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Bedtime Routine for My Toddler

I’ve gone over how I put my one year old to bed on this post linked here, and I think it’s worth a post of it’s own to discuss how our three year old handles his bedtime routine as well.

With the development of his language ability, he’s become much more vocal about how bedtime should go- and rightfully so. It’s his night, too! For a long, long time- until he was about 18 months old- his bedtime routine was the exact same as his sister’s. We have adjusted and added to his routine as he needed to grow with his needs. This was mentioned in the book, The Happy Sleeper. This book has really worked for our family, and I can’t recommend it enough. I know everyone has their own special sleep book, but for us, it’s been a game changer and worked with two different babies, so…

We eat dinner at 6 PM- and I know, it’s really hard to stop life to make dinner. This is something that’s really important to my husband and I, however, so we eat together most nights as a family. As the children get older and activities are added, I’m sure this will have to be adjusted, but I think time spent around the table is a good way to reconnect as a family at the end of each day, so every day at 6pm, you’ll find us around the dining room table.

Some nights he isn’t interested in what we are cooking, and that’s fine- he can pick at what he likes, but he STILL has to sit at the table with us. He isn’t a very big fan of this, but table manners are important, and I think this is an age appropriate one for him.

After dinner, we take a bath. This is definitely his favorite part, there’s a lot of splashing and laughing. He might fight us when he gets in, but it always ends with a smile. Sometimes it’s hard getting him out, too. (Hellooooo, three- an opinion on everything!) It’s helped us tremendously to use sand timers so he can see his time pass by. Three year olds can struggle with transitions, and these little sand timers from Amazon have helped us all so much! He can see the time lapse, and we don’t get a meltdown- win, win. Best $6 I’ve spent in a loooonnnnngggg time!

We apply his body lotion- Eucerin Eczema Relief has been a life saver for him and his dry itchy skin, and it doesn’t have a strong fragrance- comb his hair, brush his teeth [and man, this is a post in and of itself- he fought tooth brushing for ages!!!!] and put on clean warm jammies.

For a long time, David would go straight to his room for story time after finishing up his bath, but recently, he’s seemed to need a little personal unwind time, so we now give him 10 minutes to play with his toys- again, using those sand timers make the end of play time much easier.

We clean up all of our toys, and then we head to his bedroom. We turn on his white noise machine, his Benjamin Bunny alarm clock {again, another post- this is more for the morning wakeup stuff}, read a book, and sing Twinkle Twinkle. I’m not lying when I tell you that some nights, he’s so tired he asks to go to bed and skip story and song time. He climbs into bed, I tuck him in, and turn off the light.

He’ll lay in bed and talk for awhile, but there’s no screaming, no fighting. He asks to go to the potty and for a glass of water, but he isn’t stalling, he’s just getting needs met.

I don’t think this is the end-all be-all routine. I think the reason it works so well is because we are very consistent with bedtime, even when we travel. Even with our move and all of the emotions he’s experiencing, he doesn’t fight getting into bed… I wish I could say the same with all of the other steps, but that isn’t our truth right now. I know this is just a phase, however, and he’ll go back to normal, because we’re consistent and he’ll adjust to this new normal.

What special things do you do for your kid’s bedtime?



Affiliate links were used in this post ❤

Lessons I’ve learned about moving a family

I consider myself a pretty experienced mover. My husband and I counted how many times we’ve both moved since we began college, and the number between us was 21. That’s a lot of moves! However, we have not moved with small children, and let me tell you- that, my friends, that is a whole different ball game. Also, we haven’t moved a distance this far in quite some time, so that threw a whole level of complication that was unexpected.

Before I get started addressing the mistakes I made, let me shout out my in-laws and parents, without whom this  move would not have happened. Between the four of them, they packed boxes, entertained babies, and fixed things around the house. This move would have been even more chaotic if they hadn’t been there to help! We’re fortunate to have such hands on, loving parents. Thank goodness they were around, I would have lost it without them.

