Easter Basket Stuffers

Happy first day of Spring!!! (although it definitely doesn't look or feel like it here in Ohio)  It is hard to believe we are less than two weeks away from Easter. I swear this year is determined to fly by faster than the last! Those of you that know me well know I love filling baskets with goodies for Samuel and even the hubby some years, as well as hiding eggs, and matching outfits!

Playing Easter bunny really is too much fun! I prefer to slowly pick things up as I see them vs getting everything in one trip. Target dollar spot is always great for the little fillers, but I love adding some larger items as well. I rounded up a few things for your little ones' baskets (some would work for older kids as well) I hope this inspires you to channel your inner bunny!


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| ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN | ELEVEN | TWELVE |

 
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| ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN | ELEVEN | TWELVE |

 

Like I said, these are more of the larger items that I would include, but some ideas for little fillers are- bubbles, color wonder markers, stickers, sidewalk chalk, hairbows, cars, or play-doh! I hope this post was helpful, and don't forget to share what you plan to put in your baskets this year. I'd love to hear from you! 

Choosing Joy

This topic has been at the forefront of my mind for quite awhile now because the word 'joy' holds an incredible amount of weight for me. After finding out at 18 weeks pregnant that our daughter Savannah had a fatal condition and wasn't expected to live after birth, this word kept surfacing in my heart. Joy is defined as "a feeling of great pleasure and happiness." I remember wondering, thinking, and even asking myself why at such an awful time was my mind so focused on that word and how was that even possible. As most of you know we ultimately chose Joy for Savannah's middle name and to this day I am still working on what it truly means to 'choose' that daily. While I agree with the definition above, this quote has hit home and is truly how I feel the word should be described. 


Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.
— Wess Stafford

Joy is a decision...

I want to sit here for awhile. While carrying Savannah, and even today as we continue to share parts of our journey, we are asked how we can maintain such a positive outlook and how we made it through that part of our story. I am always quick to say that the Lord carried us through those days. However, lately, I am realizing that while He still carries us it is also a choice that we've chosen to make. A decision that doesn't come naturally most days, but one that I know I will continue to choose. So, what does it look like to choose joy in the face of trials, struggles, or those dark days? 

For me, it is 3 things:
-Choosing to focus on the blessings (even if they are in disguise) 
-Choosing myself. Focusing on taking care of my heart (praying), my body (getting enough sleep and exercise), my mind (writing or doing something to help me relax)
-Choosing to not let outside circumstances, people, or worries impact my day (this is by far the hardest of them all)

I'm sure we've all heard the saying "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade"... but have you ever focused on that word 'make'? Life doesn't just give you the lemonade, you have to make it, which requires work and a choice

I know the weight of Savannah's loss is one that I will carry with me forever, however, I am confident in the fact that JOY will always be an equal part of that weight. There is a song by Rend Collective called "Joy of the Lord" and the lyrics exemplify so well what it looks like to make that choice every day... 

"The joy of the Lord is my strength
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing"

There is darkness and life is full of shadows, but we are given a choice of what we want to do in them. I know the struggle and I will never make light of it, but I am so thankful that at the end of the day it's not the circumstances that dictate my joy, it's my choice!

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So, do we want to choose to make that lemonade or focus on those lemons?

What I'm Loving Wednesday

WILW has become one of my favorite posts to write! I'm never at a loss to find 5 new things to share with you guys and it's so fun to hear back from you all after! I hope you enjoy today's 5!!! 

This app-
You guys! This stocard app has changed my life. Ok, maybe that's a little dramatic but still! It definitely has simplified it! I was one of those people with a ton of those store loyalty/rewards cards (because you know I love a good deal!) If you're like me you know they can take up a good amount of space in your wallet, well this app is the answer! It allows you to scan them all in and it will save them for you so you will just be able to use them on your phone at checkout. AH-MAZING! 

This nail polish organizer-
I'm a sucker for a good organizer and this one was exactly what I was hoping it would be. I used to just have all my nail polishes in a cosmetic bag and would have to dump them on the floor everytime I wanted to paint my nails. Now, this displays them so perfectly and its actually really pretty! Bonus- this is under $12 right now! 

 
 

This DIY tutorial from Nesting with Grace-
A fellow blogger shared this tutorial and it instantly surprised and inspired me! She uses remote control "hockey puck lights" in a sconce and it's the perfect solution to a problem I've been having! There are a few places in our house that are dark and are begging for a light, but with no power around I've been at a loss... until now! I'm thinking of doing this above the board and batten in our mudroom. What are your thoughts?

This Black and Decker vacuum-
I've had this vacuum for well over a year now and have to say it is one of the best gifts I have ever been given! All you Mamas know how messy little ones can be, especially a toddler who is working on his independence. So needless to say, this gets used almost every single day in our house! It comes with a charging base and we just keep ours plugged in on the laundry room counter. Super convenient and easy to use/wash! 

 
 

This cookie recipe- 
Everyone loves a good cookie recipe, right?! Let me tell you, this one does not disappoint! Oatmeal chocolate chip will always be one of my favorites and how chewy these turn out is just how I like them. I followed the recipe exactly, chilling the dough in the fridge for an hour before baking them. I also used dark chocolate chips in mine, YUM! They were even a hit with the toddler! 

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Happy Wednesday! Now, go get your bake on! :) 

Who Will Meet Us in the Pit?

