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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 {a year in review!}

I absolutely cannot believe that 2015 is coming to an end! A year ago, I vaguely remember trying to envision what my life would look like now. I couldn't fathom the idea that I'd have a four month old! 
But here we are with a four month old and boy, has it ever been a whirlwind year! An amazing whirlwind that is! 

Last year I recapped with your top projects, posts and recipes throughout the year. It was a lot of fun to look back at the favorites! So let's go for it again!


In January I revealed a newly styled downstairs bathroom. 
Now affectionately called "the W bathroom".


In February, I created a spot on the back of Jake's door to display all of his super awesome art projects.


In March, we went all out for Jake's third birthday! It was a backyard party with a full on construction theme! So much fun!


In April, I showed you guys these great wood burning coasters that I made for my brother and sister in law. Such a neat and easy project!


In May, I made this custom directional sign for my mom's garden. It was a huge hit!!


In June, I shared the finishing touches of Eliza's nursery. My very favorite room in the house!


In July I was super pregnant and most definitely ate my weight in brownie crusted cheesecake!


This lady was born in August!!!
// check out the original post HERE //


In September, we were finishing out our time in the Vanderbilt NICU and I whipped up this sweet felt garland for our gal's hopsital bed. Brightened up the place so well!


In October I post about the changes to the guest bath. And finally, all my bathrooms are just as I want them! 


These twig wreath place cards marked our Thanksgiving this November. And let's be honest, they'll go with about any holiday!


And just this month, I shared with you guys what my very favorite custom gift is! Did you nab one yet?!

Shew! What a fun year! Thanks to all of you for hanging with me through 2015! 
Cheers to another year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas goodie bags for the kiddos

Shew! Christmas break is coming up quickly and the few days of school are upon us.
 Need an idea for a simple, creative {and yummy!} goodie bag to send out? 

Check out the candy reindeer noses that Jake's classmates took home after their Christmas party today. 

Easiest goody bags ever! And so cute, right?! You only need a couple of things for these...

I went to Target in search of the proper candies and found exactly what I wanted. These milk chocolate caramels and cherry sours right next to each other. How perfect!
The cherry sours really aren't very sour and no peanuts for the allergy kiddos. Yay!

Eight to ten "regular" reindeer noses and one Rudolph nose went into each bag. I tied them off with some strong and these cute little tags. 
Snag your own free copy of my tags HERE.


Thankfully, I made an extra bag so Jake could take one home.
 Ours were goobled up immediately!


Monday, December 14, 2015

the boy who lost his name {gift idea}

This gift is definitely going to be one of my favorites to give this year.

Have you heard of these beloved books? I'd caught small snippets about them here and there, but when a fellow mom officially said "Go look, you'll love it!", I had to jump on the website and see what it was all about it. 
And guess what? She was right. I loved it


So what is this book all about? Well, the back story goes something like this: A few dads got together to make personalized story books for their kids, with their own names and characters. The sweet idea blossomed into a creative business. Now the Lost My Name company tailor makes a magical, personalized book based on your child's name! You order online, giving them the exact spelling. Then you're asked to choose the character that best resembles your child. They create the entire book for you in seconds. You can read through every page before ordering. 

The story is based on a child that lost his/her name and goes on an courageous adventure to find it. He/she meets a variety of magical creatures along the way that each give them a letter of their name.


The illustrations are gorgeous!
One of the smart aspects that I love about this is that there are multiple varieties of each letter. Say, for example, you have a Jesse and a Jessica and would like to order a book for each kiddo. They'll offer alternative characters for each duplicate letter, so there is no overlap in a single story and also even with the two different tales. 


Final bonus? You get to write the dedication! I didn't know this until I was ordering, and I felt so much pressure! A book dedication for Jake? How fancy!
I'm so excited for Jake to read his story. So much so that I also ordered books for my niece and nephew for their birthdays in January. There's just something so special about a unique and personalized gift.


Interested? Have I convinced you to nab one of these sweet beauties? According to their website, if you order now, you can still get your book in time for Christmas! Wowza!

Head over to Lost My Name to preview a book of your own!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

christmas gift list {free printable!}

Tis the season to be stressed. 
Ouch. Sometimes, right?

