Thursday, March 23, 2017

How To Preserve a Bird's Nest

Disclaimer:  If you do see a bird's nest in your yard or near your home, I would suggest waiting as long as possible to be sure that you won't disturb nature.  In all of my research for this project I learned that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act actually makes it illegal to disturb a nest of any native bird without a permit and that it is illegal to move or remove active nests, even if they are in an inconvenient location.  However, after you are sure it is safe to remove a nest without causing harm, if you want to preserve the nest, I've done all the research of how to do that properly!  

Yesterday I shared some of my Spring and Easter decor, including my new additions this year.  I'm so pleased with the way the birdcage turned out and I turned to my favorite design friend, Pinterest, with tips on how to style it. 

I ultimately decided I wanted to try to put a real bird's nest in it.  Over a year ago a bird built a nest on our front porch and I just loved walking out my front door each day and peeking at the nest with her sitting on it waiting for her eggs to hatch.  All of the sudden one day she was gone and I was hoping to find signs that the eggs had hatched, but she just kind of vanished and there were never any signs of babies.  I'm not sure if my noisy kids were too much for her or if it was just such a high-traffic area that she decided to abandon ship and build a nest somewhere else.  Or, for all I know, maybe her babies left the nest after they hatched and I just didn't notice.  I guess we'll never know.  What I do know is that the nest sat there for over a year and while I was always curious, I didn't want to disturb it in case she or any other birds ever came back to this spot.

I did a little reading about nests and birds and learned that sometimes other birds will come and use a nest that has already been built.  Because of this I left it on our porch for a really long time, but after over a year I decided it was safe to move it because no birds were coming.  I was actually really scared to touch and move it. I don't really do nature and I guess I was kind of afraid of what I would see in the nest.  Much to my surprise, when I went to take it down the thing was stuck up there.  Like literally stuck to the top of the column with mud.  Those birds are so dang smart.  In all of my research I learned it takes about 180 trips per day for anywhere from 2-6 days to gather materials and build the nest.  When I finally got it down I examined it and was in awe of the construction of the nest.

I read that you should put it in a large plastic bag and then put it in the freezer for several days or up to week to kill any bugs or other tiny living things that might be living in the nest.  I also read that these things usually leave shortly after a bird leaves and since my nest had been sitting here for so long I thought it might be OK, but it couldn't hurt to freeze it for a while.

Next I sprayed it with a clear coat spray paint to sort of seal it and let it dry in the sun for a few hours. 

Then my nest was ready to put into the birdcage.  However, the color of the nest was pretty similar to the color of the bird cage so I used a faux boxwood stem on the bottom of the birdcage to really make the nest noticeable.

I'm so happy with the way this project turned out and I just love the special touch of spring that this adds to our porch!  I also love that this nest was home to a bird (and maybe her babies) for a few weeks and that now it is a part of my home.  

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring has Sprung {Spring and Easter Decor}

On Monday we celebrated the first day of spring and yesterday Atlanta decided to skip straight to summer.  It was sunny and hot and made us start dreaming of pool days and beach vacations.  We all put on our shorts and while my kids enjoyed popsicles on the porch I pulled out all of our Easter and spring decorations.  

On the front porch are my DIY Easter yarn wreaths. These might be my very favorite front door wreaths that I hang throughout the year and I always get excited when it is time to hang them.  

The bunny, the felt flowers, the lace ribbon and the burlap color wreath get me every.single.time.  You can see the full post with the tutorial of how I made the wreaths HERE.

On the side door on our porch I have our Easter egg wreath that was a grocery store clearance purchase one year.

Inside I added little touches here and there like this little bunny to the chalk painted washstand that sits in our entryway...

...and these glittered Easter eggs along with an antique serving dish that belonged to my grandmother. The colors are perfect for Easter and complement each other so well! 

Also in the kitchen I updated my mini chalkboard sign and put out some spring scented candles.

And I've really been enjoying the fresh flowers I picked up from Trader Joes last week. I had to cut and rearrange them once already, but they still look great and I love the color and spring feel they add to my kitchen.

I also have two boxwood wreaths that I got for Christmas from my mom. I had originally planned to put them on my front doors, but that didn't work out as planned.  The quality of the wreaths is fantastic, but they are better for indoor use.  Our porch is covered, so they weren't getting wet, but when it rained the humidity was just too much and the color was running/dripping, so I decided to use them indoors instead. I have one over the hood vent in our kitchen and the other is hanging on the antique hutch in our keeping room. 