As I sat down to write I honestly had no idea where my thoughts would take me, but after an almost month-long break from posting, I felt this strong urge to share more of my heart with you all. 

It's been almost 4 and a half years since we lost our daughter Savannah and although I grew up always hearing that "time heals all wounds" I can now say with confidence that that is not true, at least for myself on this side of Heaven. Jesus prepares us for this though in John 16:33 by saying "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." He also promises that there will be a day with no more pain and every tear will be wiped away. (Revelation 21:4) Oh, how that makes me long for Heaven!!! 

But, what do we do until then? When we are deep in the pit of grief and darkness overwhelms us? I was catching up with a sweet friend the other day on the phone and this topic came up and she said:

"I'll sit in the pit with you!"

I almost cried!!! What a concept, and also why hadn't I thought of that before? I found myself stuck on that thought for the following few days and ultimately realized that it is because of 2 things. One, we typically feel like we need to hide our grief or cover up the pain and two, not many people want to get down into the depths of our struggles with us. 

So often when I know someone struggling I'm quick to try and 'fix' the problem or offer advice. Never have I thought about climbing down into the pit that they are in and just sitting in that with them. As I'm writing I find myself wondering what that would even look like. I thought I would share some things that have been helpful in my grief journey and ways that people have 'climbed into the pit' with us along the way.

Be a listener- I thought about just writing the word 'listen' here, but I really believe there is a big difference in listening vs being a listener. Anyone can listen, but to being a listener requires your heart to be fully invested and open to hearing what is shared. This has made a huge difference in how I've processed my grief. Having people who would allow me to be transparent and feel raw emotions with them has been incredibly helpful.

Share the weight- By this I mean, carry some of their load. Grief is heavy and often feels as so, especially if you are traveling it alone. Offer to do some of the difficult things they are having a hard time with. The Lord calls us to "rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Be willing to mourn with them and bear the weight that comes from loss with them.

Learn their triggers- This is something that I feel isn't talked about enough outside of the loss community. And yet, I believe is vital information for those who truly want to be in the pit with you. A grief trigger is anything that brings up memories related to a loss. It can be something as obvious as a birthday or something that completely surprises you. For me, sometimes it is just a certain smell that reminds me of Savannah, a little girl who is around her age, or anytime I see baby girl clothes. This is just a few, but I could probably make a whole list. While I wouldn't expect you to remember all of their triggers, I think it is crucial that you are at least aware and can then be sensitive to them. 

Let them feel- One of the greatest gifts our 'pit friends' ever gave us after Savannah was the freedom to feel. The freedom to be ok or be ok that we're not ok. Never stop their tears. The best way to travel through grief is to do just that... travel. Allow them to cry and get those tears out, allow them to laugh and verbally grant them that right. I remember thinking that if I smiled after losing Savannah then that would somehow signal that I was ok without her. I know how twisted that is, but that is where my head was at. Looking back I am so thankful for the precious friend who sat me down and told me that "just because you smile again doesn't mean that I will ever think that your world will be ok without her in it." 

Be consistent- The pit is dark. It's the depths of their grief and pain. If you are willing to sit there with them, be consistent with that. I know how busy life can be and it is hard to find the time... that's why you have to make the time. Make this a priority and I promise it will leave such an impact. Those who have dropped everything to come over, or answer my phone calls at 3am are truly angels in my eyes. 

Grief is messy, but so is life. I challenge you to see what it would be like to be a friend or family member who crawled into the pit with those who are struggling. I'm sure that will look a little different for each of us, but I know it would make such a difference because I've seen that to be true in my own life. I am so grateful for my 'pit crew' and the ways they have come alongside us in this journey and even carried us through when we weren't sure we'd make it. 

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Find your 'pit crew' and let them love you hard!

Half Bath Reveal

As I promised in my last 'What I'm Loving Wednesday' post I am back to share another tiny room reveal with you guys; our half bath! Bear with me, because gosh it's hard to photograph such a tiny space with little to no natural light. Also, don't forget that you can click on the 'home tour' tab at the top of the blog now to find rooms as they get uploaded in case you missed one or ever want to reference back!

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This room was probably my least favorite when we first moved into our house. Aside from being super dark due to no windows, there was this awful wall texture all over the place in here. It literally was like having a gritty sandpaper wall; super weird!

So, to brighten things up and hide the terrible texture we opted to do full floor to ceiling shiplap on all of the walls. Best decision we ever made! The bright white paint instantly made this room come to life and the shiplap alone added some much needed character. 

I love mixing white and wood tones throughout our house, and this room was no different. I got this oval mirror from HomeGoods a few years ago and was super excited when we found this vanity at Home Depot that matched almost perfectly! I'll link all the things we used to complete this space below. 

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And as promised here are those shelf brackets I mentioned in my last WILW post. They are from IKEA and are only $10 for the set!!! We spray painted them using a matte black spray paint and then bought some wood from Lowes for the shelves. We stained the shelves using our favorite combo of Minwax's 'weathered oak' first and then a coat of 'special walnut' over top of that. It's the perfect balance of warm and washed to pop against the bright white shiplap! 

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If you know me, you also know that I am a huge sucker for good art work and framed quotes! So, you can imagine my excitement when I found these large wood matted frames from Target on clearance... WIN! As always, I used Pinterest for my inspiration and then had my hubby redesign the quote to fit the frame. I'll provide a free printable down at the bottom of the source list.

