Being Brickner : August 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Strategies for Surviving With Sick Kids

One of the (many) parenting lessons I've learned since having Avalon & becoming a family of four, is that when you double the amount of kids you have, you are just about tripling the chance of someone being sick.  At the least.  Last year was by far the sickest our house has ever been, it pretty much felt like one of us was sick at all times and then as soon as that person got better, they passed it on to someone else.  So with school starting back in just a couple of weeks, I am preparing myself for the worst, and hoping for the best!  Through googling, a little bit of trial & error, and polling some of my IG expert mamas, I have learned some tips for surviving (and keeping your sanity) with sick little ones, and I thought I would share some of those today.

1 - Fruit juice popsicles.  My girls are popsicles addicts, and when they are sick and pretty much refusing to drink or eat anything, this usually does the trick to keep them hydrated.

2 - Cuddles and snuggles and their favorite DVDs.  Unless it was directed by our pediatrician, I learned long ago that there is no reason to separate them if they are sick, they just pass it to each other one way or another anyways.  They both love DVDs and a little rest and relaxation is usually all they need.  Bonus points if you get to jump in, too!

3 - The BRAT diet.  Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.  My grandmother used to always tell me this and now I remember it for my own kids!  We also make this recipe (that I shared here), that our girls love even when they are not sick.

4 - Blankets in the dryer.  Waverly loves to put a warm blanket on, even when she is feeling just fine, so it's nice to be able to give her something a little extra special when she's not.

5 - A pillow under the mattress.  We did this for Avalon when she was really little and had reflux, and also rely on it when either of the girls are congested.

6 - Painting nails, coloring, I Spy (one of our favorites!) or other laid-back activities.  Waverly can be as sick as I've seen her, and she never ever says no to painting nails.  Pull out some of these activities!

7 - Gentle massage.  We love this anytime, but especially for some extra love for our babies when they are sick.

8 - For teething or sick babes, baby Tylenol and Motrin, or even switching it off.  And frozen washcloths or baby feeders for them to much on!

9 - Puffs Plus Lotion.  We rely on this year round, but especially when our girls are sick and during cold/flu or allergy season.  Puffs Puff Lotion is America's #1 lotion tissue and is dermatologist tested to be gentle on sensitive skin, which we LOVE, because us redheads have some sensitive skin.  You can buy Puff's Plus Lotion at Sam's Club in a huge pack that will last you all winter long, and can enter at the bottom this post to win $500 to Sam's Club, $250 for yourself and $250 to give to someone else.  How fun is that?!!!  Good luck! #soothingsorenoses

10 - And when all else fails, drink all the wine!  And just remember that like every other part of parenting, this shall pass, too.  It always does. :)

Do you have any other secrets to survival with kids who aren't feeling well?!  I would love to hear!
And don't forget to enter the giveaway, best of luck friends!

Puffs Plus Lotion

I was compensated for this post, but all thoughts & opinions are my own.  #stockuponsoothingsoftness

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


I rarely share weekend posts anymore, but this one was just too good to pass up!  My brother came home from Colorado to celebrate both of our birthdays, our days are exactly two weeks apart and I have so many memories from shared birthday parties when we were little.  The girls always are so excited to see him when he visits, and it's always fun to have a reason to be way cooler than we usually are and get out out of our usual weekend evening routine.  My favorite part might just have been Waverly & Avalon running free and ridiculously happy on the beach at 8:30 in the dark (we don't let them out at night much).  And of course, shopping sans kids was pretty amazing too.  You guys!  I even got to try something on in the fitting room! :)

Waverly ran into my room the morning of my birthday with the biggest smile on her face holding a card that of course, my husband had gotten and she had recited to him what to write.  It said "dear mommy, happy birthday.  i would like a baby and also to go camping".  May she always write me birthday cards JUST like that.

