Dress Preservation with Foster-Stephens

Four years ago, I bought Isla the most beautiful blessing dress. After her blessing day was over though, I had a beautiful dress and no idea what to do with it. I wanted to be sure that it would be taken care of though and I hoped to someday give it to her, either to use as a keepsake or use for her own daughters. I started calling around about having her dress preserved. I called dry cleaners, wedding dress stores, and looked online at preservation companies. No where could I find someone that would do it for less the $200. As a couple in medical school with a new baby, $200 seemed astronomical to us. I didn't want to give up on the idea of preserving this beautiful dress and the memories that went with it though. After more searching, I found Foster-Stephens! Foster-Stephens is a family owned company that carries preservation kits for all types of occasions from baby, to graduations, to weddings. They have so many options and they are so affordable! I was able to preserve Isla's dress, including getting it properly dry cleaned at my local cleaners, for less than $50!
I personally chose to use hanging preservation bags for Isla, Hudson, and Nora's blessing outfits. Foster-Stephens also carries boxes but with how much we move, I'm always worried about boxes getting crunched so for us, hanging bags are the way to go! The kits they provide come with everything you need to ensure that your item is well preserved, they include the tissue paper and even gloves to help keep your garment free from oils that can damage it over time. The muslin bags also come inside of another muslin bag that is great because I use that for the beautiful blessing blankets that my mother-in-law has made for each child. 
I reached out to Foster-Stephens to sponsor this post because I truly love what they do and what they represent as a company. They are a family working together to help our families preserve memories that can last forever. My grandmother recently gave Isla and Nora a kimono that was given to her by her father when her returned home from Japan during WWII. It is over 70 years old and very delicate, I feel so honored that my grandmother has entrusted me to care and preserve it for future generations and I hope it will last at least 70 more years! 
Now through the end of May, Foster-Stephens is offering 20% off any product with the code: beautifulyou. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to care for and preserve the items that mean so much to you! For more information visit Foster-Stephens.com. I have also included their instructional video for storing dresses below, this is for a wedding dress but the same idea applies to all garments. It is so simple, every one can and should do it!

Super Simple Spring Wreath

Since it is officially spring, we spent the first day of spring making an adorable wreath for the playroom door. It was so easy and fun! Now all I need to do is make mine for our front door! Here is what you need:

Plain grape vine wreath
Artificial flowers (Isla picked out a variety of daisy bouquets from Michael's that were perfect and inexpensive!)
Hot glue
Ribbon to hang

Step 1:
Cut the flowers from the stem leaving about 1 inch of stem on each flower

Step 2:
Put a little hot glue on the stem of flower.

Step 3:
Stick the stem into your wreath

Repeat until the whole thing is covered!

It really can't get much easier than that! As always, be careful when using hot glue with children.


Tuesday Tip: Starting Your Garden

Planting your own seeds is a great way to get your garden started early and without having to spend quite as much as you would on potted plants. Last year I was able to take a small gardening class at our local nursery and I'm so excited to implement all that I learned on our own garden this year! Here are some easy tips to help you start planting your own seeds!
-Most seeds are best planted 4-6 weeks before you are ready to transfer them outside!
-Use biodegradable pots, peet pots, or similar containers that you do not actually have to remove the plant from when you transfer them into the ground. This makes transferring so much easier and usually more successful since you won't accidentally break off roots on small plants and ruin their root system. Did you know you can even save things such as toilet paper tubes to plant in?! It is a great way to recycle and they are the perfect size for planting seeds!
-Always use a seed start soil. Seed start soil is sterilized so that your plants are less likely to develop fungus and disease that can happen if you plant them directly in the ground.
-Covering your plants or keeping them in a clear container help create a greenhouse effect which will make it so you don't have to water as often and I feel like helps them grow quicker too!
-Last, be sure to thin your plants as directed so that you have them best chances of a strong plant for your garden.
Wishing you good luck and a green thumb this planting season!

Tuesday Tip: Laundry

I was recently asked to start including my "Tuesday Tips" on my blog since they are gone after 24 hours on instagram. So I thought I would go back to my very first one and catch up from there!

I hate laundry with a passion, the only thing I dislike doing more is the dishes. So to finally get a system that works for me I implemented one easy thing that has changed my whole laundry game, and the best part is it is super simple and saves me so much time.