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Source List:
Vanity Light- Lowes
Vanity- Home Depot
Paint Color- Ultra White by Valspar
Mirror- Home Goods
Shelf Brackets- IKEA
Faucet- Lowes
Large Wood Frames- Target
Prints- ModernFeathers

<<< Wash your worries away FREE PRINTABLE >>>

If there is anything that I didn't link to that you have a question about, feel free to comment below. 

 
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I hope that you all are having a relaxing Sunday!!!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Good Morning! I'm bringing you a random set of things today for WILW, but I'm sure you all will enjoy them. I hope that January has been treating you kindly. It has been a busy, but great start to the year for us. We went on a quick little getaway this past weekend to Knoxville with some of our friends, and boy was it needed! Sometimes we just have to press the reset button and take some time to enjoy ourselves. Praying you all have been doing the same! 


This antioxidant drink
A sweet friend from Florida got me hooked on these. I was coming down with a cold and she sent me to the store on a mission to find them saying that it would definitely help. Well, it did and they are delicious! With it being cold and flu season I think we could all use a couple of these a week!!! The blueberry one is my personal favorite but I honestly haven't tried one that I didn't like. 

This letterboard
I have seen these all over the place lately and a few months ago I jumped on board! ;) See what I did there?! It has been so fun using it to display fun quotes or leave notes to each other in the morning. I got mine from Amazon- but I've seen them at Target, Walmart, and even Hobby Lobby too.

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These blenders-
I use my Magic Bullet blender almost every single morning to make my smoothies. It is super easy to whip out of the cabinet and all of the parts are dishwasher safe. I love that I can drink it right out of the blender cups as well. TIP: prep your smoothie the night before and keep the lid on it in the fridge, that way all you have to do is add ice and blend it up in the morning. I also have the Ninja blender and use it to make larger smoothie batches and even for some soup recipes! 

 
 
 
 

This lip crayon- 
Guys, I cannot say enough about these! I stumbled upon them on Amazon and decided to give it a try. Let me just say that it did not disappoint!!! I started with the 'chiffon' color but now also have the 'heirloom' too. They lasted way longer than I expected, and I've been super impressed with the quality. 

These shelf brackets from IKEA-
We used these just as they come (silver) in our Florida house master bathroom and loved them so much that when we moved here we knew we would have to make another trip to IKEA. They are super cheap and are just the right amount of modern we were looking for! We decided to spray paint them matte black for this house and so far have them in the entryway, Samuel's room, and half bath.

I'll be back in a few days to do another tiny room reveal and to share some pictures of those IKEA brackets I mentioned above! 
Happy Hump Day!!! 

Master Bedroom Reveal

Hi sweet friends! I am so excited to be able to share our master bedroom with you this morning. I had the best intentions of doing a full home tour a long time ago and well, life just gets busy! I promise it's all coming room by room though. You can now click the 'home tour' tab at the top of my blog to find each space as it gets uploaded as well! 

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When we bought our house in Florida we somehow fixed up and decorated every other room before we did ours, and I swore to myself that we would never do that again. So, when we moved here to Ohio I knew I wanted our room to be done first! We got to work and painted the walls, framed out the bedroom window, hung curtains and brought in lots of neutrals. When dreaming of this room and what I wanted it to feel like I decided to pick the word "cozy", and that it definitely is! This is my favorite place to escape to and for that I am grateful! 

TIP: If you are a DIY person and enjoy fixing up your home. Learn from me, and start with the master bedroom FIRST! That way you will always have a sanctuary you can come to when the rest of the house feels like chaos during project mode! 

When creating any space, but especially our master bedroom I knew I didn't want to just use random knick-knacks, but rather things that held special meaning to us. I challenge you to do the same. It will make you enjoy your space that much more when you love the things you bring into it. 

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Source List:
Lamps- HomeGoods
Euro Pillows- IKEA
Throw Pillows- HomeGoods
Paint Color- Villa Grey by Valspar
Our Nest Pillow- Amazon
Stripe Comforter- IKEA Comforter- IKEA
Headboard- DIY (we used this tutorial)
Curtains- IKEA

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And if you know me, you know our handsome boy cat, Dewey, is never far from me. So, you could say I had a little help bringing this reveal to you today! 

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A New Year's Challenge

Welcome, 2018!!! I hope that you all had a fun night ringing in the New Year with friends and family. We got super dressed up and spent the evening at home making fondue! We had set out last year to try and squeeze in 17 dates in 2017. Although we only made it to 15/17 we had a total blast and I definitely recommend it. If you want to see the fun we had, search #our17datesin2017 on IG! 
This morning I wanted to let you all in on a new little challenge that I've set out for myself this year. As I've shared a few times in the past, I love reading but hardly make time to do it. So, this year I thought I would be more intentional and try to change that by creating the 18 books in 2018 challenge! #ivynest18booksin2018
I'm sure I'm not the only one doing this, but I seem to stay more focused on my goals when I set them up as a challenge for myself as well as have accountability. That's where you all come in! I'd love for you to join in and even take the challenge yourself. I will be sharing periodically about the books I've been reading and am always open to suggestions as well! 

 Here are a few that are on my list so far:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I hope that you will join in with me! Leave a comment here or send me an email with some of your favorite must-read books. I can't wait to share this with you all! Happy 2018 Everyone!!!

