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Hey friends! We’re getting a simple stamped concrete patio this week! We’ve lived here more than four years and we’re really excited to have a small space to eat dinner outside this summer. We spend our weekends outside All DAY EVERY DAY.

Nautical patio inspiration. Navy blue striped and white patio plan

Table and bench | Navy striped director’s chairs | White and wood arm chairs | Navy striped umbrella | Table runners | White planters | Fire Table | White and wood lounge chairs | Outdoor throw pillows | Wicker side table | Cafe string lights (these ones are solar!)

We’d love to be able to entertain friends or have an impromptu dinner with neighbors without having to whip out a folding table from inside the garage and eat on the driveway. We currently keep our grill on a tiny sidewalk between the driveway and garage door. Not good! We also don’t currently have a door going directly to the patio, so we’ll be adding that at some point too. Baby steps though, right?

After spending the money on the actual patio (even though it’s tiny, it’s still not cheap), we won’t be furnishing the patio this well for a while, but I always like having a general plan so I can slowly work towards our goals.

With that said, maybe you are hoping to furnish your own patio this summer. The items from World Market are on sale in a big way and you can use coupon code WM20150 for an additional 20% off plus free shipping and no furniture surcharge today. The awesome cafe string lights are solar (which I just love) but are sold out online. You can still use the coupon and arrange for store pick-up. Read More »


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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.#SnackPackNaturals #CollectiveBias

Easy summer pudding parfait bar We have a fun social neighborhood. When I buy snacks for my kids, I always buy enough for all of the neighbors too. It makes life so fun!

Easy summer pudding parfait bar

And I love finding easy ways to get neighbors together. Making snack time feel magical for our kiddos is something I really enjoy.

Easy summer pudding parfait bar

We spend a lot of time with our next door neighbors so having fun easy snacks for multiple kids on hand is such a great thing. Both of us provide for each other’s children and a few other nearby kiddos. It make Spring and Summer weekends so lovely!

Easy summer pudding parfait bar

Today I’m sharing my super easy porch pudding bar that you could whip together anytime for impromptu summer fun and invite the neighbors over. Read More »


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A fun and budget friendly wedding dessert table

My cousin turns 31 in six hours. It feels like a great time to share a few photos from her wedding in celebration of a beautiful woman who is a big part of my life. Alyssa and Trent got married on New Year’s Eve in a very intimate and lovely wedding followed by a fabulous reception at our family bar in our hometown. It was an amazing night for all. Seriously. I miss it and would take it back in a heartbeat to get time with my family.

All photos are by Matt of Camelot Photography. I’m excited to share some of them with you today along with some tips for creating a budget-friendly wedding with character.

A fun and budget friendly wedding dessert table

My cousin is someone I’m extremely close with and have been FOREVER. I was thrilled when she asked for some help pulling together the decor for the wedding.

She held her wedding at our church in our hometown and the reception was at my aunt and uncle’s bar, Patrick’s Pub and Grill in Benson, MN. The bar, while super nice and filled with character, is not a wedding venue, so we had to find ways to make it look like a wedding while still playing off of the bar’s character. This included loads of white linens, white napkins, white chair covers and cafe lights strung across the ceiling. It ended up feeling just perfect!

A fun and budget friendly wedding dessert table

Of course, for me, creating a beautiful, tasty and budget-friendly dessert table was key. I knew a wedding cake was not going to be in my cousin’s preferred budget, but I’ve hosted enough large parties to know that people love variety. When my cousin asked me to help, I proposed a simple yet stunning dessert table filled with affordable desserts and using two large rose gold sequin table cloths to create a backdrop and floor length table cover. She was game!

A fun and budget friendly wedding dessert table

Two simple white cakes from Lunds and Byerly’s here in Minnesota plus a Norwegian Wedding Cake were the center of the table. We used a custom cake topper from Shop Bracket and my cousin Alyssa purchased the fun Sparkly little pom toppers to add interest to the other cake.

