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Simple Layered Valentines // DIY

Do you ever see beautiful cards and letters and mail on Pinterest or Instagram and scratch your head at how to create the same thing?!  I'm talking about pretty mail like this or this. . .
Gorgeous, but complicated, right?!

I have good news, friends!  You can easily replicate little paper creations that won't cost you a fortune or look like you picked them up at the dollar store.  And all this just in time for Valentines day!!  Here's my tips for creating simple, but beautiful Valentines and I promise it won't take you more than 10 minutes.

Happy creating!!
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 // Supplies //

blank 3x5 cards
red paper for hearts
washi tape
scraps of varied red, white or pink fabrics
stamp set and ink pad
various gift tags or colored scraps of paper
paper doilies 
bakers twine, string or ribbon
1// Layer washi tape on a blank card and write your message in the blank space

2// Cut several layers of varied fabrics.  I used white burlap and red cotton for these.

3// Stamp a simple message 'xo' or 'love' onto a small tag or colored paper and attach to bakers twine or string.

4// Cut red hearts from card stock or construction paper and attach to a small paper doily.  I used 'sticky-dos' from Hobby Lobby to created a raised heart but you could simply glue them together.

5// Layer fabrics on top of the card and the doily on top of the fabric.  Tie together with bakers twine and attach the mini tag.  
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Do you still send out paper valentines to your friends?!  

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Our Favorite Inside Toys For Winter

I have discovered that it is very challenging to get a newborn and a toddler bundled up and out the door when Old Man Winter is breathing down our chilly little necks.  Not impossible, just difficult.

Because of this, we have spent most of our days this January safe and cozied up inside.  This means I have to be extra intentional about taking time to engage with Emmett and keep him busy with lots of creative play.

I thought it would be fun to share a few of our favorite books and toys that are out all day in our house.  Hopefully you can discover a few new things to help you and your little ones finish out the winter strong!
Janod Story Box Circus //  Emmett's cousins gave this to him for Christmas and I cannot sing the praises of Janod's toys enough!!  The painted details, the little clowns, the tiny fire hoop for the tiger to jump through?!  We play circus at least once a day and I am already counting down the days until his birthday so we can give him some of the other sets they offer.

Janod Circus Train // This is the other Janod set that Emmett got for Christmas.  Again, I cannot tell you how much we adore the details and little pieces.  Let's be honest, I probably love it more than the boys ever will and I'm really okay with that.  Now excuse me while I go back to playing circus. . .

^^ i mean seriously . . . i can't even!! ^^

Melissa & Doug Wooden Tool Set // Emmett's obsession in life the last six months has been 'building stuff' and tools.  My mom actually bought this set for him long before he was really playing with toys but it gets used all the time now.  These and his mini real life tools that my dad and sister gave him for Christmas this year are always building something.

Melissa & Doug Vehicles Reusable Sticker Pad
 // My best friend gave this reusable sticker book to Emmett when we were visiting California last summer and for some reason, it's my go-to item when he's about to melt down during the day.  All I have to say is, Buddy, do you want to play with your truck stickers?? and suddenly all is right in the world again.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? // I actually bought this book for super cheap at a thrift store and we gave it to Emmett for Christmas.  Just in the last two weeks, it's become his favorite go-to book.  I love it because we get to practice colors and animals and watching him point them out is so adorable!!

Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks from A to Z
// Another current favorite of Emmett's.  Who doesn't love Banana Cars and Ice Cream trucks with spilled ice cream and a Zipper Car?!

Washable Watercolors // It's been so fun to see Emmett get excited about arts and crafts and this simple paint set is no exception.  In less than a month, we are almost completely through his tray of colors.  I think every little color tray is a murky gray from all the cross-paint-brushing, but hey! It's abstract art, you guys.

Bathtub Crayons
// You know that winter is getting long when you put your little guy in bathtub for a little water recreation in the middle of the day.  He just loves coloring all over the bathtub walls with these crayons and it's seriously adorable because he tries to wash it off when he's finish.  Such a tidy kid, this one!!

What toys and activities have kept you afloat this winter?!

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// this post includes affiliate links, though all opinions are my own. thanks for supporting the brands that support our family! // 


Spinach Turkey Burgers

My awesome parents just gifted Adam and I a gas grill for Christmas!  Before that, our meals were grill-less which made backyard dinners and burger season in general quite uneventful.  Oven-baked burgers have been my way of compensating and these healthy turkey burgers are definitely a favorite.

I love this recipe because they are such a healthy option for lean protein and it's an easy way of getting more greens in my diet.  They are easily seasoned to your personal taste with ingredients like Italian salad dressing or Oregano and Basil.  Also be sure to check out our favorite bread recipe here that is easily made into hamburger buns for a completely homemade plate of deliciousness!
Spinach Turkey Burgers
// makes approximately 12 small burgers // 

1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, finally chopped
2 c spinach, cooked until wilted and drained
1 egg
1 c oatmeal, ground in food processor to oat flour
1/2 t salt

Mix ingredients in a glass mixing bowl until completely combined.  Use large spoonfuls to created burger shaped patties.  Place in a parchment lined baking dish or large bar pan with sides.  Bake in 375 oven for 15 minutes.  Flip burgers and bake for another 5 or until done.

These are also super yummy when broken into pieces and used as salad topping.

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Last Thursday, I set up a last minute doctor's appointment because of a rapidly changing lump on my chest.  Before I knew it, I was scheduling a minor surgical procedure for later that afternoon to have -- what turned out to be -- a sebaceous cyst removed.  The doctor told me I will probably have a scar on my chest and there is a chance it could grow back.

I came home that night minus one cyst, plus one scar. . . courtesy of three big black stitches.  While I'm not the one to flash my chest to the entire world, therefore minimizing my need for a scar-less one, I'm not going to pretend I wasn't disappointed.  But Adam's about yet another flaw I will forever carry on my body?!

It will be a cute scar!  I will kiss it everyday. 

You guys.  This man!!  I am humbled and overwhelmed by the way I am unconditionally cherished and loved by him.  I can't think of one thing I could do that would make him cherish me less.  I can't loose these last few pounds of baby weight slow enough to make him less attracted to me.  I can't have enough emotional days to make him loose his desire to spend time together each evening.  He still looks at me like he did on our magical wedding day.  So much love.  So much adoration.

He humbles and teaches me with this quiet, constant love, because my personality is too quick to judge those around me.  Too quick to place value on the physical instead of strength of character.  Too quick to pull back when hurt and disappointed.  I had no idea how much I needed to grow in this area.  No idea that my own world would be rocked and changed by true unconditional love.

So I find hope in this new scar on my body.  Hope in a daily reminder to truly cherish the ones God has placed in my life.  Hope that someday I could learn to love in the deepest, truest way that I am each day by the sweet man I call my own.
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Who do you feel the most loved and cherished by?!

// wedding and engagement photos by the gehmans.  i definitely cherish these memories! // 

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