Sponsored: DIY Elastic Banded Receiving Blanket

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This post is sponsored by Lily Jade. Their bags are fabulously fashionable and oh-so-amazingly practical. With their one-of-a-kind inserts, there’s a pocket for every on-the-go-essential and they’re a breeze to launder.

The top-notch leather construction will have you looking polished while still being prepared for just about every baby contingency!

Connect with Lily Jade on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

I feel like we’ve been out of the little baby phase for so long, I’ve had to re-learn how to pack a bag to leave the house!

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Spare outfit, food, snacks, toys diapers, wipes. And now it’s like I have to pack for two babies. Felix will be in diapers for the next foreseeable future, so double the wipes and diapers.

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With winter in full-swing around our house, I’m finding that I need to pack extra warm goodies. There have been a couple of times that we’ve left the house to find that Penelope and/or Felix underdressed for the weather. In one case we had an extra blanket in the car for Penelope. The other, I gave her my extra layers. There’s nothing I won’t do for my kids. I’m a-okay with shivering if I know my kids are toasty warm. But it’s not ideal with how windy and cold it’s been.

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This gave me an idea. Instead of packing multiple outfits (one for each kid), I’ll just pack a onesie and an extra blanket. ‘ve made a blanket that rolls into itself quite small, but it’s large enough to wrap a nearly-7-year-old that’s crazy enough to forget a coat before leaving the house.

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I made this blanket with flannel on one side and a soft vintage shirting on the other. The shirting has a fairly tight weave and the flannel is warm. The two together cut out quite a bit of wind, providing for a surprisingly warm layer that isn’t ridiculously bulky.

And with the added elastic, it doesn’t unravel in my purse. It stays small.

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The size of the blanket makes it perfect for a tight swaddle. I can wrap her twice so her arms and legs can’t get out. On Friday, we went to see lights at a local shipping center. I wore her in a wrap, but to keep her extra warm (since I couldn’t zip up my jacket at that point), I wrapped the blanket around her and me, tying it in the back. She kept toasty warm during the below-freezing temperatures.

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I have to say, using this purse has been amazing. It’s got something like 20+ pockets in various sizes so everything has a space and it doesn’t get jostled around. I keep thinking, this would also double for the perfect weekender bag.

The leather is incredible, the interior insert is washable! My purses’ interiors tend to get so hashed, it’s great to be able to take it out and clean it up. The multiple handles provide great variety so I can sling it cross my body or just on a shoulder.

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So back to the blanket. It’s ridiculously easy to make, just requires a few simple things. Let’s get started, shall we?

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SUPPLIES

  • 1.5 yards of top fabric
  • 1.5 yards of back fabric
  • 15 inches of elastic (1 inch wide)
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • seam ripper
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • matching thread

Click through for the full instructions!

(more…)

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Recipe: Mango Sticky Rice

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This stuff is so good. And takes little time and effort to make. I’m all about easy recipes these days since often I’m cooking one-handed (holding a baby has improved my juggling skills tremendously).

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Not long ago, Chris bought us a rice cooker. It’s one of those unitaskers that I wasn’t particularly jazzed about. Rice? Come on, it’s hardly the show-stopper for any meal. Ice cream and popcorn makers are far more glamorous. But it dawned on me that I could use this to quickly cook rice to use in soups, stir fry, and to make pudding. Ooo, I love my puddings!

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Mango sticky rice, even for non-mango lovers, is a real treat. The subtle coconut flavor melds with the rich sweetness of the mango. Top it with smooth unsweetened cream, mint and a little lemon juice and you have yourself an opera of flavors. You know, because it sings all vibrato, fancy-like in your mouth and has a taste range of several octaves. Yum!

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I didn’t have any fresh mango on-hand, so I used frozen chunks and diced them smaller for the presentation. As tedious as it is to chop cubes into smaller cubes, the texture was much better with the smaller chunks.

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Rice Cooker Mango Sticky Rice

Makes about 6 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups Calrose Rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar (regular sugar is great, but this adds a more complex flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half
  • unsweetened whipped cream
  • lemon juice (a fresh lemon would be ideal)
  • mint
  • diced mango

 

Rinse the rice and put in the rice cooker with the water.

In a saucepan, heat coconut milk, sugar and salt until incorporated.

When the rice is about 10 minutes away from being done, open the cooker and add the coconut milk mixture. Close to cook. The rice will absorb all of the liquid. Just before it’s done, add about a 1/2 cup of milk or half and half. Stir to incorporate.