This year I was excited to add a few new pieces to my spring stash from Oriental Trading.  I have been searching for a decorative bird cage, but hadn't been able to find something that was the correct size/style I wanted.  I finally found this one and I loved the design. The size was just what I was looking for. When it arrived my kids were all excited because they thought it meant we were getting a bird.  As a pet. Um, no. I had to explain to them it was just for decoration and we wouldn't be adding any more pets to our family...especially those with feathers.

I really liked the bird cage, but decided that the white paint on it was a little too white and that I preferred a more distressed and antique look.  I just happened to have a small jar of chalk paint waiting for a project like this so I pulled it out and got to work.

I've used chalk paint a handful of times before, but never on metal so I was curious to see what the coverage would be like.  It took about 3 coats, but looked great when it was done.  This picture was taken after the first coat.

After all the coats of paint I put a dark wax on it and was totally in love with the final product. 

I put the completed project on my screen porch and think it just screams spring out there.  I love it so much!

Along with the bird cage I added some pretty spring flowers in none other than a glitter mason jar.  I also added this adorable little bunny (also from Oriental Trading) and thought it just complete the spring touches to my porch.  For the price it can't be beat and is made of resin so it's a great solid piece that goes so nicely with the rest of my Easter accessories.

Now, if I could just keep it all clean through the crazy pollen season we are about to experience, I'd be happy!

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***Thank you to Oriental Trading for providing these products for my review.  As always, all opinions are my own.***

Friday, March 17, 2017

Cocktail Confessions: The Sassy Leprechaun

Happy Friday everyone! And how fun is it that this Friday is also St. Patrick's Day?!? That means we will be celebrating all things green...including green beverages. 

And maybe since St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday this year, especially green beverages. 

True to our Irish heritage, we weren't about to pass up a chance to craft a yummy holiday themed cocktail. 

Especially a holiday that allows us to use our favorite gold sprinkles as part of the garnishing. Although, when isn't it a good time to use gold sprinkles? 

We created the Sassy Leprechaun cocktail for those super fun and sassy moms we just happen to know and love. 

The Sassy Leprechaun is a yummy drink crafted from fruity flavors and ingredients that you probably already have in your at home bar (read: tequila). With in just minutes you can whip up this yummy (and bonus - low calorie!) cocktail to get your drink on this St. Patrick's Day. 

Make the hop to grab The Sassy Leprechaun Cocktail recipe, and make sure the only one doing the pinching today is you!

Cheers and Happy St. Patrick's Day y'all!

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Boy's Baseball Room {Inspiration}

It's safe to say my little guy is baseball obsessed.  He is into his second season of playing and his first game of the spring season was last weekend.  He played great and I was totally that proud mom yelling from the bleachers!  He had awesome hits, great fielding (for a 5 year old), and got the first game ball.

He asks everyday if he has baseball and if he doesn't have a game or a practice he wants me out in the driveway practicing with him. Because I see how much he loves it, I've pretty much become baseball obsessed myself, too.

A few months ago he mentioned that he wished he could have baseball stuff in his room so I made him a deal and told him we'd switch out the nautical decor for baseball stuff.  He was over the moon.  Then life happened and while the idea keeps hanging around in my head, I haven't actually done anything to keep good on my promise.

He's lived in a nautical room since hew as a baby.  I did a nautical nursery for him and then when we moved to our new house I changed things up a bit, but still kept the nautical theme since I already had tons of stuff.

The good news is, since his quilt, curtains, walls, etc. are all blue and red I can easily switch out the "boat stuff" as he calls it for the "cool baseball stuff" he wants.

Last week when I was browsing Goodwill for a project I'm working on (more on that next week), I came across this cute baseball print!  It just needs a new frame, but it was less than $4 so I was so excited to find it.  Y'all know I love a good deal!  I'm also heading to one of my favorite kid consignment sales tomorrow so I'm hoping to find a few things there.

Last night I spent some time searching the internet and I found that Pottery Barn Kids has some adorable baseball stuff right now.

I'm loving this baseball pin-board and trying to find a way to justify buying it for his room. It's a little pricey, but OH SO CUTE!