I think the biggest mistake I made was not starting packing soon enough. I started about a week ahead of time, and I should have started AT LEAST two weeks in advance. We were packing until 1 in the morning the night before they came and there was STILL stuff that wasn’t in boxes! I underestimated how much stuff we had (and I’ve been purging our belongings for months) and how difficult it is to pack with two little kids who want to see what you’re doing and look for trouble when you’re not paying attention.


Bless the men in this moving truck. Bless. Them. 

I’ve never had professional movers before, so this wasn’t something I’ve thought about- but labeling which room boxes go in to would have helped the movers with unloading and eliminated some of the quick decision making that bogged and tired out my mind on unloading day. I made some mistakes directing which boxes go where, and that has slowed down my unpacking efforts considerably.


The mystery box pile… Don’t do this to yourself, people 

I also should have brought more cleaning supplies with us when we got there the night before the movers did. Our sellers did pay someone to come clean before they left, but I’m guessing, based on the way that we found the house, those cleaners did not, in fact show up. Moving into a dirty house is just gross, so… lesson painfully learned. A vacuum, mop, and all purpose cleanser would have been miracle workers.

Things to remember to pack for your kids- all of their toiletries and a variety of toys. Trust me on this. I did get all of their bedtime stuff with us, but I forgot toothbrushes (oops), so this  meant an extra run to the store when I was already strapped for time. Don’t forget your own toiletries and bedding, in addition to what your kids need. It’s like you’re packing for the most overwhelming, stressful overnight vacation ever.


My lady bug loves all the boxes because they are easy to pull up on for standing practice. Haha. 

I wish we would have had window coverings, at least for the kids room, installed and ready to go ahead of time. This was a complete slip of the mind on my part, because I had forgotten we had asked the painter to remove all the old vertical blinds. David especially is light sensitive when he sleeps, and I would have loved having him sleep in until 7.30 on move in day, not 6.30.

If you have dogs, bring their beds. Our dogs love their beds, and we forgot to pack those for them. I didn’t forget their food, bowls or medications, however, much to their pleasure.

I/we didn’t do everything wrong, however. Some big pluses for this move include hiring a moving company (worth every penny) and having the house painted before we arrived. Fresh paint makes everything feel bright and clean, I think, and the painter himself commented on how much he liked my paint choices. (Why, thank you! I happen to like them too 🙂 Finally, having a trailer strictly for trash has alleviated a lot of anxiety about what to do with all of the house rubbish, like the old vertical blinds,  and has helped keep our trash area looking not so… trashy.

What words of wisdom do you have to share with families who are planning a big move? Share below in the comments!






Bedtime Routine for Our Baby Girl

I’m a bit militant about my children’s sleep. Make that A LOT militant. I have struggled with sleep for most of my life, and I don’t want my children to do the same. I did a lot of research, I tried a lot of things, and I found what works best for my littles. I think they sleep pretty well, especially at home, so I thought I would share my routine with you in hopes that it will help some other tired mama out there.

First and foremost, this book  was my favorite one that I read, and the one that I felt the most comfortable with. It’s called The Happy Sleeper. I couldn’t stomach the Cry It Out method (and if it works for you, you do you, but it just about broke my heart!) This book’s methods allow your baby to learn, with your loving support, how to self-soothe to sleep. I didn’t start with this method until they were both about 4 months old. This method really focuses on routine and consistency, which is something I firmly believe in as a classroom teacher, so this really felt natural to me.

We eat dinner at 6 pm every night, and Caroline is in bed between 6.30-6.45 pm.  I get a lot of guff from friends that we eat early, but by 6 pm rolls around, she is READY to go to bed.


After we eat, Caroline either gets a proper bath or a sponge bath. I’ve been using Mustela since David was a baby, and I love the smell. If she gets a proper bath, I’ll use the Mustela Two in One bath gel.


When we go into her room, I turn on the lamp and white noise machine and draw the curtains. I dry her off in her special unicorn bath towel, put on a fresh diaper using //ws-La Petite Creme diaper creme (heavenly scent, really!) and give her a thorough once over  with Mustela Hydra Bebe lotion.   After she gets her jammies on, we brush her teeth with this Orajel baby toothbrush and gel. You might wonder why I’m going into so much detail about this whole deal- it’s because all the sounds, smells, and noises indicate to her that it’s time to go to bed. If you consistently use the same products in the same order, it’s a signal to your baby that bedtime is eminent.


