{GATHRE experience}

This summer has been a lovely one thus far, albeit busy.

We’ve been embracing the outdoors and natural learning.

As we prepare to begin a more structured year of at-home preschool, I have been researching products, activities, and learning theories.

Most of my ideals center around nature-based learning, hand-on learning, and child-guided learning.  A lot of times this translates into messes as two and four year olds are messy learners because they are four and they are inquisitive and nature is full of, well, dirt!

Thus, my jump into homeschooling has been accompanied by a search for products that will help us through this process.

I recently became aware of Gathre mats and fell instantly in love.  Their design, color scheme, quality, and practicality had me intrigued.  So, when Gathre sent us some micro mats to use in our schooling experiences, I was thrilled.

They were instantly put to use and have quickly become an integral part of our days.

For our first Gathre experience we worked on a project for our Nature pals (part of the Nature Pal exchange program).  We had collected some Eucalypus bark on a family hiking excursion and had also collected a plethora of mussels at the beach during a lunch time adventure at a local cove.


We decided to make picture frames for our Nature Pals out of the found items. Here is how we did it:


  • Glue
  • Q-tips
  • Eucalyptus Bark
  • Mussels/Shells (can be done with many found items in nature: leaves, pine needles, flowers, etc.)_MG_6629


We placed the Gathre mats on the table and covered them with our found items, and paper plates that held a small amount of glue and some Q-tips. First, we glued the Eucalyptus bark pieces together to form a square.  Then, using the Q-tips to apply the glue, we glued the mussels onto the frame.  Simply let them dry and ta-da!

I was initially worried that I would ruin the mats with the sticky glue, but it wiped right off with a damp rag.  I set them in the sun to dry and they looked brand new.

We went on to use the mats for plating some seeds for the girls’ own gardens.  Dirt, water, and mud also watched off easily.  I became confident that these mats were indestructible and we have since been using them for everything!  The girls often use them as placemats during meals, for watercoloring projects, and for play-dough and modeling clay play as well.




_MG_6637I love products that are simple, versatile, and practical.  I look forward to a wonderful year of learning alongside our girls and I know these mats will be a big help.

I have my eye on a larger mat for more outdoor learning experiences as well!

Do you have any learning activities that you have loved doing with your kids?  Pass them on to us!  We love new ideas and we don’t mind getting messy!

{Third times the Charm}

This third pregnancy really made me think about what baby items I liked and which ones I didn’t.


We purged many things, not only to make space for a third baby, but because we had learned so much from the first two.


Here are a few of the products I decided I wanted this time and a brief review of each one!

Covered Goods Nursing Cover: Best cover for full coverage, comfort, and practicality.

Freshly Picked Moccassins: Only shoes that stay on my babies for the first 6 months. (Pssst they are releasing some moccs tomorrow)


BackPack Diaper Bag: Hands free. I was tired of my Petunia which is heavy and hangs funny, so I picked up one with a wide opening at Target, although my dream bag is a Lily-Jade.

Solly Baby Wrap: I have worn this the most.  I have yet to use my ergo this time around.  This wrap is my absolute favorite baby carrier.

My WildBird sling: Great for quick stops or when you know you will be removing soon!

Bassinet: Smaller and simpler style that fit well in our small space.

Mini Crib: Have yet to purchase one, but looking forward to saving space.

Bows: My favorites are free babes, Miss Giggle Buns, Pennies and Rubies, and Baby Bling.


{New Ventures and Dreaming Big}

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!

I am so sorry that you can’t ALL win!!  I used a random number generator to select the winner, and I know she was thrilled.  Hooray for her!

I wanted to quickly tell you about a new venture I have begun with some friends!


We started a kids’ instagram consignment shop!  You can learn more about what that is, by visiting our blog www.theclovercollective.com.

I seem to always have a million things going at once and so why not add ANOTHER project?! HA!

Truly though, I have big dreams.  Some that seem unreachable and others that seem doable.

For now, this new venture is a fun way to delve into a small corner of some of those dreams.

What are your biggest dreams?  What small steps can you take to achieve them?

Give your dreams to the dream maker!  Trust Him with them and see where they will go!


****Check out our new shop on instagram @theclovercollective!****

{Freshly Picked Giveaway}


The winner is Emma!  I will message you with instructions.  Congratulations!


You guys have heard of Freshly Picked, right?

I hope you have!

These are my favorite baby shoes. Hands down.

I mean . . .


Gorgeous, right?



Over the past few years I have collected a few through winning giveaways and big sales and I have been so impressed.

They are one of the only shoes that stay on my tiny daughters’ feet, almost from birth (She is still in a size 0 crib mocc at three months old).

The elastic ankle allows them to slip on easily and stay put.

They are also incredibly soft.  My two year-old often wears a pair when we run errands as well since they are so comfortable and great for developing feet.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, they adorable and come in a plethora of colors!  I tend to stick with neutrals to maximize the number of outfits the moccasins can be paired with, but the high quality leather looks amazing in the many bright colors available!

In my opinion, moccasins go with anything, as you can see from the variety of outfits my daughter sports them with! Literally, they are pretty much her only shoes!

Black leggings and a tunic dress? Wear it with moccs!


Vintage yellow baby-doll dress? Rock it with moccs!


Traditional poofy polka-dot church dress?  Moccs will go with that!  You can’t go wrong, truly.


