Fall Festival Time


We kicked off Fall this past weekend with our first festival of the season. Fall is one of my favorite seasons - deep colors, mums, crisp cool air, Halloween and Thanksgiving and crunching leaves. Juicy apples and pies and pumpkins. And apparently Violet is a fan too. Check it out:


She had a blast! We walked away at the end of the day with a delicious loaf of caramel apple bread and some tears (because, "Mommy, I just want to do one more thing!") Luckily we got a smile after promising to come back another day. Don't worry sweetie, I think we're going to attend one festival per weekend - mama's got you covered! xo, Lauren

And the winner is...

The winner of the Minted giveaway is Amanda C! Thanks everyone for playing :)

P.S. You can still enjoy 20% off of your holiday cards if you're an early bird through Monday by using the code PREVIEW2013! xo, Lauren

My Everyday

I don't know about you, but I'm personally kinda nosy curious about what a typical day looks like for other mamas. So since I can't really be a fly on the wall, I asked some of my favorite bloggers to share bits and pieces of their everyday lives here on A Lovely Lark. Today's topic? Breakfast!

Here's what a typical breakfast looks like at our house...

Although we (of course) don't eat them every day, a big stack of fluffy pancakes is a regular occurrence around here. Violet couldn't have much in the sweet foods department when she was intolerant to dairy (it's in pretty much EVERY dessert known to man), but we found that good ol' Bisquick is dairy free if you substitute a cup of water or coconut milk for the cow's milk.

It's now one of her favorite meals in the world, so we try to make them a couple of times a week. Not the most creative or healthful thing in the world, but isn't there a saying about eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper? If there's any truth to it Violet has that one down in spades!

Now for some more healthful mamas ;) Here's a peek into Drea (who always has seriously mouth-watering food on her gorgeous blog - you should check out her "things on toast" series - who knew you could do so many yummy things with toast?!) of OhDearDrea's typical morning meal:

We typically do toast and a coconut yogurt or cereal of some sort:

1. (vegan) cream cheese and honey on sourdough toast
2. avocado toast
3. (vegan) cream cheese with avocado with blue berries and strawberries

...theres a trend there, huh? haha. I didn't even realize it until I started writing it. Guess we like our toast. 

Thanks Lauren!

Her food pics are always so pretty - I'm totally wanting some fun/colorful plates now!

And last but not least, Brandy of Heart & Habit (love her blog - she has the most adorable, uber stylish, happy kids on the block):

A typical breakfast for us usually happens before the sun rises - we are generally early risers and now the sun is a late comer. So I snapped a pic of my very own cold breakfast:

 The kids have caught on to my love for Grapefruits so instead of a full one I am left with two slices, my coffee is cold because I've been busy getting the day prepped (or just getting back from yoga) and I almost totally forgot to eat my breakfast (chia seeds, hemp seeds, almonds, strawberries and almond milk) because I was distracted by my people. In my opinion it's the recipe for a perfect breakfast. 

Mmmm - they seriously both look so yummy (and creative and healthy!) I'd love to see what all of the rest of you do for breakfast for your toddler/preschooler/kid/teen/self! It doesn't have to be pretty or styled or super healthy or wildly creative - just real. Your honest to goodness everyday breakfast. If you would like to share (and satiate my curiosity) feel free to link up below (or just leave a comment!) And if you want continue to share your everyday with us, I listed the dates and topics we'll be covering below. Feel free to suggest topics too - I'm totally open to more ideas on how I can be nosy ;) A big thank you to Drea and Brandy for sharing a tidbit of your lives with all of us! xo, Lauren

Wed Oct 2 - Stories we're reading
Wed Oct 16th - My mom uniform
Wed Oct 23rd - How we do the grocery store
Wed Nov 13th - Typical Lunch
Wed Nov 20th - Naptime
Dec 4th - Favorite Holiday Traditions
Wed Dec 11th - Favorite toys
Wed Jan 15th - Getting the chores done
Wed Jan 29th -Typical Dinner 
Wed Feb 12th - Arts & Crafts
Wed Feb 26th - Bedtime

Ideas for Violet's Room

I have some credit to use over at Serena & Lily and was considering getting a new rug for Violet's room. The rug she currently has is completely annoying to keep clean - it has raised parts and lower parts and I just feel like our vacuum never gets down into all of the fibers. She's also obsessed with the colors red, blue, and purple - they're her "fave-wits," so I would love to pull some more of those colors into the room for her.