If you're anything like me, Christmas seems to bring a billion wonderful things to do and approximately five minutes to accomplish it all. It's a busy, blustery blur at times and can even be a bit overwhelming.

But one of my favorite things to do is to shop for my people. I love my people. And I love spoiling them. Seriously, is there anything better than giving a gift?! With friends, family and even teachers, we have a lot of awesome folks to buy for and, as always, I've gone to get it all done on a budget.  
Can I get an amen?
So how does this busy, blustery, people loving, gift giving gal get it all done? Well, of course, because I'm a giant nerd, my answer to everything is organization! 
Today I have a gift for you.
A Christmas shopping list!


A Christmas shopping list always helps keep me focused on exactly what I've already purchased and what I'm still on the hunt for. Included on this list is a place for a name, gifts, your budget, and (the best part) a place to check it off when you're done.
Download a free copy of my Christmas gift list { HERE } to use to keep yourself organized this year!

And happy hunting for that perfect item!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

a real Christmas tree!

For years now, I've been dying to have a real Christmas tree. 
It's so festive, right? The evergreen smell, the beautiful branches, the trip to the tree farm. What's more holly jolly than that?
But in previous years, all the what-ifs and messy aspects of a real tree have held me back.
What about the mess of needles? What about bugs? The sap? And watering? What about the fire hazard? Oh, and I have a fake tree in the garage that costs me zero dollars to put up, so there's that.

This year, I'm learning to let go more and more. I finally said "to heck with it!" and gave in to trying something new. So the day after Thanksgiving, the Wilders were off to the tree farm. 
 I'd  read a couple of reviews of local places and settled on Thornton Farms. It seemed like a bit more than just a place to pick a tree and I thought a fun family day on the farm would be the way to go.

Two thumbs way up! They had a tractor train, a corn pit, an animal petting area, and free hot cocoa!
Not to mention, nestled deep in the rows of trees, you just happened upon Santa and Ms. Claus. How magical is that?! 

After perusing all the trees, we found the perfect cedar to take home with us. Jake even got to help cut it down. The outing ended up being a ton of fun and could easily become a favorite Christmas tradition!

Ultimately, the our first real Christmas tree has been great! The cedar doesn't really shed needles like some other varieties. And I'm loving the full tree and subtle, authentic smell! So my new advice? 
Go for the real tree!!

This kiddo has already written his letter to Santa and his momma needs to get her act together and wrap some goodies for under the tree!

Come on Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

black friday print sale!

  Happy Thanksgiving week friends! 

I'm just stopping by to announce a huge sale over at the Live A Little Wilder print shop! Whether you're a Black Friday crazy person or just one to nab a few things online, this is a great opportunity to get that print you've been eyeing.

Now through Sunday, November 29th, get 50% any order in the shop! 
Stock up on Christmas gifts and deck your own halls!

Choose from shop favorites... 


Or even some new holiday prints...


Each print comes as a 8x10 digital file (and I'm happy to work with you for additional sizes!). Show your walls some love with easy art work or surprise a friend with a thoughtful gift. Now is the chance to stock up!


Click HERE to start shopping now! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

twig wreath place cards {tutorial}

Seriously guys. Any excuse for a place card with me, right? A quick glance over on the tutorial page and you'll find a number of fun place cards to make for your holiday meal. 
{Both the turkey pine cones and paper feathers have been used for Thanksgivings past!}

This year's Thanksgiving place cards were a collaboration with my three year old. While on one of our many trips to the craft store, he found the tiniest, sweetest little grapevine wreaths and asked if we could get them. A tiny rustic stick wreath? Of course, son!

And thus, our twig wreath place cards were born. 

I started by creating some little name banners. Snag your copy of the pattern {here}. 
You're welcome to type in your own names or hand write them.

Then I glued the banners onto the wreaths for a quick and super cute result!

I love that they're simple enough to be used any time of year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

when it comes to christmas cards...

One of my very favorite things about the holiday season is preparing and sending out our family Christmas card.
The design aspect of it appeals to me so so much. As does the idea of taking a really pretty family picture. With little ones especially, a nice picture seems to only happen once a year.
Last week a friend of mine called me and said, 
"Okay, I've kept your card from last year {pictured below} So spill it. Tell me your Christmas card secrets."
I didn't even know I had secrets! But we talked about the types of things that I over-analyze consider when I'm working on our Christmas cards. And since I'm in the middle of prepping our 2015 cards, I thought I'd bring you guys into the conversation too. Here's how I break it down...

