last day of summer school

Ella has been doing a summer school for the last month and today is her last day. It has been a nice activity for her to do a couple days a week and her teachers are so sweet. I'm obviously on a mason jar kick lately so I filled two jars full of candy for her to give her teachers today.
I printed off labels for the top of the mason jars that said "thanks for being so sweet." I then self laminated them with packing tape and hot glued them to the lid.
And for Ella's last day of summer school lunch she requested pizza balls. Recipe here.
Hope Ella is having a great last day and I really hope her teachers like candy! 


Summer Essentials with Kate

Hey guys,  yall are gonna love today.  Today's Summer Essentials are from my friend Kate from Kate McCoy Photography.  She is an amazing photographer, amazing friend and over all, shes pretty amazing.  She is so loyal, always there for you and really, she is always there to make you laugh.  She is always cracking me up.  We met at A&M and have stayed close friends ever since.  She is the friend that you can always catch right up with even if you havent talked in a while.  If you guys live in the austin area (anywhere, really! She travels!) and need a photographer-she is absolutely your girl.  Her pics are amazing and she is so laid back and fun that your session will feel like a hang out sesh with a few pics thrown in.  She is about to get married and she got engaged and is getting married in basically 4 months. She is planning everything herself and figuring it all out in such short time, and everything is just perfect.  (I mean, check out her tree of love). I make her send over pics of her dress, decor, etc.  I also pinned her invites.  Amazing.  Ok, without further ado...

Hi Lullaby Lubbock!! Wow, so I kinda feel like I've officially MADE it in the blogging world now that I've had the ultimate honor of being a guest blogger on Lullaby Lubbock! I met Kristen at A&M and have great memories of Sonic drink dates and watching her eat lots of candy :) She is a great encourager, friend, and mom to the cutest little kids. I can still remember coming over to her house in College Station the day they brought home Aves in their first little house..how time has flown by!
So, let me introduce myself. I'm Kate and I live in and absolutely LOVE Austin. I work during the week at a locally famous cookie delivery company. But my ultimate career goal is to do photography full time so that's what I do all the rest of the time! And most recently, I got engaged and am getting married in 38 days!!! So, this is me and my man and our dog, Kash. Well, Kash lives with Jo but I definitely claim him as my own ;) And soon enough I'll live with them too!! And hopefully a Dyson vacuum.. ;)

This summer has looked a lot different than I thought it would. My apartment looks like a craft fair and I suddenly have wedding magazines adorning my coffee table. But, wedding or not there are some things that will always be essentials for me each summer.
I don't wear a lot of jewelry...mainly just my Aggie ring and now a beautiful rock on my left hand. But, lately I've been obsessed with finding some good long necklaces that are versatile and I found these super cute ones at J Crew! I have the one on the right in coral and it goes with so much but is still really casual! You'd be surprised what it can do for a white v neck and jeans.

Well, you may be thinking I'm a refined shopper since I found jewelry at J Crew. Oh no, I still shop at Forever 21. Go ahead judge me...I am 30. But there's just something about sifting through the racks with 15 year olds to find a good deal. Forever 21 can be way overwhelming and it's not for the faint of heart...but it's soo cheap. About 90% of the stuff you'll gasp and gawk over and I often find myself staring at something very perplexed because I can't even figure out what it is or how it would go on a body. But the other 10% is the "normal" stuff that is just cheap versions of stuff you could honestly find at Gap or Urban Outfitters...really. And if after the 4th wash it starts fraying and the fading you don't even feel that bad because it was only $10. I got the first dress below, paired it with a $5 belt (from 21) and it was super cute. My advice though: don't go on a weekend and don't fret over the "21" because there is ALWAYS someone in there older than you. :)

I am an eater. So much so that my fiance recently told me I eat like a man. I wasn't even offended...I love food. And Mexican food takes the cake. And creamy jalapeno from Chuy's or Hula Hut is so delicious I could honestly drink it. I'm not saying I have...but I'm also not saying I haven't. I found this great knockoff recipe and just looking at it makes my mouth water.