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Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

The countdown is seriously ON you guys! T-5 days until Christmas. I know this month and time of year in general can be busy, but especially now that we are down to the final days. I thought I would give you a few super last minute stocking stuffer ideas just in case you are still shopping; or are like me and save the stockings for last... because let's be honest- they're the most fun!!! I included ideas for her, him, and the little ones. Most of these are products that we have, or have tried and love!!! BONUS, all are on Amazon so can arrive before the holiday!


For Her:

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Click the links below!!!


For Him:

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Click the links below!!! 


For the little ones:

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Click the links below!!!

I hope that these help take some of the stress out of these last few days before Christmas! Let me know if you end up using any for your stockings, and feel free to pass this link along as a hint to your husband or wife! I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas! I'll be back soon to share my New Years Challenge with you guys. :)

More Than a Baby Shower

Over Thanksgiving break, I had the privilege of co-hosting my sister-in-law, Sarah's, baby shower. While I loved being able to use my decorating and crafting skills to help create a day she won't ever forget, the reason we were celebrating was a far sweeter story than any decor post I could write. I thought I would use today to share a bit of their story alongside the precious memories we made celebrating their baby girl, Aubrey, on the way!

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Sarah and her husband Justin have had quite the journey the last 4 years, from infertility struggles, procedures, doctor visits, and multiple miscarriages to get to where they are now; expecting a sweet baby girl due to make her arrival at the end of January! There truly aren't words to describe how hard it's been for them, but Sarah does a beautiful job being transparent with their struggles over on her blog.

Aubrey is nothing short of a miracle baby and we are beyond excited to be welcoming her into the family! It was my honor to be a part of creating the baby shower Sarah has always dreamed of and one that we had all prayed we'd get to attend one day! 

Aubrey's nursery is a feminine meets whimsy space, and I wanted to shower to be the same. We went with neutrals, warm tones, metallics, and modern touches to tie it all together. With hints of blush pink too of course!!! We had the shower outside in the evening and it was seriously the most beautiful setting for such a special celebration! 

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We played the yarn game (which is always tons of fun), and had everyone fill out advice cards for the parents. I've hosted a few showers now and this is always a must! It is such a sweet thing for the parents to be able to read together after the baby shower has ended, and reference on those tough days once the little one comes ;) Another tip- have a thank you card station set up. Leave out the envelopes so that the guests can make themselves the addressee to save the Mama-to-be some time!  

Since the shower was in the evening after dinner, we chose to do a few drinks, simple finger foods, and a dessert table! I probably had TOO much fun decorating this 'naked' cake, but I mean come on... you really can't go wrong with fresh baby's breath and eucalyptus!

Some of my favorite little details from the shower! I'll link some of the things we used to make it all come together below, just click the stock photos. If there is anything I don't list but you'd like to know about, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email at theivynestblog@gmail.com

Flowers- Publix
Yarn Tassels- DIY
Wood Bead Garland- DIY (here)
Vases- spray painted cans
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sweet Sister, 
The Lord has used our stories and our little girls' lives to weave us closer together and I am continually blessed by our conversations. My heart simply cannot wait to meet Aubrey and to be her Auntie! I promise she will know nothing other than love from me. Thank you for allowing us to come along side you in celebrating what the Lord has had in store before you even had a hearts desire. This was so much more than a baby shower, and Aubrey Elise you are well worth the wait!

What I'm Loving Wednesday- Home Addition

Good Wednesday Morning! It's been a few weeks since my last WILW post but today I'm back on track! I thought I would share a few of the products that were quick and easy updates to our house that we are still loving today! And a bonus- ALL are under $60 right now! 


This programmable timer switch-
We installed this in our entryway to control our outdoor lights and it has been a lifesaver (and money saver!) We can program when we want the lights to come on and go off, or use a preset "sunset to sunrise" option. No more forgetting to turn your outside lights off (which we were constantly guilty of) Also, it glows so can act as a nightlight in the evening, which is perfect for us as ours is installed at the base of our stairs! 

 
 

These curtains from IKEA-
A total favorite of mine!!! We have the white 98" panels in our master bedroom and the 118" in our living room! I love the statement that the longer panels create in our living room and also that they provide privacy without blocking too much light. They wash great but definitely could use a good steam or iron when they are done. These also come in "light beige" which is the perfect linen and gray as well. 

These magnetic garage door accents-
This is probably the easiest update you can do to your house and it makes such a huge difference from the curb! We have had ours on since we moved in at the beginning of April and they haven't even budged. We get compliments on them all the time and people can never believe that they are just magnets. Easily the best $16.99 you will ever spend! 

 
 

This utility organizer
After trying a few other options from local stores and not liking them, we found this one and it's been in our laundry room ever since! We use this to hold our mop, duster, and broom, but it would definitely be strong enough to hold even a lightweight vacuum. This could also be used in the garage to hold shovels, rakes, etc. I love that it keeps things organized and is super easy to use! 

This pendant light-
Fun story, this was our first "project" in our Ohio house! I knew that the previous light above the kitchen sink HAD to go! So, after scrolling through too many pendant lights I stumbled upon this one from Amazon. It was the perfect size and didn't break the bank! It always amazes me that something as small as swapping out a light fixture can change the feel of an entire room. 

 
 

Have you done any of these to your home? Comment below and share what you love about it! 

