Our Little Girl’s Wedding Birthday Party

Our Little Girl's Wedding Birthday Party - What an adorable and unique birthday party idea for a little girl!

This post contains affiliate links.

Last year Grace went through a phase where she was obsessed with watching my wedding video. She would watch it multiple times a week. Nate and I have seen our wedding video so many times that I don’t think either of us will have the desire to watch it on our anniversary for a very, very long time.

Because of Grace’s love for weddings, my mom gave her a Melissa and Doug wedding dress for Christmas. That dressed sparked the idea in Grace’s mind to have a wedding birthday party. Surprisingly, she stuck with the idea and this past weekend we had the big event for her 5th birthday.

I sent out wedding themed email invitations to our family and asked everyone to dress nicely like they would for a wedding. I wore a black dress and Nate was in a suit and tie. Nate’s parents had white rose boutonnieres on in honor of being the grandparents of the bride! It was funny to see people so dressed up for a kid’s birthday party.

Grace in her Wedding Birthday Dress

Of course Grace wore her wedding dress, which came with a veil and flowers. She waiting upstairs for all of her guests to arrive and then she walked down our open staircase while wedding music played.

Wedding Birthday Party Table

Wedding Birthday Party Table and Cake

Wedding Birthday Party Flowers

Wedding Birthday Party

We had a simple (but delicious!) meal with all of the wedding guests. I used a white table cloth, pink burlap I found at Walmart, and white lace to decorate the table. I added mason jars with candles and some fresh flowers from our yard. To top it all off we had the wedding cake in the center next to the Willow Tree figurine that Nate and I had on top of our wedding cake 9 years ago.

Wedding Birthday Party Streamers

I used white lace and pink curling ribbon to make streamers for the living room. I used scotch tape to attach the lace and ribbon to yarn. I wasn’t sure if the tape would stick well enough onto the lace, but I didn’t have any problems.

Wedding Birthday Party Gift Table

I also used lace, pink ribbon, and white christmas lights on the staircase and gift table.

Aside from the cake and food, the most expensive part of the party was the burlap and lace, which totaled less than $20. I was able to get most of the lace from a thrift shop, which made it so affordable.

We have a tradition in our house that I do all the decorating for the party while the kids are having nap/quiet time. When Grace came downstairs and saw everything she was delighted. She kept saying, “Oh! I wanted that!” Then she would point to something else and say it again, “I wanted that!” Apparently, it was just what she had hoped for. :)

Grace was absolutely adorable throughout the whole thing. You can guarantee that these pictures will be showing up at her real wedding someday!

To see how I’ve decorated other birthday parties for my kids, you can read:

Have you ever been to a wedding birthday party? I would love to hear about it! 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah!

Posted in Life | 6 Comments

10 Safer Bath and Body Products for You and Your Kids

Unfortunately, we can't trust that every item on the store shelves is safe to use, but here are 10 safer bath and body products for you and your kids. This list covers hand soap, toothpaste, diaper rash cream, shampoo, and more.  Trying out these suggestions would be a great first step towards more natural living.

Grace has fallen into the trap of kid marketing. She has started asking me to buy her junk at the grocery store that is decorated with her favorite cartoon characters. I don’t deprive my kids of treats, but there are some things I don’t want to buy.

“Grace, I’m not going to buy that because it really isn’t good for you.”

“If it isn’t good for kids, why is it here?”

“Some people still buy it and eat it even though it isn’t good.”

I’m starting to lay down the foundation with Grace that not every item in the store is an item that is good for her. This is a concept all of us know and understand. I don’t think many of us are fooled into thinking that candy bars are a health food.

However, I would place bets that most of us are fooled into thinking that the products lining the shelves in the bath and beauty aisle are safe for us and our kids. Unfortunately, that simply is not true.

In 2013 Johnson & Johnson admitted that their baby products contained ingredients that are known to cause cancer. You may be tempted to rid your bathroom of all Johnson & Johnson products, but your purge won’t be effective until you take a good look at all of your bath and body products.

Dangerous chemicals like phthalates and parabens are used regularly in bath and body products. Unless your products clearly state “phthalate & paraben free” on the label, you are likely using a potentially harmful product.

So if you don’t want to use the popular Johnson & Johnson brand on your little ones, what should you use?

10 Safer Bath and Body Products for You and Your Kids

I don’t claim that any of these safer bath and body products are 100% safe or perfect, but they are items that I have bought and used in my own home. Some of the links below are affiliate links.

body wash

1. Babyganics Foaming Body Wash & Shampoo – I’ve tried a couple different soap options for my kids and so far this one is my favorite.

2. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm – I have only used conventional diaper rash cream on my babies a handful of times. It has such a strong medicine smell (even through the diaper!) and it makes me nervous. This diaper rash cream from Earth Mama Angel Baby has a very soft, natural scent. It has been effective for my babies.