Everyone needs a good pair of walking around shoes. These are Nike's Free Run
line and they are the best shoes ever. I guess they are technically running shoes but
I wear them to work and I do not run at work!
They are super lightweight and come in so many fun colors!

Live Music. Austin is famous for it. Did you know Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World? Yep, just a tidbit for you. Well, one of the best traditions that has come about is the Kristen and Kate reunion at ACL(Austin City Limits Music Fest) each year. We always manage to find each other among the thousands of other people there and have a great time people watching, eating, oh, and checking out the bands together. Some of my recent faves that will be at ACL this year are Head and the Heart and Aloe Blacc. Check these guys out - they are both awesome and perfect for summer road trips! But I'm not going to lie..as much as I like to be current with the new, hip music...I am by far the most excited to see Stevie Wonder on Saturday night. It's been on my ACL wish list for years!!!!

Lastly, some wedding things...after all, it has consumed my summer.

I got this idea from a mix of different things I had seen (probably on pinterest). It will serve as a seating chart for my rehearsal dinner and the glass on the frame can be written on with a
dry erase marker! Then, if you have last minute changes you just wipe and erase and don't
have to worry about reprinting cards or anything. Obviously, I won't be the one
writing the names because my handwriting is not pretty but I just wanted to give you an idea. You could also make it into a calendar for home office organization.
So easy to make too...just get a frame, a piece of fabric you like and ribbon
if you want to make sections. Voila!

This is a collection of various wedding decorations made of items that can later be used in the home for everyday use...lanterns, galvanized buckets, and mason jars! I love all these things!! They're all pretty cheap and you can make them as fancy or as casual as you want.

That's all I got. Hope you enjoyed a little taste of Austin and hectic wedding planning!

Thanks Kate!! Don't yall just love her??? Great ideas, creativity and some hilarity all rolled into one tiny asian.  Love it.  Love you Kate!! And cant wait to see you twice in Sept this year!! WOO HOO!!!

ice cream date!

 Ella has already filled her jar to the first line and she was very excited about it! Bob and Ella share a love for ice cream so I set up a special ice cream date for them at home last night. 
Ice cream at the house is nothing out of the ordinary for Bob and Ella so I wanted this time to be extra special. Lots of toppings and I dipped the cones in chocolate and then dipped them in sprinkles. Ella made sure to have a little bit of everything on her ice cream, she knows how to do it up right!
I hung some balloons from the ceiling and taped brown paper and a pom-pom ball to make it look like ice cream. I saw the idea on pinterest and just did it upside down since I didn't have helium balloons. Ella loved them. She couldn't stop talking about them while she ate her ice cream and she couldn't wait to hold them. 
Speaking of pinterest, I pinned this recipe for Kung Pao Chicken a while back and made it the other night. It was amazing. Like I am going to make it again this week kind of amazing. Plus when else am I gonna use the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil that I bought just for this dish. 



How freakin amazing are the good girl jars??? Are you kidding me al?? she is amazing.  So creative and so thoughtful.  Love it.  We made our own/copied her and my kids LOVE it!  It is already making the biggest difference in my parenting.  
thanks again, al, for changing my life.
Here are some fun DIY that I did not think of or make up or help in any way.  I am just passing it along.  Good thing Al has been taking the reigns of all of this.  She is clearly the talent behind this operation.
We have had tons of fun lately and being doing tons of stuff, but I don't know why we have not ever had our camera on us.  and are posts without pictures really posts at all?  I know.  Definitely not.
Love this leathering stuff. 
smore's kit.
Homemade no sew bag!
LOVE twig and thistle and so sad she is signing off for now.  Also love her last DIY blanket.
I don't know how to make this but its gorgeous.
Hope you guys had a good monday and are having a good tuesday so far!!