A fun and budget friendly wedding dessert table

Chocolate chip cookies, Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s (I’ve talked about these and other chic yet inexpensive options many times before), bars and peanut butter cookies all made an appearance and were crowd-pleasers. Both my cousin and I were super happy with how it all turned out. We used cake stands I already owned to keep it really inexpensive and it still looked incredibly chic. Read More »


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This blog has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyLittleRemedies #CollectiveBias

How to put together a health basket for our nursery

Our younger son, who is 22 months old, has had loads of ear infections and has been ill often in his nearly two years of life. Thanks to one phenomenal asthma and allergy doc plus her helpful recommendations, we have his health a bit more regulated and we are all happier, healthier and better rested. As a part of our effort to help him be as healthy as possible, we have added probiotics and other supplements our physician has suggested.Creating a health basket for the nursery

Can I share a bit with you about health stuff? We’ve had a stomach bug three times in the last year. Our kids rarely go more than two weeks between colds, especially our younger guy. Our younger child has food allergies and ear infections. Thankfully, the ear infections have been reduced dramatically since getting tubes. Our pediatrician says this is super normal for two kids that are in childcare, but it’s been a little rough. We feel like we’re finally getting a handle on it.

Jessica's nursery for baby boy two (5 of 7)

Before he turns into a full-blown boy as opposed to toddler, I thought I’d show you some of how we keep his nursery organized for life and those rough nights that we encounter with his minor health issues.

Creating a health basket for the nurseryWe’ve always had a health basket in his room and ours for emergencies and daily needs—pain reliever/fever reducer, gripe water, gas drops, thermometer and other basics like nail clippers. We keep them high up so he can’t reach but we have easy accessibility in the middle of the night or right before bed if needed. Read More »


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Leaning in to peace, calm and pleasure

I’m a fast-paced person. I get things done. I have lists and keep things moving in my work, my home, my life. Sometimes I move so fast that it’s to a fault. I’ve been working on making time for peace and slowing down in my life lately, but it’s hard for me. If there are things to do, I feel that I should be doing them.

Someone I trust and respect (and who I consider to be somewhat of an expert at self-care) recently said simply “Lean in to the peaceful, pleasurable and calm moments you already have.” She continued to say “Enjoy that deep breath in the kitchen for just one extra minute, sip a hot cup of tea slowly before bed or wake up a few minutes early in the morning so you can sip that hot cup of coffee quietly, light your favorite candle, snuggle your sleeping or sleepy kids just a little bit longer, meditate, pray, stretch even if it’s just for a minute or two… whatever it is that is already a part of your life, lean in to those things.”

This is a simple sentiment, but one I paid close attention to this past week. The simple act of noticing those moments has helped me to feel more calm. Awareness is everything, isn’t it?

Trying to squeeze in new activities to calm my mind or slow down is not easy. The idea of taking just a little more time for the things that I already have really resonates with me in this active, fun, busy, sometimes hectic season of my life.

How do you find calm? How do you make time for peace and relaxation? What do you think of this simple, yet potentially powerful concept?


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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MMSFlavorVote #CollectiveBias #Walmart

Easy Summer party Popcorn Station

I used to spend so much energy creating huge elaborate parties and party displays, but over the past year or two, I’ve found joy and fun in simplicity. Sometimes, a simple food station can be the only “wow” factor you need for a fun little event. I’m excited to share a really easy summer inspired popcorn station that you could put together today. The best part? The popcorn bar includes amazing new candy as the toppings: M&M’s® Chili Nut, M&M’s® Honey Nut and M&M’s® Coffee Nut.

Easy Summer party Popcorn Station

The three new M&M’s® peanut varieties were super inspiring. The flavors are all really fun and taste amazing with simple salted popcorn.

Easy Summer party Popcorn Station Read More »


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Budget friendly Spring and Summer fashion, clothing and shoes for little boys. Much more on livethefancylife.com.

It’s that time of the year. It’s time to shop for our growing boys for Spring and Summer! Both of my boys are tall and growing out of their clothes quickly. And unfortunately, Ezra isn’t fitting into Bodhi’s clothes or shoes for each season. Everything is big. This means I’m on the hunt for practical, affordable and adorable clothing for these little guys! Today I’m sharing little boy swimwear, little boy casual looks and little boy just plain adorable looks plus the items I’m actually buying off each board. I spent lots of time scouring the web for the cutest items for boys, so I hope this helps you out a bit. Be sure to use the coupon codes at the bottom of the post for extra savings. :)

Budget friendly Spring and Summer fashion, clothing and shoes for little boys. Much more on livethefancylife.com.

Hooded striped popover shirt | Anchor cap | Sunglasses | Blue faded hoodie | Pink surf shirt
Marled grey sweat shorts | Striped water shoes | White animal shirt | Denim clamdiggers | Aloha tank
Orange pull-on shorts | Mint striped shirt | Mint shorts | Patterned Native shoes

I’m loving everything related to surfing and Hawaii! I blame our trip this past October. :) This whimsical set is my favorite. I love the fun and playful patterns and colors.