PS - I got the dress I am wearing over the weekend and love it so much!  It is super comfortable and can also be worn with leggings, and comes in lots of other prints!  Definitely getting a few more and definitely recommend it.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Baking with Kids

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FavoritesInAMix #CollectiveBias

We absolutely love baking around here, I've loved it since way before I was a mom and appreciate it even more now as a way to make memories with my girls.  There's just something so sweet about being in the kitchen with kids, Waverly has adored it since she was really little and likes it even more now than ever before.  It helps her practice some independence, to follow directions, and is such a great way for us to bond!  Sometimes we do it as a "big girls" only activity and other times Avalon joins us in the solly wrap and loves to watch, a win-win for everyone!

We recently teamed up with Pillsbury to practice our baking game and try out their new Pillsbury™ Girl Scout™ Baking Mixes, which are inspired by girl scout cookies.  You guys, is there anything better than combining the taste of all-american, delicious girl scout cookies with brownies & cupcakes?!  Um, no.  They are so, so good, we absolutely loved them (and of course loved making them, too)!

When it comes to kids and baking, the biggest thing I have learned along the way is to really let your little one take part in every step.  Sometimes the end result doesn't look as perfect (or maybe even taste as good, or good at all) as it would have if you have taken charge more, but that just adds to the sweetness, right?!  The good news with these is that it was so easy that Waverly really got to be involved and they still tasted good.  We chose to make the Girl Scout™ Thin Mints™ Cupcake Mix, and it was basically like following any other box recipe for a cake, and then adding the topping on at the end.  Waverly helped with every part, even adding the topping part, and both girls loved eating them. :)

These new Pillsbury™ Girl Scout™ Baking Mixes are available at Target, in addition to the Girl Scouts™ Thin Mint™ Cupcake Mixes, we also got the Girl Scouts™ Brownie™ Baking Mixes. There are also other flavors as well!  There is currently a cartwheel offer to save 20% off purchase of product from 7/31 to 10/1.

Happy halfway through the week, friends!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Things I Want To Remember

We are at the point in our life, with our babes, that our days are pretty much a roller coaster.  When life is good, it is amazing.  The kind of moments that I have always dreamed of and ones that truly can take my breath away, these girls that we made (we made them!) are so incredible and I am beyond grateful that I get to raise them and forever be their mama.  And then when it's not, it's not.  We've had more than our fair share of toddler meltdowns this summer and to be candid, they can be an epic trainwreck.  They can easily make you question your sanity and make you want to completely meltdown yourself.  

And sometimes, you do.

But at the end of the day, everyday, I choose to remember the good.  Because there truly isn't a day where we don't have SO much of it.  I would take every hard moment ten times over for all the others, these are 100% "the days of my life" and I don't ever want to take them for granted, or to forget any little part of them.  So I thought I would round up some of of the little things I adore so much about my girls right now, their little habits and tendencies that we have grown to know so well, but that we know from prior experience, will be gone all too quickly.

Miss Waverly Maye.  There are so many things about her vocabulary that I love so much, and that I know I should correct her on, but my heart just wants her to do them forever.  Anytime she is talking to both me & my husband she says "you twos" instead of you two, apparently she is a Jersey girl! :)  She calls herself "me", and says "mama, is me big" or "did me be a good girl today", and calls the aquarium (which she loves), the "aquariarium".  She sings everything, especially when she knows she is in trouble, and insists on performing a dance recital at least once a day.  She changes outfits hourly, packs an entire bag of random stuff any time we leave the house, and has to (like really has to) match Avalon's pajamas each and every single night.  Thunder petrifies her and she comes into our bed every morning around 5:30, she never misses an opportunity.