This metal MLB sign is just calling for me. I LOVE mixing antique looking things into our home and I this metal sign has me swooning.  Thinking this would look super cute hanging over his bed or as part of a gallery wall! 

I've already decided I'm ordering these little baseball knobs.  They come two to a set and they are on major sale right now so I'm going to switch them out for the knobs on his current dresser. 

He had a cute little sailboat lamp in his room that needs to be replaced and I loved this wooden lamp shaped like a bat and the cute baseball shade.

He saw this one as I was searching for stuff last night though and loved the stacked baseball lamp, so we may end up with this one instead, which is still super cute.  

I've been using just a plain navy quilt that I bought at Target a few years ago with the sailboat pillow shams. I'm going to switch those out for the navy shams that came with his quilt and just plan to get some cute throw pillows like this one to add to his bed.

I also scrolled through Pinterest and found tons of cute ideas.  Boo-Boo actually loved looking with me and would comment on just about everything he saw. He got really excited when I kept pinning stuff because he asked if that meant it was the list of what we were getting.  Then when he saw me pinning baseball mom stuff he started making gagging noises and told me he did not want those things in his room.  You can see all my fun baseball pins HERE.  His very favorites were this baseball wall and the baseball diamond painted in the yard.  I might just have to do that this summer.

I'll continue to share what I find and will certainly post about the final outcome of his baseball room in a few weeks!
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sharing is Caring: Staying Fresh with Dove Advance Care Deodorant


One of the reasons we love blogging is being able to share fun new finds, or mom hacks to help you survive...well, motherhood! We love sharing with you guys just as much as we do our close girlfriends. Carrie Beth and I chat all day long about everything, and 99.9% of her mommy maintenance series is something we've chatted about as girlfriends behind the scenes.

So when I gave Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant a try she was the first person I thought of. No, not because she needed it - but because she totally did!

Let me backtrack... I was grabbing essentials one day and needed a new deodorant. Mr. Cute was low too, and uses a Dove Men's Antiperspirant - so I grabbed one for me to give a try. I keep deodorants everywhere - in the bathroom (obviously), in my travel kit, in my gym bag, and even my car.

Yes, my car. Because you never know when you might need to smell good.

In fact, this has saved me on more than one occasion as a mommy because (1) some days you are just so tired you can't remember if you put some on after your shower, or (2) some days you don't even have time to actually shower.

But you get the idea - I like smelling clean. We all do. And when I tried Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant I instantly fell in love. First, it smells amazing! I picked up the Revive scent and it smells kind of fruity with hints of pomegranate and lemon verbena, and lemons always make me think fresh. Second, it feels amazing! With Dove 1/4 moisturizers and NutriumMoisture built in, it makes your skin feel softer and smoother.  Throw in up to 48 hours of odor and wetness protection, and a full on love affair has been born.

(Again, rocking the mom life and we all know that last part is a major bonus!)

Now this is where Carrie Beth comes in. Last week we met for a fun catch up lunch. It had been forever since we had hung out and since my birthday was in a few days she wanted to bring me my gift. Little did she know I had a gift for her too. When I was purchasing one of my many Dove Advanced Care Deodorants to stash everywhere, I grabbed her one too. Then I shared with her all the ways of why she needed this in her life.

Does she think I'm crazy for showing up to a luncheon professing love for a deodorant, and putting a newly purchased one for her very own use right next to her freshly ordered meal? Probably not any crazier than she thought I was before the luncheon. ;) But, here are her thoughts...

Is Jen crazy? Yes - but in a totally good way. ;) But like a good friend, I always listen. I took my newly gifted Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant home and gave it a try. Even after only a few uses I knew I loved it just as much as she claimed I would. She gave me the Dove Advanced Care Cool Essentials Antiperspirant and it has a lighter, refreshing scent made of cucumber and green tea. It feels so good on my skin, and love the silky smooth moisturizing effect it leaves behind. As a busy mom constantly on the go, feeling great and knowing that I will smell great (even after a gym session when I might not have time to shower post workout) is so reassuring. I am so glad she shared her tip with me!

Now just wait until I catch up with my other friends and give them their new Dove Advance Care Antiperspirant presents too. Because sharing is caring, and I love my squad! Give it a try, refer it to your friends too (just maybe not at lunch), and let us know what you think!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.