3. JASON Hand Soap – If you are trying to avoid toxins in your soap, make sure you stay away from antibacterial soaps. My favorite JASON hand soap scent is cranberry. I love it!

tooth paste

4. Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste for Kids – This comes in a fluoride or fluoride free option.

5. Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion – I like the way this lotion smells. I’ve used it on my babies and myself.

6. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap – This super concentrated soap can be used on your body or in homemade cleaning products. It comes in a variety of scents. Make sure you don’t use the peppermint scent on sensitive body parts (like a baby’s bottom) because it can tingle. You shouldn’t experience that with the other scents.

coconut oil

7. Organic Coconut Oil – You can use coconut oil in the kitchen or the bathroom. I use it on a regular basis as a moisturizer, lip balm, or to keep frizz under control. It can also be used as a diaper rash cream.

8. Tom’s of Maine Bar Soap – This is available in my regular grocery store and I use it on a regular basis.

shampoo and conditioner

9. Garnier Fructis Pure & Clean Shampoo and Conditioner – This is not a perfect product, but I have been using it for months. I like it because: it isn’t pricey, it is available at my grocery store, and it is paraben & dye free. I’ve tried more natural shampoo options, but I haven’t found one I love.

10. Everyday Shea Bubble Bath – When I buy bubble bath for my children, this is the brand that I always get.

When it comes to making changes to your beauty routine and striving to live a more  natural life, start with the baby steps. You don’t need to throw out all of your conventional products at once and start from scratch. As you use up one of your products, try to replace it with a more natural option. Look to see if any of these safer bath and body products above are available at your grocery store or big box store or add one of them to your next Amazon order.

What are your favorite natural bath and body products?  Have you tried any these safer options?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Like I said earlier in the post, I don’t claim to have found the most perfect and natural products out there. This is simply a good starting point.

Posted in Green Living | 8 Comments

10 Helpful Morning Routines From A Night Owl

10 Helpful Morning Routines From A Night Owl - tips from someone who hates getting up in the morning!

Ever since I became a stay-at-home mom 5 years ago, I’ve enjoyed the luxury of ditching my alarm clock on most mornings. I set my alarm for church or other special events, but most of the time I wake up when Grace crawls into bed with me or when I hear Noah calling for me.

Every expert under the sun says that waking up before your children is the key to starting your day off right. Clearly I’m not doing things right, but I’m a night owl. 100%.

Well it is time for things to change because this night owl needs to get her little girl to preschool two days a week. Take a look at my cutie on her first day. I can’t even handle it!

Grace's First Day

10 Helpful Morning Routines from a Night Owl

1. Pick out school clothes the night before. 

2. Check the backpack the night before.

3. Double check the school calendar to make sure I’m not forgetting show & tell or anything else important.

4. Wake up before the kids and shower. - I’ve been avoiding this system for years, but getting myself ready and dressed before the kids is much easier than trying to do both at the same time.

5. Pick a pleasant sound/song to wake up to on my alarm. - I use my cellphone as my alarm clock, which means I can control what noise wakes me up. It is much nicer to wake up to a gentle harp sound rather than the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP a traditional alarm clock.

6. Drink water. - Every morning I try to drink a glass of water before I drink any coffee. I haven’t read any studies on this, but it just makes sense that my body’s need for water is probably much greater than my desire for coffee.

7. Drink coffee. - I never used to be a daily coffee drinker, but then Noah was born. Now I delight in my morning ritual. Sadly, it has also become a necessity. I’ll get a headache by lunch time if I skip the caffeine.

8. Let Noah sleep! - I don’t see the point in waking up my toddler until it is absolutely necessary. If we are going straight home after dropping off Grace then we can skip getting dressed and eating breakfast if we have to and do it when we get home.

9. Pick a preschool with curbside pickup and drop off. - This might not be possible for everyone, but I love the fact that I don’t need to get Noah out of the car when I drop off Grace. It makes it possible for me to keep him (and me if necessary!) in PJs until we get back home.

10. Go to bed earlier. - I really hate doing this. It is incredibly difficult for me to deny myself the pleasure of a quiet house. Incredibly difficult. If you have tips for this, please let me know!

Cottonelle Wet + Dry Toilet Paper System

*Bonus Tip* Use Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths and Clean Care Toilet Paper - Grace just started school, but I can guarantee that there will be plenty of days when I don’t want to wake up early to take a shower. Using Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths on mornings when I skip a shower helps me feel more fresh. Plus there are other times when dry toilet paper alone doesn’t seem to cut it. Give it a try! You might be surprised how much you like it.

Get a Rite-Aid coupon for $1.00 off and give Cottonelle’s wet + dry combination a try!

Visit the Rite-Aid website and watch the 30-second video. At the end, you will login to receive a coupon, which you can download for $1.00 off your purchase of Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths and Cottonelle Clean Care toilet paper.

If you are a fellow night owl like myself, please remember to have grace with yourself. There will be mornings when we struggle to get out of bed. That is okay as long as we can function and be kind to our families in the morning. Dust yourself off and try to do better the next day. (And if you see me online late at night, tell me to go to bed!!)