After we go out and give kisses to her brother and dad, we go back to her room and she nurses, and then we read a short story. (Every night… from when she was a month old. I think reading has made a huge difference for David’s language ability, so I’m dedicated to this for her, as well.) I turn off the light, sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and I rock her for a minute or two. I quietly lay her down in her crib and tell her “Good night, Caroline, I love you.” I  then walk out of the room. She’s not even partially asleep at this point- she knows how to put herself to sleep every night. There’s no tears, no yelling, nothing. It’s so peaceful.


So, that’s it… That’s how I put my 11 month old to bed every night. I have found that by remaining peaceful and calm, it helps her as well, and we both love our routine. I hope this helps!



PS: I should add- it didn’t start this way when I first got her started on her bedtime routine. She would cry for about 5 minutes, I would walk in and tell her “It’s bedtime, Caroline, time to go to sleep,” and leave. I did this as many time as it took. Caroline learned much more quickly than David, but they both learned how to soothe themselves to sleep.

.Affiliate links are included in this post. No content was sponsored- recommendations are strictly from my own experience. 

Our Hilltop Home Tour- Living Areas

This is part two of the new home tour; if you want to see the bedrooms, click here. The living space in our new home is enormous- we’re gaining almost a thousand square feet- the lot itself is nearly two acres. We wanted our children to grow up raising livestock through 4H, and I also wanted to own horses again. I’ve missed that part of my life so much.

So… anyway, welcome to our new home!

The front door is on our list of things to update, but currently it’s low on our list of priorities. We had originally intended to replace this dated glass window, but learned, upon closer inspection, that it’s actually a false window! We’ll have to have it covered with siding so that it matches. It’s just going to have to wait until we redo the siding in the next few years. We will be repainting the door- color TBD.

The entry way leads into the kitchen <<not pictured, as it was covered with our packing mess as I was trying to get out of town to make it to Easter lunch on time!>>. The lighting fixture will be updated ASAP.

The formal living area is directly off the entry way, and has a fireplace (one of two). We will be updating the fireplace and the mantle in due time. The vertical blinds will be coming down quickly- as mentioned previously, David is very enthralled with them.


The family dining room leads directly off the formal living room and is right next to the kitchen. The ceiling fan will be updated soon.

This room is lovely- so much light! There are skylights and high windows in the ceiling. We are going to use this as our primary gathering space, so anticipate lots of seating and  soft textures.

The dining area is an unexpected bonus- I never expected to have one in a new home, but it will be wonderful to have. I inherited my grandparent’s formal dining set, so it will be a nice addition to our new home to carry on her memory. (The door across the family room leads into the guest suite, just for reference.)  And yes, the chandelier is going to go, ASAP! I already found the replacement on Ikea!

Finally, the pantry. I love LOVE LOVE that the laundry is inside, and I love how much storage is available. We’re going to replace this white wire racks with stainless steel bakers racks.  I think this space can wait for updating, but I have some ideas that will make it really beautiful!

I can’t wait to share the next steps with you!



Our Hilltop Home Tour- Guest Suite and Bedrooms

Okay, the cat is out of the bag, and I can hardly contain my excitement- WE ARE MOVING! I have waited for this moment for a long, long time- almost 6 years. However, like I mentioned in my Instagram post, this change is a little terrifying. This house is going to be a big project, inside and out, and although I can’t wait to get started, I’m feeling some trepidation at starting something so large with two small children in tow… especially two tenacious, curious, strong willed small children!

There’s a lot to show you, as this house is considerably larger tban my current home, so I’m going to break this tour down into multiple posts. I’m starting with one of the reasons we fell in love with this house- the guest room.

We are moving quite a distance from family, so having a place where they could stay comfortably was really important to us. This home has a large guest room, with access to the garden, a large closet, and it’s own complete bathroom (and anyone who has shared a bathroom with a potty training toddler will tell you that this is a realllyyyy nice thing to have.)


