in a sleek and convenient carrying case.

And this is why I love it so much:

I've always envied women who produce milk over-abundantly.  I hear women speak about leaking and engorgement and just get jealous.  I'm sure it's not fun, but before I had kids I very much wanted to exclusively breast-feed my kids.  I pictured having the same round, chubby, happy babies my sister had.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that some of the women in my family simply have a genetic predisposition to, well, dryness.  Dry mouths, dry eyes (I can no longer wear contacts) and, unfortunately, difficulty producing milk.  My sister, apparently skipped that gene.  I didn't. 

Not only did I have issues with milk production, but I had extensive healing to do after my first baby's birth.  I could sit, could barely stand, and was on a lot of meds.  The meds made the baby sleepy, his latch was bad, I got sore and bled.  The pain was so bad I'd lie in bed and sob when I heard him cry for food.  I had a constant stream of La Leche leaders parading through my house showing me how to hold him, when to latch, how to rock him - it was exhausting.  So hubby and I decided to get a pump.  We reasoned that maybe I could pump the milk, then feed him with a bottle, which was easier to latch onto.  But, we didn't do our research.  We let our wallets guide us and bought a Medela Swing single electric pump because it was the cheapest one we could find.  It's probably fine for some women - but it was NOT what I needed.  It had terrible suction and only pumped one side at a time.  So after 30 minutes of pumping, I had maybe an ounce of milk to show for it.  Since I'd been warned of the evils of formula by numerous people, I just kept at the pumping and the nursing and the crying.  And soon my sweet baby boy dwindled from this adorable chubby thing:
To this 5 lb 10 oz waif of a child:
It absolutely breaks my heart to look at these pictures.  I cannot believe that I was so dazed and stressed and out of it that I didn't see how frail my poor sweet child was getting.  Fortunately, several people I loved intervened and finally convinced me to put him on formula.  I started to heal, and eventually we were able to resurrect the nursing relationship to the point that he was only fed formula for half of his meals.  I am thankful to say that by week 4 he was up to a healthy weight and has been healthy and happy ever since.  However, I truly believe that we are still reaping some emotional consequences from those early weeks of deprivation.

Because I was terrified of this happening again (and knowing how I struggled to make milk), I made sure to have a double pump for my second child.  However, I still bought the cheapest pump I could find.  It only worked half the time, and when it did, it's suction was awful.  Fortunately, nursing went much more smoothly with my second, but I still found instances where I really needed to be able to pump.  I am so blessed to have a best friend who heard my complaints and shipped off her own Medela Pump In Style (yes, I used sterilized replacement parts - no ick there) so I could try it.  I was hooked instantly!  Instead of the paltry 1 oz I got with the other pumps, I had almost 4 oz in about 15 minutes!  I was delighted!  When nursing was too painful, I could pump.  If baby's sleep didn't match up with nursing time, I could pump.  If I needed to leave baby with a sitter, I could pump.  Baby #2 still got some formula, but my supplementing was just minimal. 

I really do wonder how different things would have been with my first baby if I'd had a proper pump.  Perhaps he wouldn't have lost so much weight.  Perhaps he could have drunk less formula.  Perhaps he wouldn't have quite the same emotional high-needs now that he does.  Who knows.  Either way, that's my loooooooong way of saying that the Medela Pump In Style is an amazing product and if you're planning to pump, that's the way to go!

NOTE: Please do not hear me to disparage formula.  Due to medical reasons, my daughter was exclusively formula fed, and she is a happy, healthy baby.  However, I did prefer to feed my kids breast-milk if I was able.  I am VERY sensitive about wanting women to feel no shame about the method of feeding they decide is best for their family.  I simply wanted to make this information available for those who wish to breastfeed and pump.
 
 
I got really into the whole 'swap' idea this fall.  I swapped baby items, hand made ornaments, and now accessories.  My swap partner was Chelsea over at Sunny With a Chance of Sprinkles.  She is just a doll and has a darling blog.  And here are the goodies that she sent me!
(This picture totally looked clear on my camera *sigh* - time to get a new one).  Aren't the bracelet and earrings adorable?  Thanks Chelsea!  If you'd like to get something similar, hop on over to Mama's Nest Designs - she's got lots of fabulous things in her little shop.  What a fun swap! 
 