Since the last time I shared the space, we've switched her over to a toddler bed from a twin. We were trying to avoid that transition piece of furniture, but after many sleepless nights we caved and bought the toddler bed out of desperation. It was the best move we ever made! She's so much more comfortable in it - the sides give her a feeling of security and help keep her in the bed. (With the twin we ended up trying the mattress on the floor so she wasn't so high up, but she'd constantly roll out and end up laying beside her bed/half on half off/etc. What can I say, she's a thrashy sleeper just like her mama :)) She's got new bedding as well, which she LOVES ("wed, boo, and pupple" flowers - oh my!) - in fact she gets angry when I wash her sheets because she only wants to lay on her flower ones lol.

I also wouldn't mind freshening up her room with a few new accessories - some artwork to add a little more color into the space, and maybe a shiny lamp? The current print from Fine Little Day would look pretty nice in mama and papa's room. Maybe something like this:

Of course, we're on a budget with me being off of work right now, so no plans to do a big update at the moment, but hey, a mom can dream, right? So what do you think of the rug? Yea or nay?

Sources: moose rack, love you artwork, daisy print, dhurrie rug, gold dot pillowcases, poketo mobile, nosegay sheet set, wooden fox, gold lamp, heart print, floral painting, popsicle print

Magnetic Haunted House DIY (Free Printable)


I came across printable magnet paper at Michael's the other day and knew I had to use it to make something fun for Violet. She loves playing with magnets - especially a princess/castle magnet scene that my sister gave to her as a gift. So with Halloween fast approaching, I set to work creating a "spooky" haunted house scene for her to play with. She requested a witch (so far that's what she wants to be for Halloween this year - like the wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz. Thinking of making Lucy a munchkin maybe?) I probably had as much fun making it as she is having playing with it (which is a lot!)

She likes it so much I decided to post it as a free printable for you all as well. You can buy the magnet paper at Michael's, most office supply stores, and on Amazon. It takes a lot longer to print on than regular paper and smelled a little bit like burnt rubber while printing, but otherwise I didn't have any problems. The kind I bought only works with inkjet printers - not sure if there is any that works with laser printers or not. You can (obviously) play with it on anything magnetic - the fridge, a metal tray, white board or magnetic chalkboard.

If you don't want to buy the magnetic paper it could be printed on regular paper and played with that way as well, although something thicker like cardstock would probably be sturdier. And for more fun you could even color on it with markers! Stay tuned - I had so much fun I'll probably have another one for you next week (jack o'lantern decorating perhaps?) Hope your kids love it as much as mine does!

Happy Haunting! xo, Lauren

Lucy Vivian: Five Months Old


I can't believe it little girl - you are five months old! Nearly half a year has passed since I gave birth to my tiny little baby. Each day we wake up and I swear I can feel that you've grown since I last held you. You are such a special gift to our family - so full of smiles sweetness. I think you may be the definition of sugar and spice and everything nice :)

In fact, you've grown so much that we finally transitioned you to your crib at night time. You've been napping in there like a champ, but I was still holding on to having you next to me at night. Considering that you were taking up nearly the entire co-sleeper, I think it was time! You've done great and the video monitor that your Aunt Nikki, Uncle Dan, Nonny, and Poppy gave us as a gift this past Christmas has been a huge help to any separation anxiety your mama might be having. I love that when I wake up at night (as I often do) from some tiny sound, I can simply glance at the screen and see whether or not your are still asleep. At first you were doing really well and sleeping 'til about 5 or 5:30 AM for you mama, but lately you've been adding in one earlier waking as well. Luckily you nurse quickly and go right back to sleep, so I can't complain too much!

Nap time has gotten easier again. Most days you fall asleep in your Ergo carrier, and shortly after your sister and I gently place you in the crib, turn on your white noise (to block out those toddler squeals that inevitably pierce every corner of our house), and tiptoe out of your room for some big girl play time. You seem to be taking either a short morning and a long afternoon nap or three shorter naps these days. You've also started to go down earlier at bed time - between 7:30 and 8:30 (on a good night) instead of 8:30-9:30. Unlike your big sister you never nurse to sleep - you two are definitely very different babies. It's fun to learn all of your likes and dislikes, and just when I think I have them all figured out, something changes. I've learned from my experience with your sister to expect this, so it isn't quite as frustrating this time around. We just roll with the punches!

You're extremely interested in the world around you these days and don't want to miss a thing. Your favorite places to be are probably playing outside or on an outing, because there is so much to see beyond our four boring walls. You now love spending a lot of time on the floor and reach for your toys, which inevitably end up in your mouth. You love laying on your tummy, and are so strong! Push ups are the name of the game and you usually end up pushing yourself backward, so I have to keep a good eye on you! Luckily I have your sister to help me do just that - she loves to report on your activities. You love watching her and she can almost always get a smile from your pretty face, even when you're super fussy. It's so much fun to see your relationship with your sister grow.