Serve warm with diced mangos, unsweetened whipped cream, mint chiffonade and lemon juice (lemon zest optional).

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

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Enjoy!

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    Printable: 2014 Thank You Cards

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    2013 Thank You Printable2012 Thank You PrintableFloral Thank You Printable2011 Thank You PrintableDino Party SuiteStyled. Party Suite2010 Thank You Printable • 2009 Thank You Printable

    It’s that time of year again! Here’s another ‘Thank You’ card printable. I had a lot of fun with this one. I love the idea of making a wheat-inspired bouquet. Kind of reminds me of the fall harvest. Very indicative of the time of year around here.

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    I’ve been making lots of ‘Thank You’ cards for family and friends lately (so many things to thank them for!), so I thought I would make a printable that was in-line with the off-hand flourishes that I’ve been making lately.

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    The printable is a simple double-sided post card design that could be sent as a post card, or printed single-sided and used with an envelope for more formal sentiments.

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    I kept the design simple with just black and white line work. Embellish with sparkly pens, colored pencil, markers and more! Print out a bunch and let kids color and decorate at the Thanksgiving table! A great Thanksgiving-themed activity, if you ask me.

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    Click the button below to download.

     

    *This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!
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    1. […] Printable: 2014 Thank You Cards – 1 freebie(s)? […]

    2. […] PRINTABLE: 2014 THANK YOU CARDS by Melissa Esplin […]

    Halloween Part II: Pic-Or-Treat

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    We bought a photobooth. It’s possibly one of the more exciting things we’ve purchased to date. More details forthcoming.

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    So to test out the booth, I decided that we would open our home to the neighborhood trick-or-treaters to something a little different: Pic-Or-Treat. I have every intention to make this an annual thing at our house. Kids could choose a treat or a pic. We had lots of fun seeing all the costumes and getting the parents involved in the whole thing.

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    Please ignore the fact that I wrote the ‘A’ backwards!

    My favorite part: knowing that I could give our neighborhood parents something priceless: great photos of them with their kids on Halloween. It’s not often that I get to get in on a photo with my kids. And I have all sorts of photo equipment set up that would allow me to do so! Being able to give kids (especially those with food allergies) and their parents something to cherish was such a thrill. It was a great success, too! The little kids loved it. The teens? Oh!! The teens LOVED it.  

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    As far as the nuts and bolts of it went, I set up a backdrop with a black sheet, then taped sliver and black fringe in front. I also lettered out some little signs and props for those without costumes to use in the photos as well. The whole thing came together rather quickly and made a huge impact on those who came to our door.

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    Felix isn’t one to get in on the photo thing much, but he was so enthusiastic about getting in on the fun. Even though we didn’t end up taking him trick-0r-treating, he had a lot of fun entertaining all the kids that came through the door. He also had his fair share of fun eating tasty treats (as you can see from the above photo).

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    If you’re looking to rent a photobooth like this for a future event, feel free to get in touch!

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    Halloween Recap Part 1: Black Widow Penelope

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    Several months ago I found a gigantic black widow spider in the garden. Since then, Penelope’s been obsessed with them. In a I’m-afraid-of-going-to-my-room-alone-because-I-might-get-bit kind of obsessed. When talking to her about Halloween costumes, she asked what was the scariest thing she could be. I returned the answer by asking her. She quickly responded, “A black widow spider!”

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    I can’t remember where I put her costume schematics, but she was the one who planned this whole thing out. I just executed. The girl is so creative! I can’t get over it. In a way, I can’t wait for her ideas next year.

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    Executing was simple. I bought an over-sized tee, appliquéd with a red hour glass, cut up the sides and inserted the stuffed legs.

    If I had been smart, I would have bought a hoodie instead of a tee, so I added a hood to the tee and stuck on some googly eyes. Done.

    Felix’s costume was far easier. I bought it from a neighbor. But it turns out that his head was too big to really fit it over his head. We got some cute Halloween photos of him, but not in costume. Next year I may be more on my game. I’m hoping that will be the case anyway.

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    In all, the costume took about an hour to complete. It was a win-win. She got exactly what she wanted and I didn’t have to kill myself to do it!

    I also love that we now have another gender-neutral costume that can go down the line to Felix and maybe some day Juniper as they get older. I’m a huge advocate of hand-me-downs!

    What did you do for Halloween costumes this year?

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