My first level of obsession seems to fall on the topic of "what the heck are we going to wear?!" Our clothing choices have to be three things... coordinating, comfortable, and inexpensive. 
Coordinating. Read, that does not say matching. You don't have to dress all three of your kids in the same fabric. I'm looking at you, Mom! {It's okay, we'll blame the 80's}. Coordinating is the way to go. Choose a color palette that's complimentary to all parties and is subtle enough to not overwhelm your sweet faces. As you can see, last year we went with blues and greys. 
Comfortable. If all little Betsy likes to wear is play clothes and you put her in a stuffy ruffle dress, you're probably signing yourself up for a few tantrums. Think about what your people like to wear and what makes them comfortable and you'll ensure a much better picture. Let the kiddos help you choose out their own outfit, even!
Inexpensive. This might not be true of everyone, but our family certainly doesn't have the budget to buy a new wardrobe  just for these photos. So the very first place I like to shop is my own closet. I usually start with myself {because vanity!}, then move on to the kids, then J.B.. Grabbing one shirt, or even just a couple of accessories, is a much easier and cheaper way to go. 
Last year, I added that simple white necklace to my plain grey top to frill up my own outfit.

There are a lot of ideas here that you might want to think about ahead of time. 
 Are you taking your own photos? Don't forget a tripod. Double points for a shutter timer if you have one!
 Have you picked a location? I like to find a location that has a variety of potential backdrops. The ideal would be something that's picturesque but simple. Like your clothes, you don't want it to pull away from your sweet faces! Last year that meant a field on the side of the road. This year, I got uppity and went to the local Botanical Gardens. 
 Have you thought about what you'd like the picture to look like? If you've hired a photographer, hopefully they'll give some great direction on who might stand where. But if you're a DIYer or would like to bring some inspiration of your own, Pinterest has a ton of great ideas for poses and accessories. I might recommend saving a bunch of your favorites to your phone to try yourself. Just don't forget to act genuine and natural!

What site will you be using to order your cards? No surprise here that I'm a TinyPrints gal, but there are some other great sites out there that all offer a good product as well. Shop their cards and especially, their deals! If you find the perfect card, see what sort of special they're running, or may offer if that bad boy sits in your shopping cart overnight.

When you're searching for just the right fit, find a card that compliments the color and style of your photo. Most sites offer filter searches based on color, photo layout, and even card message. Look into the additional options like font coloring and trim options. Tailor your card to fit your own style!

Lastly, think about your envelopes! While some sites actually offer an option to address and send out your cards for you {for a fee!}, I really love to design an address style and print the addressing of each of my envelopes myself. Is this something you'd enjoy or have time for?

Maybe this is a no brainer, but make sure to keep one for yourself! I love to look back on previous years' Christmas cards. J.B. and I have sent one out every year that we've been married and its incredibly special to have a copy of each of those precious cards! Can you just imagine the sweet stack of memories I'll have as the years go by!

Happy card designing, friends!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

three months old {eliza}

I can't believe this little bug is three months old! I've officially packed away quite a few of her first size of clothes - so sad! But I love that she's so happy and growing like a little weed.

Weight: 11 lbs
Height: 22 1/2 inches
Eats: She still nurses but mostly is fed with a bottle. Girlfriend eats about five times a day. We live and die by the schedule
Sleeps: In her crib now! She's taking on about a 11-12 hour stretch at night and take three 2 hour ish naps during the day. Again, that schedule is the best ever.
Favorite things: Talking! Okay so its baby gibberish. But Eliza loves to sit and talk to you for hours. She just wants someone sitting there to listen to her go on and on. Jake swears he knows what she's saying, but when all the translations ended up being "I love Jake!" and "I have the best big brother!", we got skeptical. :)
Still a huge fan of bath time and her time under her baby gym as well.
Hates: The car seat is still the devil. Though we've added a travel sound machine that seems to help a little.

We're also starting some new therapies this month. Because of her spina bifida diagnosis, Eliza automatically qualifies for physical therapy through a state program. She'll also receive private PT through our insurance. I'm equal parts nervous and excited about this. I'm anxious to hear a professionals take on what she can do current and what we can work on. But its still so daunting!