We've packed away some of your baby things - your co-sleeper, swing, and play gym and traded them for the pack n play, a big play blanket, and the Bumbo. I think you'll be sitting on your own soon though - you can sit unassisted for a short time right now before you end up falling to one side or doing a face plant :) We also gave you your first tastes of cereal (you seem to like it!) and will probably soon have to dig out the high chair. So many changes as we transition from having a helpless tiny newborn to a big bouncy baby! All of this is speeding by so quickly, especially with having two to keep up with - I can't believe how fast the time has gone. Can't wait to see what next month brings. We love you so much our little Lucy! Love, Mommy, Daddy, and Violet

Even More DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids

There are some really cute store-bought costumes out there these days, but I personally still prefer DIY costumes. My mom always made our costumes when we were kids and there's just something about having a one-of-a-kind, cobbled together, creative get up that really gets me. Here are some favorite DIY Halloween costumes for kids and babies that I've come across this year:

Click through for more DIY Halloween costume ideas after the break!

Pretty Wooden Puzzles

Violet's really into puzzles lately, and she's actually really good at them! We get a lot of our cardboard versions at the Salvation Army - you can't beat the price and they count all of the pieces for you to make sure everything is there. But I can't help but keep my eye out for some pretty wooden puzzles when I'm trawling the depths of Pinterest, Etsy, and the like. Here are a few favorites I've come across lately:

GOLO wooden puzzle, hippo family puzzle ($22.22), elephant parade puzzle ($15), vintage owl puzzle ($40), safari jumble wooden puzzle ($34), moon phase puzzle ($28), boat puzzle ($24.99), puzzle people ($39), United States wooden puzzle ($69),

P.S. Don't forget to enter to win $100 at Minted.com!

Lovely Little Shop


Aren't these DIY embroidery kit plushies just the most adorable thing you've ever seen?! I don't know that mine would turn out so well, but I'm willing to give it a go. You can find these lovelies and more over at Kiriki on Etsy. xo, Lauren

P.S. Don't forget to enter to win $100 at Minted.com!

$100 Giveaway from Minted

{This giveaway is closed}

So I know it's a little early to be talking about holiday cards, but Minted just launched their new holiday collection and have graciously offered a $100 credit to one lucky reader! Last year I designed and printed our own Christmas cards, but after using Minted for Lucy's birth announcements I'm thrilled to be working with them again this holiday season.

The quality was really amazing, and I love all of their new features, like their unique card shapes (we went with rounded corners for Lucy's birth announcements, but they have a bunch of different options), gold foil cards (you know I'm a sucker for some shiny gold foil), and my favorite - they'll address your holiday cards for FREE people. Sign me up for some of that! (One year I wrote out all of my cards and never sent them because I just never found the time to address them - shameful).

Here's what I'm considering this year:

1. Love the classic look of this card and, of course, there's the gold foil calling my name:

2. Infographics are super fun. Kind of like a newsletter and photo card in one neat little package:

3. As a mother of an not-yet-sleeping-through-the-night baby and a Mommy-I-had-a-bad-dweam toddler this one made me laugh out loud:

4. Love the simplicity of this:

5. We could have a lot of fun with this one:

It was hard to narrow it down to five, and it's going to be even harder to choose just one design! To enter to win $100 toward your own Minted order, just click here and enter your info. You can enter until 9/25/13 and a winner will be chosen on September 26th. Good luck! xo, Lauren

P.S. If you are on the ball you can use the code PREVIEW2013 to get 20% off your Minted order through 9/23/13

I am an affiliate of Minted and will receive a small commission on all customer sales. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

{This giveaway is closed}

Let's Go Camping!

Working on another fun Pin Party with Fisher Price and Project Nursery tonight at 6pm PST/9pm EST! This time I was inspired to create a woodsy/camping themed space - you can check out all of these items and more by following me over on Pinterest. xo, Lauren

Violet's Favorite Apps

I've been trying to find fun apps for Violet to play with while I'm feeding Lucy, as she always seems to get really jealous while we're nursing. I've tried reading to her during that time, but Lucy is a very thrashy eater and I'm just not coordinated enough to manage it all without frying my last nerve. Luckily we've found a bunch that occupy her and make her feel like she's getting to do something special. Here are her faves:

Nosy Crow's Little Red Riding Hood:

We seriously both love this app - it's really interactive, a super cute take on the story (no one gets gobbled up), and my favorite part is that it's a choose your own adventure book as there are different paths you can choose for Red Riding Hood to follow.

The Three Little Pigs by the Nosy Crow:

This one isn't quite as interactive as Red Riding Hood, but Violet still loves it. For some reason we can't get the wolf to blow with our microphone - we have to press the button (maybe because we have an older iPad?) but otherwise this one is a ton of fun!