Good Girl Jars

I made a good behavior system for Ella yesterday and it has already worked so well! I wanna be so bold and say it has been life changing but I don't want to jinx myself. I really am so happy with how well Ella has responded to it. 
 Ella helps me out so much with McKenna and I am so proud of how well she has adjusted to becoming a big sister, a new house, new school, big girl bed, big girl potty, the list could go on and on. We have turned her world upside down and she hasn't missed a beat. There are so many times during the day where I just praise Ella on how much of a help she is and I have always thought it would be great if I had some kind of reward system for her. So I began googling chore/reward charts and didn't really find anything I loved. So I laid in bed night after night thinking about what I could do for my sweet little Ella Reese. Ella is a hands on learner so I thought some type of jar system would be fun for her. I used 6 small mason jars with each one as a designated chore/behavior. I then used a big mason jar for the reward. 
I cut circles out of colored card stock and then used my silhouette to cut out the images on white paper. I glued the cut out onto the card stock and then put a coat of mod podge over the top. I put a little dab of hot glue around the edges of the card stock and stuck them to the mason jar lids. 
I filled each jar with something different. Washing hands after she goes potty is how she gets a green jewel. Brushing her teeth is how she gets a button. Any kind of clean up around the house gets her a blue marble. Going to bed all by herself with no crying gets her a jingle bell in the morning. Good manners and eating healthy gets her a pink pom-pom ball. And any time I give Ella the thumbs up means she did a good job and gets a small yellow pom-pom ball.
The big jar is where Ella puts all her rewards. Once the jar is full to the top she gets to take a trip to Target and pick out a toy. The jar will take a while to fill up so I wanted to have little treats in between so she didn't get discouraged. Once she fills the jar 1/4 of the way she gets an ice cream date with dad. Filling the jar 1/2 way is a trip to the candy store and 3/4 of the way is making cupcakes with me. I made the ice cream, candy and cupcake labels by just drawing and cutting them out on card stock. I glued sequins on for cherries and I cut up little pieces for the sprinkles on the cupcake. I then laminated them to help keep everything together. I hot glued them to the jar.
Look how close she already is to an ice cream date with dad!
It really is unbelievable how much Ella has loved this. One of the things I have been trying to work on with Ella forever is responding to people when they speak to her. Even when it is someone she knows and they ask her something simple like her name, she says nothing. Not a word. I have explained the whole stranger danger thing and she knows the difference between someone that mommy knows and someone that is a stranger. Anyways, today while we were at the vet the nurse asked Ella how old she was. Once again Ella didn't even pretend to respond. When the nurse left I explained to Ella how it was polite to talk back to people when they spoke to her and that if she would use her good manners she could have gotten a pink ball from her jar when we got home. Ella's response to me was "I don't want a pink ball." Great. The plan back fired is what I'm thinking. Then as I am checking out at the vet a sweet older woman says to Ella "are those pink polka dots on your dress?" Ella looks up at me with the biggest grin and then turns to the woman and says "YES!" I couldn't believe it! This was a big step for her! I was thrilled! The second we got in the car Ella told me how she gets to put a pink ball in her jar when she gets home. It works! It really really works! Tonight for the first time Ella went to bed all by herself. Usually Bob or I have to lay down with her for the first 5-10 minutes till she falls asleep. But tonight she climbed in bed and said she wanted a jingle bell! Are you kidding me?! Is it really gonna be this easy?! 
All the jars sit so nicely on an IKEA photo shelf. I think I might have one of these shelves in every room of my house now! I just love them! Bob hung the shelf behind Ella's table and chairs and then the big jar sits in the middle of her table. 
This really was so easy to make and so far I would say a full success! I will keep you guys updated on how it continues to go.
If you want to buy a set of good girl/boy jars go to our etsy shop!
Here are the updated version of the good girl/boy jars that I sell. In our etsy store there are different labels that you choose from so I can customize your own jars.


summer essentials with THE brittany strebeck

I am so happy to share Brittany's summer essentials with you today. I'm sure you guys already know who Brittany is. If you don't, you will wish you did. She is not only an AMAZING photographer but also the most genuine person you will ever meet. She's the real deal. I met Brittany when we lived in Lubbock. Funny story actually. Bob was in his first year of Medical school and was a regular at Starbucks. And by regular, I mean he was there at 5am to help put the tables out. Brittany was working at Starbucks during this time. Bob would tell me how nice this Brittany girl was and how much he thought I would like her. So as any normal Starbucks customer would do, we invited Brittany and her husband Jordan over for dinner one night. I'm so glad they said yes cause now we are like family and I can't imagine my life without this girl! 
So without further ado, here is the fabulous Brittany (and her oh so cute fam) with her summer essentials...

