IMG_5610Nothing screams summer quite like friendship bracelets. As a child, I have a vivid memory of making these with my cousins and best friends – especially on rainy, summer afternoons.

Last summer, Eloise dabbled in making friendship bracelets. She learned how to make the Chinese Staircase pattern and practiced until she made them perfect. She enjoyed choosing color combinations that she knew friends and family would find special. As school started up, she let the craft take a back seat to homework, soccer, and gymnastics. However, with the rainy, summer days upon us again, she has picked up the craft once again.

This summer, Eloise has learned a new design – the Diagonal Pattern. She’s excited again to choose unique color combinations for whom her bracelets are designed. Her first bracelet, designed for herself, includes neon brights in orange, coral, pink, and lavender. Good choices, Eloise!



IMG_5593Diagonal Pattern Friendship Bracelet


  • embroidery floss
  • scissors
  • safety pin


  1. Choose 3 or 4 colors of embroidery floss
  2. Cut each thread to a length of 60-65″
  3. Fold the floss in half and knot to create a loop at one end
  4. Use a safety pin to anchor floss
  5. Loop thread 1 over thread 2 to form a number “4”
  6. Take thread 1 and go under thread 2 then up over thread 1
  7. Pull thread 1 up to tighten (hold thread 2)
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 with thread 1 (you should have two knots now)
  9. Use thread 1 to make two knots on each of your remaining threads
  10. Repeat process with remaining threads until desired bracelet length is achieved

If all else fails, there’s a YouTube tutorial for everything! I hope your little one enjoys this classic summer activity as much as my Eloise does.





Eloise and Charlotte Cate are officially finished with school, and summer is upon us! Today we wrote out our first-ever Summer bucket list, and we are ready to start checking things off the list! Compiling the list got the girls excited and helped to add some fun to the monotonous rainy days we’ve had over the past week. If you haven’t made a bucket list with your little ones, I highly recommend it!

I can’t believe Charlotte Cate will be starting Pre-K soon! I am trying to soak up every last minute of having the girls home together before they are both in “big” school. Even when they get sick of each other, we are going to make this the best summer yet!


SUMMER FUNOutfit Details: Everbloom Girls Cotton Sundress // Everbloom pompom headband // Everbloom dot capri leggings // Everbloom panda t-shirt // Everbloom Lola skirt // Everbloom pompom headband


IMG_3836We love books around here – board books, picture books, chapter books, fiction books, nonfiction book, the list goes on and on and on. Our love for children’s books really comes as no surprise as Eloise was named after the main character in one of my childhood favorite’s, Eloise.

As a preschool teacher, picture books and board books have always been important. I’ve always loved that my girls can sit for what seems forever to read and look through them. As Eloise has grown as a reader, it’s been fun to watch her share her love of reading with her sister. Often, I will find her reading to Charlotte Cate.

Story time has evolved in our home, and as a mama it makes my heart smile big. What once was a time led mostly by me, has turned into a time shared between my girls and me. It’s amazing to see them self-select books, read predictable texts, decode new words, make real-world connections, etc. Oftentimes, Eloise will fully lead story time now; it’s incredible to see her interaction with a book, and her ability to bring books alive for her sister.

I’ve completed a round-up of some of our favorite books throughout the years.

0-2 board2Shopping Details: Pantone Colors // First 100 Words // Goodnight Moon // A Night Night Prayer // Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? // Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? // This Little Piggy Went to Prada // You Are My Cupcake // Big Girl Panties // You Are My Sunshine // Teeth Are Not for Biting 

3-5 board2

Shopping Details: Jesus Loves Me! // Llama Llama Red Pajama // Press Here // Once Upon a Time // When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really, Angry // Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox // Baby Beluga // Down By the Bay // My First Book of Girl Power // Even Superheroes Have Bad Days

6-7 2

Shopping Details: Little People, Big Dreams Coco Chanel // Madeline // Eloise // Chloe, instead // American Girl: Ultimate Visual Guide // The Bear Scouts // Pete the Cat Too Cool for School // Elephant and Piggie The Thank You Book // Henry and Mudge the First Book // Junie B. Jones First Grader (at last)

Here’s a video clip of Charlotte Cate “reading” Big Girl Panties, one of our favorites for zero to two-year-olds!

I’m always on the hunt for more books to build our little home library. Do y’all have any great recommendations? I’d love to try them out! Please share your favorites in the comments.





Many of you have asked, “How do you get such great photos of your kids?” Trial and Error. I’ve always loved photography, but learning a DSLR takes lots of time and lots of practice. Especially with moving objects such as young children.

What camera do I shoot with?

I have a Canon T6i. I’m obsessed with its ease of use, and the wifi capability is a game-changer! Using the Canon app, I’m able to upload photos directly to my iPhone. This feature is especially helpful on vacations or special events when I need that instant gratification and the ability to share with others quickly.