Sweet Avalon Elle.  She has so many little faces and habits right now that just melt me.  She does them so often that I just feel like it's part of her and that she will do it forever, but I look back on Waverly from that age and know that she won't.  She has this little face where she purses her lips together, and anytime she sits down on a couch or bed, she leans back into it with everything she has.  When she wants something, she stands at your feet and opens & closes her hands, and puts her head straight into my shoulder anytime we see a stranger or walk into anywhere new.  She smiles ALL the time, especially when she hears music, and playing peekaboo with her big sister can give her the biggest belly laughs.  She calls her daddy "DA!!", says "please" with a lisp, and anytime she sees a camera, she immediately says "CHEESE!" (love her so much!).  She hates the vacuum and we are impressed if she lasts ten minutes in a high chair, she has a little baby bunny that I got randomly at H&M for 12 dollars and she is obsessed with it, it doesn't leave her sight.

And a few pictures from our weekend, we are soaking in these final days for summer for all that their worth.

Hope you & yours had the most lovely of weekends!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Our DIY Bed

My husband is the kind of person who would rather make anything than ever buy it, something I love so much about him.  It also drives me crazy.  At least once a month I bring something home & he tries to send me right back with it because he is convinced he could do it on his own, and better.  Which he can, and will, but you better believe I'll be waiting at least three more months for it, because he's such a perfectionist he is going to be make sure every detail is perfect.

In the meantime, can't I just buy out the home decor section at Target???

That was totally the case with this bed.  It was my Christmas present a couple months late, he worked so hard on it every night after the girls & I went to bed and was so excited to put it in our room come February.  Per usual, the wait was more than worth it, I LOVE it so much and most of all, love the fact that it is meaningful and something we can have in our home forever.

I knew I wanted something wood with a bit of a rustic feel, and also something that was timeless, and I think he nailed it!  Literally. :)  I only asked for a headboard but he ended up adding a matching footboard as well, which might even be my favorite part!  I've asked him to summarize what he did to share here, the steps are below.

1 - To get the measurements for the bed frame, he used our old one, which was also wood and about the size of what we wanted.
2 - He cut the inlaid pieces first, which are all just randomly cut wood pieces from other house projects that we have done.
3 -  The bed frame, headboard frame, and footboard frame are built out of fir, bought at a specialty lumber yard.
4 - He glued and screwed a piece of 3/8" plywood to the frames, then started gluing & toenailing all the pieces to the headboard and footboard.
5 - He used a router to install these brackets to connect the bedrails to the headboard and the footboard.
6 - He bought 1"x4" common boards from Home Depot to span left to right of the siderails, which is what supports the boxspring and mattress.
7 - After everything was built, it was finished in a heavy coat of lacquer.

With the start of fall coming, we are itching to start some new projects and hope to be sharing some soon!  And happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Chef Boyardee Deal

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SaveOnChef #CollectiveBias

With the back to school season approaching, my family is looking for easy weeknight meal solutions.  By spending less time in the kitchen, we can enjoy other after-school activities together.  Now through August 29, 2016, each 14.5 to 15 ounce can of Chef Boyardee is on Rollback at Walmart for only $.80!  Purchase five cans for $4 in a variety of flavors that include: Mini Ravioli, Beefaroni, and Spaghetti and Meatballs.  You can enjoy a week's worth of quality meals at an affordable price.

Be sure when you stock up on Chef Boyardee at Walmart to look for the Chef Boyardee cans that feature NO artificial flavors, NO preservatives, and NO artificial colors,  With quality ingredients since 1924, Chef Boyardee has been a pantry staple for many families.

While shopping at Walmart, be sure to look for the Rollback signs for Chef Boyardee in the Canned Food Aisle!

Tuesday Thoughts

I'm kicking Tuesday off with some random thoughts & faves of the moment!

1 - The Olympics!!  We have had so much fun watching them this year.  I think the summer olympics will always hold a special place in my heart because four years ago, they were on during the first couple of weeks that we brought a newborn Waverly Maye home from the hospital!  It definitely helped with the sleepless nights.  This time around, Waverly's been watching them with us and loves swimming the most, since she just finished swim lessons & likes to wear goggles just like all the big-time swimmers, even in the bath.  The other day I realized that she will be EIGHT years old the next time they are on - I just can't.