 
Today I'm linking up with
to fill out another fun form.  Today's prompt:  I am _____

I am _____ right now:

I am - Relaxing.  Pretty sure I'm going to be in "vacation mode" until January. It's been a long year and I am loving the short weeks (hubby is taking every Monday off this last quarter) and all the festivities.  Sometimes you just need to let go and rest.

I wonder - How my daughter will react on her second Christmas - she's only 1 and is at the 'delighted with everything' stage - I foresee a LOT of cuteness.

I see - Time slipping by.   I just turned 29 and sometimes I wonder where the last 10 years went.  I still feel 19 - how did I get here?

I want - To live in contentment and use my life to serve others.  SOOO much easier said than done.  I have so much love to give and so many people I want to help, but I have NO idea where to start...

I pretend - That I have it all together - but if you've been following me at all, you know that I'm really one big mess :p  Everyone always says "just do the best that you can" - but how am I supposed to feel when I know that I'm probably not?

I worry -  That I'm not a good enough mother.  That I'm 'messing up' my kids and that by the time I'm rested and sane and 'together' enough to know how to deal with them, it'll be too late.  Or, I worry that I won't be around to worry about that at all. 

I cry - Over everything these days.  Seriously.  From stress, over stupid commercials, for other people's pain, because I'm happy, for no reason at all.  For someone who never used to cry, who was ashamed to cry, I sure get weepy these days.

I hope - That God will use me despite (or maybe because of) all my perceived shortcomings. 

I dream - Of being perfectly content.  Of days filled with sweet, snuggly, joyful moments with my children.  Of having a clean, tidy house with real furniture in it.  Of my blog and my shop taking off.  Of finally finding my 'cause' and then fighting for it with all my strength. 

I feel - Too much.  Seriously, I am almost entirely to the F side of the Meyers-Briggs spectrum - even the most stupid, mundane things effect me on a very emotional level (I was driving by a pretty, sunny field the other day and I just wanted to cry because it was so beautiful).  I want to get to know everyone I meet on a very deep level.  I care too much.  I feel too much.  But in some ways, it's a beautiful thing.
 
 
Hello Stuff I Love readers. I am Amber, the blogger behind Sneakers Over Stilettos. I am a fashion stylit turned photographer and Momma to Ethan and Peyton. I take way to many photos, love to get dressed up everyday, and basically just love to create things. Especially with Ethan and Peyton.
When Cat asked if I would like to write a guest post I thought I would write a tutorial on one of my favorite photography tricks. Free lensing is a fun way to create art with your photos.
You should know that free lensing is not for the faint of heart. But if you are adventourus like I am then you will love this!
Because free lensing involves detaching the lens from the camera I like to use a 50mm lens. Thats right you read right, detach the lens!
Step One: Focus on your Subject.
Step Two: Very carefully detach the lens from the camera.
Step Three: Slightly tilt the lens in any direction making one part of your photo in focus and the rest out of focus.
* When do this you want to still try and keep the lense as close to the camera as possible to prevent dust getting on to your shutter, and also trying to and not let a lot of light in the photo.
Here are some examples of free lensing that I have done.
The two photos on the left are my before photos, and the two on the right are the free lens shots.

One other thing I love about free lensing is how there is a slight curve or tilt shift in the photo. Making a little more unique then a standard photo shot with a prime lens.
Thanks for reading my free lens tutorial I hope you will come stop by my blog and check out some more of our adventures and photography!
xoxo Amber
 
 
Hey there! I'm Ashley. I love to create delicious gluten free & vegan desserts and recipes. You can buy mixes at Sugar Mama Bakeshop and they make perfectly sweet little gifts for anyone on your list! (Have you thought about teacher gifts? Best friend? Your grandma? The mailman?)
Baked goods make such a lovely gift and especially if you know anyone with a restricted diet (no gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, etc) I can promise you they will be thrilled to have holiday sweets they can actually enjoy :)
I am so thankful for so much right now it's crazy, but here's my top 3:
*A safe, warm place to call home. It isn't our first choice of a place to call home but I'm incredibly thankful for it. You can read more about that here if you're interested.
*Community. I have found such a wonderful, encouraging and supportive community through blogging and I'm extremely thankful for it!
*My sweet wonderful little family. This is Lily's first trip to the zoo... She's clearly not nearly as excited about it as mom & dad.
I'm offering 25% off your order with the code MERRYCHRISTMAS. Woo! OR get free shipping when you order 8 or more mixes! Just enter OVER8 at checkout! Also message me if you need them individually gift wrapped and I'll hook you up :)
 
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