Not Just Surviving the Holidays, but Thriving Through Them

For so many people the Holidays are anything but bright and cheery or joy-filled. For those who have experienced the loss of a child or grief in any way, this time of year can almost act as a magnifying glass on those already deep emotions. I wanted to spend today sharing a few ways that we not only cope with Christmas time but actually maintain joy through this always tough season. 

Remember the Reason for the Season- We choose to turn our eyes to the One who we are celebrating this time of year. I have found it incredibly helpful to focus on the Lord when I feel like my emotions are overtaking me, my heart clings to this verse: "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 He is everpresent in my grief, He hasn't left me to travel through it alone. That verse and fact are always comforting. 

Do Things in Remembrance-  This is something that we have tried to do ever since losing our daughter Savannah. The beauty of this is that it can be anything that brings you healing, from donating to an organization that was helpful for you or your loved one, writing their name in the sand at the beach, filling an Operation Christmas child box in their memory, making an ornament with their name on it, leaving an empty seat at the table or even lighting a candle for them. Every Christmas we hang up Savannah's Christmas stocking, decorate her little tree, and include her name on our Christmas card. She will always be a part of our family and it is helpful for us to see her name this time of year. 

Ride the Waves-  I'm sure you have heard the expression that grief comes in waves. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever been given was to ride with those waves. So often I would try to fight with them; fight the emotions that surfaced and try to push them down. Only to end up drowning in them later on. I've learned and am still learning to allow myself to feel things as they come, and work through the triggers that so often come along with the Holidays. I have found that when I allow myself the freedom to feel sad, angry, disappointed, hurt or whatever current state I'm in, peace usually follows. Because just like the ocean, you will have days that the seas are rough and then the calm will follow. So hang on, and ride through it.

Schedule Fun- I'm sure if you are deep in your grief having fun is the last thing you'd think you are capable of. But I promise you, you can do it and it will help! I use the word schedule because sometimes this time of year it can be hard to just spontaneously fit things in. Plan a winter date night, drive around after dark to look at the lights, drink too much hot cocoa, treat yourself to a pedicure or massage, plan a family vacation, or invite friends over for a game night. Whatever will bring you the most happiness; schedule it, put it on your calendar, and DO IT! Grief is the thief of joy- but it doesn't have to be. Just because you are grieving doesn't mean that you don't deserve to also have a break and have some fun. 

Be Transparent- As we navigate through our loss it is difficult to remember that others can't necessarily see how deep our pain is or know what we need during this trigger-filled season. If we are transparent with our emotions it will allow our friends and families to see how best they can help. That being said, I know how hard it is to do this. It is much easier to close off and expect people to just know what to say or do. However, when we are open and share we are almost always met with someone willing to listen. I have seen this to be true in my own life, especially around the Holidays. 

Be Gentle with Yourself- This time of year is hard enough without us adding pressure to ourselves. So, choose joy but also choose you. Allow yourself to say "it's ok to not be ok", to not commit to every holiday event or party, to order Chinese food for Christmas dinner, or not take the perfect Holiday card picture. Wherever this year takes you, go with it and remember that this is a season and it soon will come to an end, so be gentle with yourself through it.

I hope that this has been helpful. I know how hard this time of year is, and trust me I am still very much working through emotions as well. I will probably have to reference my own writing and talk to myself as new triggers arise this year. Our first Christmas out of our Florida home and state where we welcomed our sweet Savannah Joy. I find myself struggling with that thought, and yet at the same time, I am so thankful for the traditions we have started that we get to carry on here in Ohio. Her stocking is hung and will serve as a constant reminder for us this season that though there will be immense grief and longing, there can also be unspeakable joy! 

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DIY Board and Batten Mudroom

After a super long holiday break, it is so good to be back with you all! I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. We traveled south for the holiday and it was so nice to be in the sunshine state for a week. We soaked up as much as we could and it seems like we even brought some back to Ohio with us! 

I am excited to share our latest DIY project with you guys. This has been on our radar since we were under contract with our house and I always thought it would be one of the first projects we tackled. Yet, somehow it took us 7 months to even start. I guess that's just the way life is sometimes! 

We think this little alcove at some point may have been a closet, but we decided to make it our mudroom! This space is right around the corner from our door to the garage and since that is the door we use most often we thought it would be the perfect spot for some hooks and extra storage. This is in the hallway between our dining room and living room so the lighting isn't great (sorry for some dark pictures), but we are super happy with how it turned out! Overall this project took about a weekend to complete and cost us under $100! 

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Supplies needed:
nailgun & nails
spackle & caulk
primer & paint
saw
sandpaper
level & tape measure
1x4, 1x3, 1x10 boards
baseboard

To start, we figured out how much wood we needed for the height of board and batten we wanted, as well as figured out our spacing for the boards. We then measured and cut the baseboard to fit in the space.


TIP: If you want to install board and batten but don't want to replace your current baseboard, choose a new section of baseboard and install it upside down so that the thickness of your board can rest on the thicker part of your baseboard.


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When the baseboards were all up, we then started by nailing one 1x4 board to the wall. This board would help to determine the height of the horizontal boards which we put up next. We did this in this order to ensure that our horizontal boards would be level even though our walls aren't necessarily level. After the horizontal boards were all in place, we then could measure to be sure all the vertical pieces would fit perfectly. 