Well, it is your luck day because I am giving away one pair of moccasins on the blog today!  Yipee!

Simply comment with your favorite color and follow Freshly Picked via instagram or facebook.  That’s it! The winner will be chosen on friday and will be able to any color of moccs. Awesome, right?

If I were to get another pair, I would go bold and pick Oasis.  The shade of aqua is pretty dreamy.


* To enter you can not have won any other giveaway including a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins within the last 60 days.



{Sonora – Months 1 and 2}

I can’t believe our sweet Sonora has been with us for nearly 3 months already!

In some ways, it seems as though she has always been here.  Then, at other times, I look around me and think, “How the heck do I have THREE children?! When did this happen?!”

I love these girls, and I loved each of their babyhoods and I love documenting them. So, the tradition continues with girl #3.  However, I am also busier than ever, so timeliness may not be my forte this time around. Thus, I give you Sonora’s 1 week, 1 month, and 2 month photos!

She really is a dream baby.  So sweet and generally “easy”.  Oh, she does love to be close to mama.  She MUST nurse every two hours and she DESPISES her car seat. However, she sleeps in 8 hour chunks at night and has since about four weeks old and she gives us the sweetest smiles and coos.  Plus, those double dimples just about kill me!

She has also been a trooper through my online teaching sessions.  Sleeping in long chunks and falling asleep swiftly and easily most of the time!

Though I miss those newborn yawns and snuggles, I am loving the bright-eyed smiles and her little sounds!  She is even rolling over and can hold her head up very well. She is a joy!





{She’s Here}

This title is a bit misleading . . . because she has been here for over 2 months!

However, I’ve let the blog go to focus on life as a family of 5.  I even considered giving it up all together.  But, this is such a great way for me to catalog my children’s growth and it keeps me accountable for taking those adorable monthly photos that I love and treasure from my first two!

Our little Sonora Rose was born on January 29th!  My labor seemed to be progressing as usual . . . slow . . . and I was hoping to stay out of the hospital until midnight for financial reasons.  By 8 pm it was clear that I needed some pain relief, so we went into the hospital.  Less than 2 hours later and with barely enough time to receive an epidural (I had it for the last 20 minutes while I pushed), she was here!  It was much faster at the end and MUCH more painful than the previous two.

Let’s not focus on that, however, as it makes me relive the trauma!  AH!  Let’s focus instead on how adorable our sweet little one is and how much we love her!

IMG_6072 IMG_6079 IMG_6081  IMG_6160 _MG_6270 _MG_6271 _MG_6301 _MG_6393 _MG_6395 _MG_6403 _MG_6415 _MG_6425 _MG_6435 _MG_6468 _MG_6478

Fun fact: After texting my family a photo and letting them know she had safely arrived, I received a text from my sister-in-law that her water had broken and she was heading to the hospital . . . the same hospital as me.  Lo and behold, Sonora’s cousin was born less than 12 hours after her.  They even had their first play date in the hospital!  So special! They were even dedicated on the same day!



Having three has been much easier than I anticipated, but still presents new challenges. We’ve gotten into the swing on things and this baby is much loved in our family!

We’re so happy you’re here, sweet girl!


Baby #3: 39 weeks


You guys.

I. am. huge.

39 weeks and counting and still no baby. It is pretty much all I think about, every waking minute.

Each Braxton Hicks, each twinge, each ache . . . they all make me overanalyze and wonder . . . could this be it?

I am really, really hoping for a baby this weekend for a number of reasons:

  1. It works out well for my mom to come.
  2. It works out well for hubby’s time off from work.
  3. It works out well for my time off from work.
  4. There is a church event I have been planning that is next weekend and I REALLY want to go!
  5. I. am. huge.

This third pregnancy is admittedly the most uncomfortable one I’ve experienced. Something to do with the two kids I already have and my lack of exercise. hmmmm.

To top it all off, I came down with a gnarly cold yesterday.  HOORAY!  I am praying that I kick the cold before labor begins or at least stop coughing.  Coughing and contractions does not seem like a fun combo.




In good news, I have accomplished a ridiculous amount of projects and feel pretty prepared.

In bad news, I keep thinking I’ve stocked up, grocery shopped, and cleaned various parts of the house for the last time before baby . . . aaaaand then she doesn’t come and I have to do it again.

Yesterday, I sewed a rice pack for heating up and using during those lovely nursing contractions.

Today, I plan on making a new boppy cover because why the heck not?! I’m also doing weird nesting things like washing all the sheets again and all the pillow covers in the house.

I’ve reorganized pretty much everything and sold some stuff via craigslist and I CAN’T STOP from doing 5 million things because it is better than twiddling my thumbs and waiting.

Hubby and I both have had haircuts and I finally used last year’s gift certificate for a mani, pedi.

Today I took the girls to the library to stock up on some new books and I hope our little one arrives before they get tired of reading them. HA!



The official due date is the 20th.  When do you think she’ll come?

I can’t believe this little one will soon be in our arms.  I am eager to see what she looks like and so very eager to see her sisters’ reactions to her.  Just today, as we were snuggled in bed reading books before nap time, they both laid their little heads on my tummy, rubbed it gently and kept saying her name in the sweetest of voices.

We can’t wait to meet you, sweet girl.

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