Previously, I had a Canon XTi, which I loved, but wanted some updated features and capabilities that the T6i offered.

While I do think the camera is important, the lens is equally, if not more, important. I do not shoot with the included kit lens; they just don’t give me the photos my heart desires. Good lenses are investments. But keep in mind that your lenses can be used with future cameras. I suggest investing in a lens that stays open at 2.8 when zoomed in. It’s pricey, but that’s what it takes to achieve the results you want.  Continue reading “PHOTOGRAPHING MY GIRLS”



Mother’s Day seems like the most appropriate day to introduce all you mamas to Mack + Ro Illustrations. As a mama, precious artwork that reminds me of my girls gives me all the feels! Thanks to Instagram, I stumbled upon her artwork, and it was love at first sight! She is super talented, y’all.

Artist Jen is mother to two boys – Macklin and Ronan. She says, “Creativity has always been my life source. It motivates me, gives me energy, and fills my heart and soul. My hope is that these illustrations bring you as much joy as they brought me while painting them!”

Scan 3 copy

How does it work?

Before placing your order, you’ll need to pick out a photo of “your people”.

Some tips when it comes to your photo:

  • It is helpful to have a “full length” photo where everyone’s whole body is included (head to toe).
  • The picture should have people dressed in the clothes you want painted.
  • Don’t worry about the setting – it will not be included in the painting.
  • If you’d like to send Jen your photo before placing your order to make sure it works, please send to: She is able to complete everything over email, which is super helpful for busy mamas!

All paintings are on professional watercolor paper sized 5.5 x 8.5″.

Jen has created a special code for all Mama etc. readers! Use code MAMAETC for 10% off your purchase. 

I absolutely adore the two portraits she did of my girls (You may recognize their suits from my sister, sister post). Thank you so much, Jen! And Happy Mother’s Day!


IMG_0121Would you judge me if I told you I’ve eaten the same thing for dinner for eight weeks? Good. Because I’d guess I’ve eaten the same kale salad 5 out of 7 nights a week for the past eight weeks. And nine weeks ago, had you told me I’d be eating kale salads as much as I have, I’d laugh in your face and roll my eyes.

Eight weeks ago, my sister-in-law challenged me to start Kayla Itsines’ #bbg. That’s for another day, but the challenge did influence how I eat. I’ve been much more thoughtful with what I put in my body. Luckily, I had recently been introduced to this delicious salad and homemade dressing from a friend just weeks before starting #bbg. I knew if I added it to our meal planning, I’d be on the track to healthier living.

I’m about to let you in on how good this dinner is. Y’all, it’s on another level of good. It will make a kale eater out of all you non-believers. Believe me, I was on team anti-kale a few weeks ago.


IMG_0104Lemon Honey Dressing

  • 1/2 cup on freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice (2 medium sized lemons + 2 small limes // lemons and limes can be substituted for any citrus)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a pyrex measuring cup, squeeze lemons and limes.
  2. Add honey, salt, and pepper.
  3. Whisk.
  4. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified.


(Do you see those sweet little Eloise hands? She loves to help us in the kitchen.)


Kale Salad

  • baby kale
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cucumber
  • handful of sunflower seeds
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • lemon honey dressing
  1. Chop baby kale, avocado, and cucumber.
  2. Add handful of sunflower seeds and handful of dried cranberries.
  3. Pour lemon honey dressing and stir until combined.

We always have a protein sliced and served atop this salad. Ideas range from chicken breasts, shrimp, salmon, red fish, steak, etc. Really there’s no bad combination. Enjoy, y’all!









DL-2224 (1)BackI recently posted about beach lifestyle photoshoots and what to wear; however, studio shoots are a bit different in my opinion. Below are a few things I like to remember when styling my family for studio photoshoots.

  1. Coordinating pieces but not matching. Stick with a common color. Or possibly let one piece be the inspiration for the shoot, and coordinate the other pieces to it. While I usually stray from all white or all black for a lifestyle shoot, I think this is a rule that can slide when in a studio setting. In our last two studio shoots, I’ve chosen an all-white palette and a black-and-white palette. In my opinion, black or white pieces, with beautiful textures and details, offer high contrast that really pops in black and white photography. You want your family to shine, and your clothing to compliment the overall look.
  2. Classic pieces. When choosing outfits, choose classic pieces that withstand the test of time. Pieces that you will look back on in twenty years and not regret.
  3. Dress comfortably … especially if young children are involved! This is important regardless the location of your shoot. Remember you will be sitting, standing, running, dancing, etc. You don’t want to be constantly adjusting your straps or tugging on your too-short dress.
  4. Have fun and be you! If you do, I promise you will end up with some beautiful photographs.