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For the corners we did a 1x4 piece on one wall and a 1x3 on the other wall, totally optional, we just liked the look of the two mixed rather than two 1x4s next to each other. We then in the same manner cut and fit the boards for the top extended part of our board and batten. 

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Because of the unique shape of this space, we were able to install shelves along the righthand side where the walls create a little alcove. We measured and cut a larger 1x10 to use for the shelves. 

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After all of the wood was installed we then went around and filled in all of the nail holes with spackle/wood filler. Also at this point we caulked all of the places where the wood meets the wall. This is one of those small details that makes a HUGE impact, and definitely gives it that professional look when you are finished. Once the spackle was dry we sanded it flush with the wood in preparation for painting. 

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We use KILZ Premium Interior Primer and did two coats just to ensure full coverage. Meanwhile it looks like one of our cats, Mango, found herself a new spot!!! 

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From there it was on to paint. We used two coats of Valspar Signature Ultra White, and the coverage was perfect! Also, our wall color is Valspar Villa Grey.

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We knew we wanted hooks in this space to be able to hang purses, coats, hats etc. and found the perfect ones at Hobby Lobby. It just so happened to be the week that they were 50% off too! WIN! 

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We finished this space off with a DIY hairpin leg bench (I'll provide links below) and some neutral decor. I am sure this will shortly be the place where clutter clings to, but for now it is clean and simple! 


Source list:
Hooks: Hobby Lobby
Plants: IKEA
Wood for bench: Lowes
Tan Pillow Cover: IKEA
Wire Baskets: HomeGoods
Hairpin Legs & Stripe Pillow Cover: Amazon


A special thank you to my hubby and our handsome little man for helping me make my vision for this space come to life! 

 
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I hope your Thursday is off to a great start! 

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What I'm Loving Wednesday

Are you all ready for Thanksgiving?! No? Me neither! It always seems like the fall months fly by too fast.
To make your Thanksgiving planning a little bit easier, I thought I would make this a What I'm Loving Wednesday-Turkey Day addition! Some of my favorite serving dishes, tableware, Thanksgiving recipes, and hostess gifts! 


Paper placemats-
These are seriously too cute, especially for a kids table! I have seen similar ones that are a bit more sophisticated at HomeGoods and Marshalls as well. I love that they are disposable and double as an activity for your little ones or guests!  

These stripe napkins-
As I've shared with you all before, I have a slight obsession with stripes. When I found these french stripe napkins it was definitely love at first sight ;) They are the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table, and because they are neutral you could easily use them throughout the entire year! 

 
 

This dinnerware collection-
We have had this set from World Market for a little over two years or so now and every piece has held up so well! I always get nervous with white dishes, that they will soak up spaghetti sauce or get knife marks on them, but these have neither! I love the simplicity of them and the fact that they are neutral (of course) but are also normal sizes. I know sometimes with collections, the bowls will be super small or the dinner plates aren't large enough, but these are perfect. World Market also has serving platters and bowls in this pattern as well! 

This cinnamon roll recipe from The Novice Chef
These pumpkin cinnamon rolls are one of the easiest and tastiest treats I've made this Fall! I followed the recipe exactly except instead of the pumpkin pie spice, I used cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. (Which I'm pretty sure is what makes up pumpkin pie spice anyway!) These were a total hit with my husband and little guy too. They would make the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving day breakfast or even your dessert table! 

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Marble and wood boards
I know you all know what I'm talking about here! These are probably one of my most favorite things! I love that they are multifunctional- you can use it as a display piece in your kitchen with a plant and pretty candle, as a serving board for your cheese and crackers, or even just as a cutting board. They also make the BEST hostess gifts!!! Tie some twine and a thank you note around it or put it in a gift basket with some wine and cheese. So easy, and it doesn't break the bank! I couldn't pick a favorite to post so I will share a few below. All are under $25!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I know that the holidays can get hectic at times, but I pray that you all are able to enjoy your time with family and friends! Let me know if you use any of these ideas or if you have any exciting plans for the holiday! 

I'll be back soon to share our latest DIY project with you guys!!!

Fall Fun and a Few Favorites

I'm not sure about you guys, but I always feel like there is a rush after Halloween to get into Christmas, and while I, of course, love Christmastime, I also love to embrace and enjoy each season as it comes!!! It is definitely feeling and looking like Fall here in Ohio! Almost every yard has leaves covering the grass and we have that crisp cool air. So, I thought I would share a few fun Fall things with you guys to get you through until at least after Thanksgiving ;) 


As I shared in my "What I'm Loving Wednesday" post earlier this week, we took some Fall family photos last weekend and to say that I am so glad that we did would be an understatement! Precious moments were captured for sure, and even more special that they are at the park right by our house! 

Don't let these fool you though, we had some real toddler moments too!!! 

 
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It wouldn't be fall without a hot drink!! Am I right?! Chai is always my go-to so I thought I'd share my favorite recipe from a sweet friend! 

Homemade Chai Tea Mix: 

3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup instant unsweetened tea
3/4 cup vanilla powder nondairy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine in a food processor until powdery. 
I like to store mine in a mason jar and it keeps up to 6 months in a cool dry place. 

Directions-
Dissolve 3 tablespoons of mix in 3/4 boiling water or milk. (I prefer mine with milk and occasionally topped with whipped cream!) 