2 - I shared some looks for toddlers the other day here, & recently also found some boots that I love for Waverly.  We got these and these, both are affordable and Waverly loves them because she is all into doing everything on her own these days, and she can put them on "all by myself, mama".

3 - I am still breastfeeding Avalon, and have mixed emotions about it.  Waverly weaned herself around 11 months, so the fact that we are still going strong (very strong, she would go all day if I let her), is all new territory for me.  Of course I love holding her and the bonding time and am forever grateful for it, but it can also be exhausting.  I have no plans to wean her now, but have been working to get her down (at least for naps) without me feeding her first.  Also, not for nothing, one of my boobs is currently at least one size bigger than the other and she has started to bite.  Good thing she is cute.

4 - I love these floral crib sheets so, so much!!!  They also have a matching duvet as well, the print is so beautiful that I could easily have it in both girl's rooms and never grow sick of it.

5 - Waverly told me that she had to go to the bathroom the other day and then said "and mom, I need some privacy, ok?".  Really, because I haven't had privacy in the bathroom in four years.

6 - A new walker might just be the cutest thing that existed in the history of ever.  I never want her to be sturdy on her feet and could watch her all day long.  That's all. :)

7 - It's been fourteen months since Avalon was born, and watching the relationship between the girls grow each day is still the most rewarding part of parenting for me.  It's not seamless and it definitely has it's challenges, but the sweet moments between them are what life is all about.  These pictures describe them perfectly, Waverly's obsession with her baby sister is still strong as ever, she wants to hold her, kiss her, and hug her all day long.  Avalon adores Waverly and rolls with pretty much anything she does most of the time, until she doesn't. ;)  But still no one can make her laugh louder than her big sister, she absolutely adores her and giving them each other is one of the best things I have ever, ever done.

Most days at least one of us is in a swimsuit.

Hope you had a lovely weekend and start to the week!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Lorena Canal Rugs

Happiest Friday, friends, I'm excited to stop in with a little rug review today!  I have all the heart eyes over a good rug, we have dark hardwood floors throughout our entire house (which I prefer so much to having everything carpeted), but with two kids, we definitely need some areas that are soft.  When we first did Avalon's nursery, I got this rug, which I was so excited about!  It was beautiful and light and dreamy and feminine, all the things that I wanted the room to be.  My husband laughed at the fact that I was putting a bright white rug in a baby's room (especially when she was our second, I should have known better), and long story short - fast forward 12 months, he was pretty accurate.  I did all of her monthly pictures on that rug and loved it for while it lasted, but by the time she turned one, we could literally see the trail of dirt from the door to the changing table.

So for our second rug, I definitely wanted something not white and that was washable.  I had heard so many good things about Lorena Canal rugs, and was so excited to team up with them on choosing a good option.  I went with this grey polka dot one and love it so, so much!!!  

The polka dots keep it fun and make it unique, but it's also still so versatile.  It would definitely work in a little boy's room or in a playroom as well!  And even better, it has been so durable and resistant to dirt.  It still looks as perfect as it did the day we got it, and even though I could wash it weekly if I wanted to, I haven't even had to.  The quality is more than worth the price!  

Lastly, I will leave you with sweet Avalon Elle on her new rug, kissing her favorite baby.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back To Preschool

It's crazy to me to see pictures of little ones going back to school already, I guess it's an east coast thing, but we don't ever start back until after Labor Day.  So three more weeks for us! :)  I kind of have a love-hate relationship with it, of course it's nice to be able to beach it for longer, but on the flip side, by this point we are kind of over the heat anyways.  I think I might love being done earlier in the year when we are desperate to be outside and then going back in August.  As if I have a say.