What are your morning routine tips for night owls? Have you tried Cottonelle’s wet + dry combo?

This post is sponsored by Cottonelle. All opinions and night owl struggles are my own.

Posted in Tips | 25 Comments

10 Affordable Housewarming Gifts

10 Affordable Housewarming Gifts - great ideas that will fit any budget!

This post contains affiliate links.

It is fun to bless someone with a housewarming gift, but it isn’t fun to break your budget trying to do it. Each of these affordable housewarming gifts will cost you less than $30, most of them are less than $20, and some are even less than $10.

10 Affordable Housewarming Gifts

Housewarming Gift - Baked Goods

1. Baked Goods - Any homemade treat will do, but I especially like the idea of bread. You can write something in the card about “breaking bread together” in their new home. (Don’t forget that the bread doesn’t need to be made in your home! Picking some up from a local bakery is just as good.)

Housewarming Gift - Flowers

2. Flowers & Houseplants - Fresh cut flowers are always an appropriate gift. A nice planter will most likely cost more, but it will last longer. The “welcome” sign in the planter above is a nice touch, don’t you think?

3. Gift Cards - When I moved into a new apartment just before Nate and I got married, his parents gave me gift cards to several local restaurants. It was fun to explore the restaurants in my new neighborhood.

Housewarming Gift - Message Blocks

4. Message Blocks - It can be a risky move to buy a decorative piece for someone’s new home, but these mantel blocks from DaySpring are really neat. They come with a cheat sheet to help you create 22 different words. Right now they are 50% off on clearance for just $24.99.

5. Candle - Yankee Candles makes a Home Sweet Home scent that is one of my favorites. I used to give this as a gift all the time, but I’ve cut back since I’ve learned that candles aren’t really that great for you.

Housewarming Gift - key chain

6. Key Chain - A friend of mine gave me this customized key chain when we bought our house. I really like this one from Lisa Leonard. You could customize it with the last name, address, or the year the home was purchased.

7. Note Cards - It is always nice to have some blank note cards around. I really like these made by C.R. Gibson. They are simple and pretty.

Housewarming Gift - Canned Goods

8. Canned Goods - Do you make your own jam, salsa, pickles, or canned fruit? Here are some recipes and inspirational posts to help:

9. Freezer Meals - This isn’t a very conventional gift, but it really is helpful. Everyone appreciates being able to get out of cooking from time to time – especially people who are busy unpacking! Here are some of my favorite freezer friendly recipes:

Housewarming Gift - Mason Jar Gift Set

10. Mason Jar Gift Set - This exact gift was given to a friend of mine who loves to can and it fit her fabulously. The mason jars are filled with pantry items like popcorn, oatmeal, raisins, pasta, and animal crackers. There are also cookies and a new kitchen towel. Mason jars can be used for more than just canning (decoration, food storage, etc.), but people who love to can will probably appreciate this gift the most.

What are your favorite housewarming gifts to give or receive?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah!

Posted in Frugal, Tips | 6 Comments

Looking Back at 5 Years of Beach Vacation Blessings

My husband is the director of a nonprofit and one of the donors to the nonprofit has gifted us with a week at his beach house for the past 5 summers. I can’t get over how incredibly awesome that has been for our family. This donor has such a generous heart. It means so much to us that he recognizes the “missionary type” work that my husband does and wants to provide some much needed rest and relaxation for our family.

In honor of our 5th year at the beach this month, I wanted to take stroll down memory lane and share some photos from the past 5 years. It is crazy to see how my little ones have grown. Enjoy the photos as I cry in the corner, wishing I could make time stand still.

2010

Grace was just 9 months old the first time we took her to the beach.

Grace had so much fun!

Grace and Mommy

At the Zoo

2011

Grace's First View of the Beach this Year

Grace Playing in the Sand

Close Up Family Photo

I was pregnant with Noah this year, but we didn’t even know it yet!

2012

Noah was just 4 months old the first time we took him with us.

My Little Beach Diva

My Handsome Men

Our Family of Four on the Beach

2013

IMG_8449

IMG_0135

IMG_8454

2014

kidsgrace at beachnoah at beachfamily photo Just for fun, here is a look at Grace’s carousel rides over the past 5 years.

Grace's First Merry-Go-Round Ride

Grace on the Merry Go RoundGrace on the Carousel

Grace 2013grace 2014

It is fun to look back at these pictures and see how my family has grown, but the most impressive part of it all is that it was all possible because of someone’s generous giving. The couple who own this beach house has literally given my children summers at the beach and memories they will have forever.

Who could you offer an extra blessing to today? It doesn’t have to be as big as giving them a week at your vacation home. Perhaps it could be just a card in the mail or even a text message telling them that you appreciate what they do for your community.

"No matter what the size is of your bank account, never doubt your ability to bless someone else." - SimplyRebekah.com

No matter what the size is of your bank account, never doubt your ability to bless someone else.

Who will you bless today?

Posted in Life | Leave a comment