This also makes an awesome gift around the holidays, just tie a plaid ribbon around it and call it done! 


Anyone that knows me well knows that candles are my weakness, and are pretty much my favorite part of any holiday! Or just any day!!! I almost always have a candle burning when I'm home, there is just something about it that makes the house feel cozier! 

I am so excited to collaborate with Emily from Kozy Kandles, and to be able to share her awesome soy candles with you guys! I had the opportunity to sample one candle from each of the holiday collections (Fall and Winter) and you guys... they are amazing!!!

I have the "Harvest" one burning in the living room and it smells exactly like what I dream of for Fall, without that overwhelmingness that some holiday candles give off. It's the perfect blend of sweet and spice!

The "North Pole" candle is burning in the kitchen and it definitely has me looking forward to Winter. I love this one because it's layered! The top is cool ice, the middle is fresh peppermint, and the bottom is sugar/rich vanilla cream! It's like three candles in one!!! 


With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, these would make the perfect gift for the hostess, a stocking stuffer, or even your secret Santa! 


I know this is a long post, are you all still with me?!


For THIS WEEKEND ONLY, Kozy Kandles is offering a 15% discount on any candle from the holiday collections just by entering the following code: IVYNEST15


All of the candles are packaged in the most adorable jars, and are all 100% hand-poured!
So, grab one for yourself, a friend, or both and support a small shop this holiday season!

CLICK HERE to order, and be sure to follow Kozy Kandles on Facebook as well as Instagram


Happy Fall Friends!!! 

What I'm Loving Wednesday

It's Wednesday!!! I hope that you all had a happy Halloween and for those of you in the northern states, you stayed warm! It was 36º while we trick-or-treated last night! CRAZY!!

I have to say I have been looking forward to this post since we started this series last week. I could probably name a million things I'm loving, but I'll leave you with these five today!


This mac and cheese
I am letting you all in on my secret go-to quick and easy dinner! Make up a box of this mac and cheese per directions, while the pasta is cooking, toast up some panko breadcrumbs with butter and garlic in a saute pan until slightly browned. Once you've followed all the box instructions put it in a casserole dish, top with the breadcrumbs and bake it at 350º for about 10-15 minutes. It's quick, easy, and tastes AMAZING! 

This magnetic calendar.
I have been on the hunt for a calendar that we could attach to our door in the kitchen, and I came across this one from Amazon! We've had it for a couple months now and it's holding up great! Bonus- it's under $20 and actually cute!

 
 

This water bottle
Before I say anything else, I'll start with this: this is way more than I would normally spend on a water bottle, but it was a total necessity! I am terrible at drinking water... and I mean TERRIBLE! Like I could go all day and realize I hadn't even had a whole glass. So when my sister-in-law shared this bottle she had that tracked her water intake, as well as notified her to drink when she was behind her goal for the day, I was totally hooked! The bottle automatically pairs with an app on my phone to track how many ounces I've had, and if I am behind I will get a notification and the bottle will blink red. I have the white one, but they make a few different colors as well. I truly can't say enough about this! 

This pancake pen.
I had a few of you ask about how I made the ghost pancakes I posted on IG yesterday so I figured I'd include this in today's post! This is the pancake pen that we have, and I love it! I use it to make fun pancake shapes as well as fill muffin/cupcake liners. It's great because Samuel can use it too without making too much of a mess. ;) Also, if you don't already have a homemade pancake batter recipe, this is my favorite

Fall!!
Having only ever lived in Florida, this is my first real experience watching the seasons change. It is hard to grasp the beauty of the autumn leaves through just a picture, so I don't think I ever realized how bright the colors are. Also getting to watch Samuel experience his first Fall, and playing in the leaves has been such a joy! We braved the cold weather last weekend to take some family pictures and oh my goodness... I think they are my favorite! I'll be sharing them in a new post sometime in the next few days!

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Enjoy your day, friends!

 

The Darkness of October Gives Way to Light

I am completely honored to share that I had the opportunity to be a guest writer for Courageous Mothers; A compassionate community for Moms. The creator, Joli, started the site after the stillbirth of her son, Jonah, as a way for people to find comfort and community. I honestly cannot think of a better way to honor your little one. Thank you, Joli, for creating a platform for each of us to share our stories and encourage one another on this journey. 

This post is one of my favorites and one that honestly just poured out of me. Sometimes I sit down to write and it takes a bit to find the words, but this was not one of those times. 

Here is a preview:


"As some of you may know, October is such a bittersweet month for us; it’s the month that we said hello and goodbye to our precious daughter Savannah in 2013. There is some sort of unspoken freedom that I usually give myself for this whole month; the freedom to feel however I’m feeling without the guilt that sometimes follows. It’s almost like I am able to justify my feelings more this month than others because it is Savannah’s. However, this year I have been unusually quiet and unable to make sense of my emotions.

This past Sunday we went to church, as we do every other weekend, and yet I had no idea that God had been planning an awakening of my heart..."


Head on over to Courageous Mothers to read the rest of the story. Then head back over here to share your thoughts!

Thank you all for allowing me to share a bit of my heart with you as we bring October to a close in the next few days. 

This photo is from Savannah's 6 month memorial. Photo credit:  Desiree Angelle Photography

This photo is from Savannah's 6 month memorial.
Photo credit: Desiree Angelle Photography

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I have seen this floating around a bit on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to give it a try over here on the blog! So, each week or every other, I will try to post a few things that I have been loving lately. They will range from new products, activities, things that make life easier, recipes, or even just a super comfy sweater I found. I hope you have fun following along!