Otherwise, we're still pretty much in "normal" baby mode. So on to the fun stuff! Here are a few of our current must-have with Eliza:

Fisher-Price Piano Gym - There are so many different types of play gyms. This one was a specific purchase because we thought Eliza might really take to kicking her feet against the keys - something we obviously want to encourage as much as possible. And holy moley, we were right! She loves this thing! And I love watching her play!

Boudreaux's Butt Paste - One of the not so lovely side effects of spina bifida is a constant pooplosion situation. It's manageable but if we aren't careful, Eliza will get a not so lovely diaper rash. Our first line of defense is Boudreaux's, which seems to keep any rashes at bay if used regularly.

4Moms Mamaroo Bouncer - This swing/bouncer combo was something I thought I'd never purchase based on the price. But with the suggestion of a few NICU nurses and some very generous gift cards from my baby shower, we elected to go ahead and get one for Eliza. Our thinking is that with her limited mobility, she might use it a bit longer. And if she doesn't, then the resale value on these is also great!
Ergobaby Baby Carrier - I am late to the baby wearing game. I'm not sure if its because I just didn't know any better with Jake or because now that I have two kids, I need all the help I can get. But now, I'm totally down. I have a quick sling wrap for fast trips, a DIY moby, and my favorite, an Ergo. The Ergo is so light and comfortable! It's perfect for carrying my sweet girl all over the place.

Cloud B Gentle Giraffe - White noise machines are a present from God. I'm convinced of this. And we loved using this Gentle Giraffe inside Jake's crib at bedtime. Now Eliza has inherited this little gem.
FridaBaby Nasal Aspirator - I know, I know. You think its gross right? I thought so too. I mean, just the thought of it is gross. But I promise there is a full filter system so nothing nasty gets anywhere near your mouth. And I'm telling you, nothing works to clear out yucky noses and sinuses like this thing. It's amazing!

Honey Apple Baby Wash - You can't beat that yummy little baby smell! And this Johnson and Johnson wash is my very favorite!

So far, its been a pretty breezing three months with this little lady. She's an easy going little gem.
Happy three months, sweet gal!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Wilder Wild West Halloween

Another Halloween in the books, y'all!
I swear this is one of my favorite family holidays. It's the perfect excuse for J.B. and I to dress up like the kids and have tons of fun. Plus, a diy project. Can't beat that!

This year, we went with a cowboys and indians theme. 
It was the perfect mix of "things to buy" and "things to make".

My boys wore jeans, shirts and boots that they already owned. 
Then I purchased cowboy hats, navy bandannas, sheriff's badges, and western guns for each of them. 
Finally, I made them each a pair of chaps from some cheap suede. I used this tutorial and it actually turned out to be quite simple since the suede didn't fray {so no hemming}

Eliza and I were a bit more work. I died a white shirt and a white onesie into this tan color. Then I created a quick fringe skirt out of a brown jersey knit fabric. The same jersey knit was used for some armbands and anklebands for each of us as well. What made of all that so simple is that the jersey knit doesn't have to be hemmed or even fitted perfectly since it stretches. 
Eliza got some brown baby legs {my tutorial HERE} to keep her warm. I had every intention of wearing brown tights or leggings under my skirt, but the weather was so great that I did without! I already owned a pair of brown suede wedge booties that matched perfectly so the final piece was a quick ribbon/feather headdress for each of us. 
It wasn't until we were walking out the door to our church's festival that I realized I already owned a great aztec print sling wrap that would match our outfits. So I carried Eliza around in that. She was the perfect papoose! 

I think I spent more time shopping around for the right guns/hats/fabric/etc than I did actually making all of the outfits. I definitely consider that a Halloween win!

And goodness, Jake loved being a sheriff! I wasn't completely sure he'd go for it quite as much as some cheapo costume of one of his favorite cartoon characters but he was totally on board. He loved telling our neighbors "Trick or treat! Reach for the sky!"

This year, we enjoyed our church's huge and ever fabulous Light the Night festival, a super cute preschool party day, trick or treating at family's houses, and carivaning around our own neighborhood. Halloween lasted about a week at the Wilder house this year and Jake adored every second of it! He's at such a fun age!

I hope your holiday was extra fun!

Check out our previous Halloweens!