Nosy Crow's Cinderella:

Can you tell we love Nosy Crow? This one is very interactive as well - Cinderella asks you to help clean up the kitchen and get her stepsisters ready for the ball, and you can aid the fairy Godmother in finding items to transform so that Cinderella can attend as well. Violet acts like she is sooo tired after helping Cinderella clean up the kitchen - it's pretty hilarious!

Toca Boca Hair Salon 1 & 2:
Violet LOVES to cut, shave, comb, wash, curl, and blow dry the hair of all of the quirky characters in these apps. The second version has a lot more options, but she likes a lot of the fun characters (like the lion above) in the first one.

Foot Spa and Cupcakeroo:

Okay, kind of creepy, but Violet apparently loves to give pedicures. She washes the foot, rinses it, trims the toenails and cuticles, removes the old "toenolish", and of course paints the nails, and outfits them with sparkly gems and new shoes.

Cupcakeroo is basically virtual baking - you choose your recipe, mix up all of the ingredients, add icing and candles and all kind of goodies on top. And then of course you blow out the candles and eat the cake - yum!

Disney's Storytime App:

Love this - your child gets to choose books by character, and while at first I thought it would just be shortened versions of the movies, I found out that they are actually totally new stories with the characters your kid already loves. You get a few books for free and then can buy credits for your child to "purchase" new stories. The illustrations are very good (I'd expect nothing less from Disney), and your kid can choose to have the book read to them or to read it by him or her self, so I'd say that this one has some longevity.

So there you have it - if you need to entertain a toddler for oh, say 15-20 minutes I highly recommend all of these. Sorry, most are not free, but a few bucks (to me) is a small price to pay to not have a toddler crying and climbing on you while trying to feed a wiggle worm of a baby.

What are your favorite toddler/preschool age apps? I'm sure Violet will eventually tire of these, so I'm happy for any recommendations - thanks so much! xo, Lauren

Early Christmas Shopping?

Sooo much cuteness on Zulily today! Looks like I'm doing some early Christmas shopping for my nephews (for once!)

Little Artist

Violet is at such a fun age - she's been drawing people a lot lately, and this is her most recent creation - a portrait of our family (she's the red one of course - see all of that curly hair???)

And here is a self-portrait (on the left) and a portrait of me (on the right) both done in chalk:

A striking resemblance, no? Isn't it so fun to see your kids grow and learn new things? Can't wait to see what she comes up with next! xo, Lauren

Dreaming of a Laundry Room


Right now my washer and dryer are in the dungeon that we call a basement, but someday I hope to have a real laundry room. For now I'll just have to dream one up in my head. Enter my latest ideabook for Houzz.com - a lovely wallpaper accent wall, front-loading washer and dryer, and a pretty striped hamper? Yes please! You can find more info and all of the sources here.

Happy Friday! xo, Lauren

P.S. Recipe for a rustic farmhouse kitchen and if I had a vanity

Favorite Parenting Links Lately


1. Sounds like a typical conversation with my oldest child :)

2. Stop comparing, start doing what works for you and your family - LOVE this.

3. I am a f/t wohm—Work Outside the Home Mom—have a career, and I don’t feel smart or interesting anymore! I don’t talk about soccer or coupons, but just feel too tired to talk about anything that interesting. Wow, I could have written this one myself - often how I feel in social situations these days, especially when I'm with friends who aren't mamas.

4. Adorably hilarious.

5. Birth stories from two of my favorite blogger mamas - sweet little Smith and cutie pie Charlie.

P.S. You can follow us on Instagram @alovelylark

P.P.S. Favorite parenting links from June and July and Lucy's birth story.

Lovely Little Shop: Zuzii

I'm kind of more than a little obsessed with Zuzii - a little shop specializing in baby and kids' footwear and accessories. I'd love a pair of each of these shoes for Lucy, and pretty much ALL of the hair accessories for Violet (If she'd only wear them! She's more than a little obsessed with her simple Goodie fabric headbands :))

Wouldn't this hat be super adorable for this fall and winter??? The furry pom pom just kills me.

You can check out more of Zuzii's pretty accessories here. xo, Lauren

Fall Faves for Lucy

Lucy doesn't need quite as many new things, as she can wear a lot of Violet's hand-me-downs (I just have to dig them out!), but I can't help but look. Here are my baby girl faves for fall:

Hooded sweater, chambray dot dress, heart sweater, onesies, tights, stripey sweater dress, pink bloucher, leather slip on, bow trousers, ruffle overalls, scallop dress, knot headbands, dot sweatshirt

Now to go hunt for that box of baby clothing...

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