This room is actually larger than the master suite, and while the temptation to use it for ourselves instead is there, we want to keep our room close to the babies, so we will be keeping this as the guest room. Eventually we’ll update the flooring, but we’re going to start with a fresh coat of paint and new window coverings.

One of the first things we plan on updating right away is every bathroom (this is one of three). I’m still trying to decide what I want to do, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to involve at least one can of white paint. (I have a strong feeling that Sherwin Williams is really going to love me when this project is over…)

The children’s rooms are pretty standard:

Caroline’s room is on the right, David’s room is on the left. C’s room has a sliding door to the garden (one of four total….), so this room gets a ton of light. David is much more light sensitive than her, which is why we decided to put her in this room. The carpets are going to be deep cleaned, and, of course, the walls will be painted and we’ll add new draperies and take the vertical blinds down. David thinks vertical blinds are just the best thing to play with. So. Awesome.

We really liked the potential in the master suite:


The master ALSO has a sliding glass door, but lacks a step out to the garden, so, for now, this door won’t be in use. It’s a large room, and I love the amount of light it gets.

The water closet (shower and toilet) is quite small, but the vanity is enormous! We’ve been toying around with a few ideas on how to update this (some of them are on my Pinterest account!) but at this point we’re undecided. I mean, how much do we REALLY want to bite off right now?

And, finally:


Mirrored closet doors. My mother in law laughed when I showed her this picture, because these are the EXACT same closet doors we took out of our current home. Yes, mirrored closet doors are practical, but I hate them. Actually, I loathe them. So, these bad boys are going to be escorted out quite quickly. (Side note- do you like the Canadian tuxedo I’m rocking?)

I can’t wait to share more- I’ll be adding the second half of the home tour on Tuesday ❤





Easter Egg Magic

I love dying Easter eggs! They are so bright and joyful, and are a happy reminder that Spring is finally here. I’m one of the few people who actually hard boil and dye eggs for our family’s egg hunt each year (no suprise that the plastic eggs filled with candy or money are more popular! Haha). I figured I should make them something special.

I was scrolling through Facebook and found a video for creating marbled Easter eggs. Intrigued to see if it works, I decided to try it out. The worst that could happen was I would loose $4 in eggs and Cool Whip. I’m delighted to report that this does indeed work!

Supplies are simple- vinegar to soak eggs in, one to two tubs of Cool Whip, defrosted, hard boiled eggs, and food dye. You’ll also need a toothpick to marble the food dye.

Before everything starts, soak the eggs in vinegar for about two minutes. As the eggs were soaking, I spread Cool Whip in a small metal roasting pan (I only did a dozen eggs). I put drops of food dye in various colors all in random pattern throughout the Cool Whip and then used a toothipick to distribute the food dye throughout.


I was holding a baby while trying to photograph this… forgive me 🙂

Then comes the best part, at least according to my David. I did this step outside on the patio table, and I recommend not doing this alone if your child is three and extremely active. I gave David eggs, and he rolled them around in the Cool Whip mixture.

Be forewarned- it’s going to look a little messy and you’re going to wonder if the eggs will turn out. Your toddler’s hands are going to be dyed. My son wanted to bang the eggs into the dish, so they got a little smashed. I say, it adds character to the eggs. No biggie.

Let the eggs sit for ten to fifteen minutes in the Cool Whip concoction. The Cool Whip acts as a medium to let the dye sit on the eggs, much like you would soak the eggs in the dye in cups.

When the time is up, rinse in cool water and set to dry on a drying rack.


I’m wearing black to hide any stains. Pro tip. 

Your finished product will look something like this:


Let me know in the comments if you try this yourself! Does your family dye eggs, or do you prefer the plastic treat filled variety?



Our Sweet Caroline’s Sweet Room

It’s definitely different for the second child. It was really hard to get Caroline’s room ready for her- I was working full time at the time, at least 45 hours a week, my grandmother was ill (terminally, but we didn’t realize it), and my pregnancy had some complications that made life harder. In fact, I was so stressed I went off work early and ended up delivering at 36.5 weeks- so her room was DEFINITELY not finished.