I only do one load of laundry each day. This is my schedule:

Monday- Socks/Underwear
Tuesday- Darks
Wednesday- Lights
Friday- Sheets, anything I really need washed, or hand wash items.

The biggest thing that has helped me buying a laundry sorter. Now all of our laundry is already separated, so first thing in the morning I throw in a load of laundry. Then after breakfast and morning tasks, I put the load in the dryer. Since our laundry is right across from our kids bath, I usually fold while they bathe since that way they can't undo all of my folding! This system has really worked for me and has made laundry so much more bearable! Hopefully it helps you as well!

Spring is Coming!

James has spent so much time designing and building me the most beautiful terraced garden boxes for our giant slope of a backyard so now it is time for me to start planting! This week we planted our seed starts.  We had so much fun planting (and playing with dirt) and we read two great books to go with our planting. Isla has been dying to plant a "butterfly garden" full of beautiful flowers so we read Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert and The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Both of these books are so colorful and a great way to learn a little more about plants and seeds!
Planting seeds covers so many areas of learning in such a fun way! Along with reading, we covered science by talking about seeds and how they grow. We also worked on math while counting seeds and figuring out simple math problems such as "We want two zucchini plants and they each need 3 seeds. How many seeds do we need?" The kids loved planting their seeds and I am so excited to see how much they learn as they grow these next few weeks.

Tuesday Tip: Mess Free Activities

I have been trying to reduce the amount of screen time in our home and I have finally found somethings that work for us! I have found multiple (relatively) mess free activities that kids love! I keep all of these activities in our kitchen in a cupboard that is easy for my kids to get out a put away themselves. Yes, my kids have a playroom full of toys but sometimes they would rather be right next to me in the kitchen. They also love doing creative activities and art projects. This way, they can play near by while I make dinner or clean up without being glued to the TV.  These are some of our favorite things we keep in our art/activity cupboard.
Kinetic Sand- My kids could play with this all day, everyday. Hudson literally wakes up and either says "downstairs go eat" or "play sand more." He LOVES it! It's great because it is real sand without the mess. It sticks together, it flows, it's moldable, it's weird, it's awesome! Definitely one of our favorites.
Reusable sticker books- These are so much fun! Each page has a different scene that you can add stickers to. Isla loves to make different princess scenes and then create a story for each page. This is a great way to get creative!
Aquadoodle- Fill the pen with water and then draw as long as you'd like! As the pad dries the picture fades so they can start all over again. This will entertain my kids for at least an hour at a time.
Playdo- Of course you cannot go wrong with good old fashion playdo. Whether you buy it or make it yourself, this is so easy for kids to play with forever! I just get out a few different cookie cutters each time and they will both sit a play with this for a long time. Plus it's inexpensive and easy to clean up!
*None of these products are "sponsored." All of them were actually given to my kids as gifts at one point or another from family and we have just loved them so I'm sharing my actual real life opinion with you!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Scavenger Hunt and Art Activity

Isla and Hudson are always up for exploring and adventure. We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury is such a fun adventure book and we love reading it over and over. Our edition also came with a bear that we love to hide and play the "Hot/Cold" game with. Another fun activity that we have done multiple times with this book is have a "Bear Hunt" party. We love to invite friends to read the story, make binoculars and then go on a fun "bear hunt". With the "bear hunt" we've hidden teddy grahams, gummy bears, and a teddy bear and it has been so much fun every time! I've included a file for some paw prints that you can print out on colored paper and write "clues" on. You can be as simple or as extravagant as you want with your clues depending on the age group you're having your party with. Some examples are: "Somewhere we eat" (table), "Where we sit to relax" (couch), "Some place that can be hot, but right now it is not" (oven), "Something that gives us shade" (tree), "Where we put envelopes" (mailbox), etc. As you can see this is a great indoor or outdoor activity! You can download and print the bear paws HERE.

For the binoculars, all you need is 2 pieces of cardboard tubing from either toilet paper or a paper towel roll cut in half, tape (I like to use washi tape because it holds them together and decorates them), any art supplies you want to decorate with, and string if you would like them to be able to put them over their head. Just have the kids decorate their tubes as much as they'd like, tape them together and then attatch a string! Such a fun, quick, and easy activity that adds a little more adventure and imagination to the bear hunt. I hope you enjoy this activity as much as we do!