I’m so excited to be writing on THE Lullaby Lubbock blog. I lived with Allison not too long ago, and I always heard the comments from strangers that went something like this… “Oh no need for introductions, I know all about you already,” and “I look at your blog five times a day,” or the ever so subtle, “I’m obsessed with y’all’s blog!!!” Love it love it love it.
Anyhow, I live in Lubbock, Texas, and my hubby and I just celebrated our 4 year anniversary. We have sweet baby Cooper, who is almost 4 months old. (I feel like I should say something else that involved the number 4… ). I was a full-time photographer for almost 4 years (there it was!!), so some of my summer essentials are geared towards that. Now I’m a full-time momma, and it’s the best thing ever.

Some good window light  - Yes, I know that’s a strange summer essential. But I take pictures all the time, and I love natural light. But since it’s hotter than the blazes outside, lots of pictures are taken inside these days. It’s amazing what some beautiful, ambient light can do.
-The first picture is front-lit, meaning, the window is behind me, and the light is directly on Cooper. And of course I caught him in the middle of a sneeze… Good stuff.
-The second picture is backlit, where the light is coming from behind Cooper.
-And in the third photo, the light is diffused, because I tilted the shudders. Since light wasn’t coming directly in the window, it made for a more even display of light.
Totally different looks, but all so fun to play with.

A camera that will EASILY fit into a diaper bag – It happens more often than not when I sacrifice that extra blanket and diapers, so I can fit my DSLR into the diaper bag… But it is pretty handy to have a camera that fits easily into the diaper bag. I have a Canon G10. It’s a great camera that won’t necessarily fit into your pocket, but it’s not a big daddy either.
I took my G10 (like a G10, like a G10… anyone?) to my cousin’s wedding last year… here we are, pre-baby.

The sun – Okay. Hear me out on this one. All of you mommas with breastfed yellow poopers will like this one. I guess Cooper is literally too big for his own britches… so he’s a blow-outer fo sho. So after trying every kind of stain remover on like half of his wardrobe, I finally tried a little method I read about a while back and totally doubted… Lay it out in the sun. THAT’S ALL! So I lined up all of his stained clothes in our backyard (that had already been washed and dried). Thirty minutes later I checked, and they were all poop-stain free! Super duper.
See for yourself!

Cute summer dress – There’s something about a simple, cotton dress that’ll make you feel like you can conquer the world that day. Or maybe just get out of the house. When I’m running low on sleep, makeup and sanity, I put on that cotton dress and suddenly feel like I can actually accomplish something that day. Old Navy is such a great place to go for such things.

A good all-purpose blanket – I think a simple, light blanket is totally underrated. We have one that we got from cassiemaebeloved.blogspot.com, and we use it ALL.THE.TIME. Inside to play on, outside to lay on once it cools off (you know, like 95… ), or just keeping it in the car for who knows what. By the way, Cassie Mae Beloved makes custom blankets that come in all different sizes and colors, and I have to hold myself back to not “need” every kind they offer.
Here’s Cooper chillaxin on his blanket.

Baby Bjorn – Cooper likes to get his cuddle on, so he LOVES the baby bjorn. It’s pretty great for me or Jordan, too, because we get to have two free hands while carrying our little kangaroo baby around. I’ve been known to vacuum with Coop hanging in the baby bjorn. So domestic, right?!
Here’s Coop and daddio.

Mix-Tape – What makes everything in life better? Music. For some reason, during the summer, I always want to listen to some laid-back acoustic goodness. Here are some of my Summertime favs.
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