Regardless, I recently mentioned that we went school supply shopping for Waverly, who is going to be in pre-k!  I am much less anxious this year than I was last, since we already went through all the newness last year, and most of the kids in her class previously will be in it again.  Even her teacher is moving up with them!  Of course next year alllllll the anxiety will be back,  KINDERGARDEN y'all.  But why think about that now?!!!

I am excited to share a few things that have caught my eye for little ones going back to school, per usual, fall is my favorite time of the year for fashion!  Through trial & error last year, I have definitely learned to only send Waverly in affordable clothes that I won't be completely devastated if they are ruined, and these are all good options for that.  Also boy moms, that camo backpack is from Walmart for under fifteen dollars!  I'm jealous.

Shirt - Backpack - Green Jacket - Sneakers - Tulle Skirt - Denim Dress - Tights - Fringe Boots - Cat Ears

Hope those of you who have already sent your little ones off to school are having the best start of the year ever, and those of you like me, enjoy these last few weeks of summer!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Savings with Groupon

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are mine alone. #Groupon

Hope you all had the most wonderful weekend!!  We stayed busy celebrating my husband's birthday, watching some of the Olympics, and shopping for Waverly's school supplies.  She starts back in a few weeks and the countdown is definitely on, she is so excited!  Also for the memory book, while having dinner she asked us if we were married, and when we told her yes, she told us she was married to Avalon.  If only they will always love each other this much ... :)

Today I'm excited to share about one of my favorite ways to save money, Groupon!  I posted about Groupon coupons a couple of months back here, but actually started using the site in general way before I ever used the coupons.  I LOVE IT!  If you haven't used it, you can put in your zip code to have the deals tailored to your area.  There are so many different ones, everything from restaurants to amusement parks or stores.  Some of my favorite are the health & beauty ones, deals on getting your nails done or a massage, because those are things I usually wouldn't buy for myself.  I think we all deserve a little r&r, and it's always even more relaxing when you don't feel like you spent too much money on it.  I find its easiest to always stay logged onto my Groupon account to be able to see the new updated deals, if you haven't gotten started yet you can check some here!

Do you use Groupon?!  What are some of your favorite deals?  And because every post deserves a picture, one of my two best shopping partners.

Happy week ahead!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Days

Happy August, can you believe it?!!  Waverly got her school supply list last week & it was a big reality check that these sweet summer days are numbered.  This time of year is crazy for us, all four of us have birthdays, along with most of our family,  so it's busy and wonderful all at the same time.  It definitely makes the weeks go by even faster (which seems to be a theme in this season of life).

Waverly has done both a swimming and a dance class this summer.  It's been nice to keep some sort of routine even though she is not in school right now, we all do best that way! :)  She looks forward to both each week and lays out her clothes the night before, for wherever we are going.  She is just such a big girl now, the other day she told me "good night, darling" and then the next day started telling me a story and called her (imaginary) friend "outrageous".  She really is the best big sister, giving Avalon her favorite baby every morning or making sure she is happy & content, always repeating phrases that I have said to her since she was little.  She insists on matching pajamas for them every night, and has a meltdown if they don't look identical to each other, I guess I can only blame myself for that one.

Avalon is getting more vocal by the day, she says "please" and "ice" now, both with a lisp! :)  She is going through a very needy phase, and if I am in the room no one else will do, but I am trying to remember that it won't last forever and to just soak it all in.  She walks everywhere, though she's not 100% steady on her feet, I'm not sure I have ever seen a cuter sight than both girls walking hand in hand!  She looks more like her daddy everyday, and definitely got his skin, we laugh because Waverly & I always look a little pink after a beach day and they are about ten shades darker.  This age with her can be challenging (she's into everything & then some), but her little mannerisms and sounds are everything.  I love these summer babes so!

For me, highlights of the summer so far include The Bachelorette (though I was totally team Luke, and am seriously hoping he is the new Bachelor!) and I've been booking lots of weddings, I currently have eight in the next year!!!! :)  Hope your summer has been full of lots of sunshine and happiness!