Somehow, though, I managed to finish Caroline’s room by the time she was three months old.. a herculean feat, if I do say so. I honestly couldn’t tell you how it was finished in my postpartum haze. My grandmother had passed only two weeks after she was born, so there was a lot going on that made it even more difficult than the challenge of adding a new baby to the family. It was really, reallly important to me that she was as celebrated and cherished and made over as her older brother, and I wanted her to have her own special, beautiful space- even though I know she won’t remember it.

It feels a little anti-climatic to post this as she approaches almost one year old (!!!!), but it will be nice to have it saved for posterity. And it’s such a sweet room and I love it so much…


11 months old. Stop. It.


We had the room painted with the grey vertical stripes for David (because this room was his and we moved him out when she was born), and I just loved them so much I kept them. The curtains are from //“>Amazon, and the dressers were amazing Craigslist finds by my husband. The laundry basket is a very handy size, and I’ve found the handles to be extremely convenient. I couldn’t find the same one, so I linked to a similar.


Our bookcase was a hand-me-down (the best kind!), and as you can tell, we REALLY love children’s books around here. Like, a lot. The sign is from Smallwoods (but is no longer available :(, but they do have some great nursery options.) I found this banner on Etsy and intended it for her first birthday, but I loved it so much I made it a permanent part of her bedroom decor.


This is the part of the room I spend the most time in, by far and away. I love this glider because it has a high back, so I can fall asleep comfortably in the middle of the night (which happens more frequently than I’d like to admit.) This crib quilt came from Pottery Barn Kids Emily & Merritt collection.  I’m obsessed with it, I love the graphic black and white.


Finally, her sweet crib. Modern Burlap sheets and swaddles are the best (seriously, love them!). I get compliments on her swaddle blankets all the time, plus, it’s a mom run company which is always fulfilling to support. The crib is also Pottery Barn . It’s the exact same one David had, and it converts to a toddler bed with a conversion kit.  I bought the streamers for her Sip and See, and thought it would just be a nice touch of color for the wall above her crib. The mobile is super special to me… my aunt Marianne gave it to me for my son at his baby shower. She passed only a few months after David was born, so it’s a way to keep her watching over my sweet babies while they sleep.

I simply love this room, and I hope she sees pictures and loves it when she’s older, too.

The Devaurs’ Do Disneyland

I’m not a Disneyland fanatic, but it is definitely my favorite theme park. It’s the only one I’ve visited multiple times, and the only one that makes me smile when I think of it. It’s also a little bittersweet to me- my father always swore he would take my brother and I to the park, but never did… but because he wanted to do it, no one else could. Therefore, I didn’t get to experience the magic of Disneyland until I was 11.

Needless to say, it was and is very, very important to me that my own children get to go to Disneyland when they are small enough to really fall in love with the characters and to fall under the Disneyland spell.

However, and this is a big however, I was scared to go to the park with my small children. My children are on a pretty strict schedule and theme parks aren’t really conducive to nap times. Nevertheless, as David’s third birthday approached and the realization that we’ll have to pay over $100 for him to get into the park after he hits the that third birthday, it hit me, now or never. My frugality won out.

So… we did it. IMG_20180311_222810_129


I don’t think I was fully prepared for what to bring or expect, but I did learn a few lessons and have a few tips that I think might help other families planning their own trip.

Firstly, we only did one day, and yes, that’s a luxury of living only a few hours away from the park. Some people might say that’s not long enough, but for my almost 3 year old and 10 month old, one day was plenty. It’s been three days since we got home, and they’re still recovering! We arrived on Saturday evening, went to the park all day on Sunday, and left Anaheim Monday morning.  Obviously a weekday would have been less crowded, but the park was pretty empty when it opened, and it was drizzly, which kept some people away. (We didn’t mind the rain at all.)



I’m really glad we brought our stroller, but regret not having a double stroller. David wanted to ride in the stroller all day, and between Caroline’s napping and need to be out of the Ergobaby carrier (which was another good call), he didn’t get enough rest time from walking. He ended up on Jensen’s shoulders a lot, which David didn’t mind, but Jensen’s shoulders did. The stroller carried our snack bag, which was a good call- I could keep the kids fueled up and didn’t need to buy a lot of extra food besides meals.