These black leggings from GapFactory.
I got them a few weekends ago and have pretty much been living in them! They are super comfy and don't go see through when you bend. (You girls know what I'm talking about!) Totally a must for Fall and the chilly days/nights we've been having here in Ohio.   

These kids multivitamins.
Samuel recently started going to preschool one day a week, and as you Mamas all know the germs were quick to follow him home. We started adding these to his daily routine and they definitely have seemed to help keep his immune system boosted. Plus, an added bonus- he LOVES them! 

 
 

These storage containers from IKEA.
We use these for everything in our pantry, from rice and couscous to bread crumbs and baking supplies. They help keep things organized and also pretty ;) 

This blessed shirt from Target.
I get so many compliments every time I wear this, and it's definitely a favorite that I frequent a lot! The shirt does run small because it's juniors sizing, so I would suggest sizing up. 

Baking... and this apple bread recipe.
I have found myself baking a lot more since moving to Ohio, I fully believe it's my attempt at trying to stay warm (and it's not even Winter yet!!!) I recently made this apple bread and it was delicious! My only note would be that if you want more apple flavor and less poundcake, add extra apples. Other than that it was the perfect Fall treat, and our little man loved helping with the process! 

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Let me know if you give any of these a try or send me some of your favorites!!!

DIY Wood Bead Garland

I have been swooning over these wooden bead garland stands that have been all over the place lately! Anyone else?! I debated buying one and then quickly realized that, for the price I'd end up paying, I could easily make it myself and be able to custom fit it to our mantle! 

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Supplies:
Twine
Scissors
Wooden Beads

You can pick up wooden beads at any of your local craft stores. I opted to order mine from Amazon, mainly because they were cheaper. I knew I wanted to make two strands so I needed a lot of beads and in varying sizes. I ordered two sets, and will link the ones I used at the bottom of this post! 

The first thing I did was picked a pattern I wanted to use for each garland, then I counted out how many of each bead I had and went from there. These are the patterns I came up with:

From there it's as simple as turning on your favorite Netflix show and stringing beads! If you're having trouble threading the twine through the smaller beads, try twisting it on (that's what helped me!)

I knew I wanted one set for our mantle so I made sure to measure as I went along. My finished garlands were: 82" and 60"

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I put the first set up on our mantle and instantly fell in love! I always tend to lean towards simple decor, with statement pieces that pop. This wood garland is just that against our bright white mantle! I cannot wait to use these throughout the Christmas season as well. Can't you just see them wrapped around a tree?! For now they have found their home here right under my heirloom and white pumpkins! 

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I decided to put the other garland in our master bedroom draped around some of our current decor. I love the mix of the frame and bead wood tones together!  

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This was such a fun, quick, and easy DIY project. Let me know if you decide to give it a try, I'd love to see what you come up with! 

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Here are the beads I used:

 
 

Happy Friday!!!

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A Gift from Me to You

Welcome, Friends! 
I am so thrilled that you've found your way over to The Ivy Nest. This blog has been on my heart for awhile and is truly a passion that, for the longest time, I didn't even know I had in me.

My desire was to create a space where my thoughts could feel free to spill over onto the keyboard, a place where I can share light-hearted and practical DIY projects, as well as the ins and outs of our journey. Life is both messy and beautiful and I plan to be as transparent as possible while sharing about both. I hope that you will join me!


Today is Launch Day for The Ivy Nest, but it has so much more meaning for me than just that. Today is our precious daughter's fourth birthday in Heaven.

In 2013 we found out that we were expecting our first little one, a girl, who we named Savannah. About halfway through my pregnancy, Savannah was diagnosed with a serious neural tube defect which meant that she was not expected to survive long after birth. We chose life for our daughter; which meant carrying her to term. At 40 weeks we were blessed to meet our sweet girl face to face. While her little heart only beat outside of the womb for a few minutes those beats left such a huge impact on our lives! 

I could share about our journey with Savannah all day long, but today I want to share about her legacy. It still amazes me how Savannah, in her 40 weeks of life, continues to leave such a mark on me, and the world around. I am drawn back to this picture I have had in my head since carrying her...one of a cross-stitch. The front is where the image is, you can tell what it is and it's perfect. While the back is a tangled mess of colors, knots, and unrecognizable shapes (If you've ever seen a cross-stitch you'll know what I'm talking about). Our journey while carrying Savannah was just like the back of that cross-stitch; confusing at times, messy, and we couldn't see the whole picture of what God was doing.

I say all of this to come back to today, October 9th, 2017, her fourth birthday, and the day The Ivy Nest is launching. God has slowly been revealing Himself to us through the loss of our little girl, and we have found His silver lining in the midst of our deepest grief. We are starting to see bits of the front of our cross stitch and it is indeed beautiful. Savannah has brought out a side of me that I never thought I would be brave enough to share; she is the reason I am writing today. While I would of course trade all of these blessings in a heartbeat to have her back, it is so sweet to see her legacy. 

Happy Birthday my beautiful Savannah Joy!!!

Thank you for teaching me to love with my whole heart, and that life is too short to be anything but real, fun, and REALLY FUN!

 

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This blog is dedicated to you, my sweet girl!