My shopping list
1. Anchor cap 
They sold out of this in Ezra’s size, but they have it in Bodhi’s and it’s a steal after the coupon code.
2. Blue faded hoodie I grabbed this one for both boys. I always like them to have two or three hooded sweatshirts for each size they go through just to grab for chilly days or nights. This one is soft (I touched it in store) and the faded look makes it seem extra cool.
3. Pink surf shirt & Marled grey sweat shorts Comfy shorts, cute shirt. Simple summer outfit for the weekend.
4. Denim clamdiggers I just love this look with a pair of Native shoes. They work well with any T-shirt, tank top or even polo. Adorable! Be sure to use the coupon code on these. They are $19.99 originally which to me isn’t that great, but they are 25% off now.
5. Aloha tank & Orange pull-on shorts Mostly I just miss Hawaii and love this. But also, Ezra looks cute in orange, so…
6. Patterned Native shoes I almost always find Native shoes at Home Goods (shocking, I know, but I did the last two years) or on 6pm.com but haven’t seen either of my boys’ sizes yet this year. Boo. I will pay full price if I have to because Natives are the perfect every day summer shoe. They are like sandals, but the kids’ feet are protected for biking etc… These are stylish, work for running and can even serve as water shoes. Amazing! p.s. If your child wears a toddler size 4 and is walking, there are a few pairs of red and navy Natives on 6pm.com hereRead More »


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Coming out of the fog of sleepless nights

Slowly coming out of the fog of sleepless nights is interesting. It takes weeks for the body to get into the new routine and to feel truly rested. It is obvious that mental clarity is slowly improving. I’m coming out of a thick fog of very sleepless nights.

Life with a new baby is always an adjustment. This time, while much easier in almost every way, was a longer period of sleepless nights—nearly 22 months of exhaustion, re-reading all of the sleep books, begging our physicians for help, analyzing everything from pajama size and texture to what our baby ate, asking mama groups for advice, trying all of the sleep strategies we could stomach, fearing the nights, declining invitations, going out for only an hour if at all, saying “maybe” much too often and having to cancel for various reasons shortly before an event plus coffee, coffee and more coffee.

Coming out of the fog. Life after sleepless nights.

I said “no” to friends so many times that I’m no longer invited to most things with some groups. That adjustment period is hard and can be lonely, but is also such a beautiful time to let go and just be in the moment with your new baby. I found that I would go in a wave of acceptance followed by a wave of trying to solve things. Acceptance was definitely the better state to be in.

I’m coming out of the fog. Coming out of the fog means I’m feeling like my best self again, but I miss holding that sweet baby in the quiet hours of the night. It means facing changes in friendships, enjoying the depth and ease of new friendships that started during harder times and sometimes, simply letting go as you see that things are different now. Read More »


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Pink finds for spring

Ice cream phone case | Pink slip-on Converse | Pink clear jacket | Pink rushed halter swimwear | Studied blush wall art | Pink Hunter rain boots | Watermelon umbrella

I have often avoided color in the past, instead opting for black, white and greys for home decor and even my own wardrobe. In the past two years or so, I’ve been drawn to color in a new way and pink is my favorite color this season. I love little splashes of pink in art, in my wardrobe and in our other home decor.

I’m sharing a few pink things that have caught my eye recently. Perhaps a pop of color is in our future?! Enjoy! Read More »


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This blog has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweeterEaster #CollectiveBias
Easy Easter Egg Hunt
Our neighborhood hosts a large Easter Egg Hunt every year and it’s SO well done. The person who leads it even sews bags most years for the kids. She just goes above and beyond. So because we have that lovely day and we we’ll be attending it on Saturday (so I won’t be hosting), I decided to throw together a mini egg hunt just for fun. I love putting together cute ideas for holidays and wanted to share our simple Easter Egg Hunt with you as a little inspiration this week.
Easy Easter Egg Hunt
3 tips for an easy and cute Easter egg hunt
1. Use initials to mark bags or baskets for guests.
2. Fill eggs with small, less expensive items like M&M’s® Easter Tri Packs, character bandages, erasers, stretchy little toys, bouncy balls, glow bracelets and more. You can often find these things in bulk to save a few dollars.
3. Create or print a sign welcoming guests. I love this one we picked up, but there are free printabes (I love this one.) that are great as well!

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