If you have the money in your trip budget, I cannot recommend Breakfast in the Plaza with Minnie and Friends enough. The meal was delicious and both kids really loved meeting Chip and Dale, Minnie, and Tigger. It was also a nice way to start the day- low key and a filling meal.


Even Caroline loved Breakfast with Minnie and Friends. 

Disneyland offers a baby center for moms and babies, and I loved this resource. I wish there were more around the park, honestly. It was a quiet place to nurse Caroline, and she’s pretty easily distracted now, so I appreciated that she wasn’t constantly flopping over to see all the goings-on. It also offered a really nice changing table, and even potties for little kids. I imagine it would be great for babies in the summer, as well, because it would be air conditioned.


Napping hard in the stroller. 

David liked most of the rides, especially the train and Pirates of the Caribbean. Caroline loved the carousel and It’s A Small World. Word to the wise- don’t take your toddler on the Haunted Mansion. It was a pretty rough start for David, and we got a lot of dirty looks when he was yelling “I gotta get out of here!!!” (Again, it ended well, but getting started was always the hardest part of each ride for him.) He also loved the tea cups, and now says he loved the Tiki Room. (I think the Dole Whips helped, just saying.)


He loved the train best of all. 


On It’s a Small World. Do you detect a theme?


In the Tiki Room. David now won’t stop singing the Tiki Room song, but at the time, he was not feeling it. Caroline loved it, naturally


I love this girl. Such a trooper through such a long day. PS- the rose gold Minnie ears are SO basic and I SO love them anyway. 

I think my most important lesson here was to just go with the flow. My kids’ schedules are still off, but I really forced myself to be in the moment and not worry about the clock. They’ll get back to normal, eventually, and watching my children laugh and smile nearly all day <<only a few meltdowns on David’s part, yesssss>> is something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Sometimes, you just have to go all day to get the most out of a short period of time. They’re not little forever, so I had to force myself to embrace it. I’m so glad I did.  I couldn’t help but tear up a few times throughout the day, it means that much to me to be able to give my children the experiences I never had myself.


End of the night- ears on, saggy pants, tired boy

Our messy corners

I think EVERYONE has that one spot in their house that they struggle to keep organized. Ours is our built in china cabinet. It’s the place we dump our keys, purses, wallets, mail, magazines, packages, and any odds and ends that haven’t found a place yet. (Any other believers in “a place for everything and everything in it’s place?”) Here’s our messy corner:

I got sick of looking at the mess, so I decided to tackle the project, and in just a few steps, I was able to make it look presentable. I realized that our bar would make a great mail management station, and would ease the eyesore of seeing this  massive mess the moment you walk into our home. The bar is right by the dining table and both entry ways, but its much smaller, making it more difficult to “pile file” on it.

 First- back to that rule of a “place for everything-“ I put the books where they belonged and the Etsy package in my daughter’s room. I also busted out the paper shredder, and destroyed anything that had personal information. If you deal with junk mail right away, it can’t multiply and overwhelm you quite so quickly. I’ve found that if the shredder is in an easy to access spot, you can manage the mail much more easily. I put mine in an out of the way spot behind our dining table so it’s not quite so noticeable.


Continuing with the thread of managing household papers, I found this really neat monitor stand that I’m using to hold important papers in for storage until I can put them into our filing cabinet, or keep them there for easy access if I need them sooner than later.


I’m a magazine addict- I subscribe to at least 10- so I always have something in my to be read pile. I found this clean lined, simple magazine holder where I can corral all my publications. I also get a fair number of catalogs (Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, and Boden come to mind) that I like to peruse for inspiration when I get a spare moment.


I added a few personal touches, like this sweet painting from L’Isle sur la Sorgue that my aunt picked up when we traveled together there when I was a little girl, a cool vintage frame, and a snap I took during our babymoon in Cabo San Lucas in 2014. I also placed an orchid because plants make me happy.



My built in cabinet now looks like this <big smile>:


This little clean up took less than  $30 and an hour. Never underestimate how much you can accomplish in little pockets of time! What little projects have you worked on that took a little bit of effort but gave you a whole lotta payout?