Guest Posts on Motherhood: Janssen Bradshaw

Welcome back to part 2 of my guest posts on motherhood. I’ve shared a few thoughts on this topic in the past but it’s been really special and unique to hand over the reigns to hear from a few other ladies (who also happen to be mothers of three, or are soon to be). Last week Miranda shared on the art of doing only one thing at a time, deciding where you want to spend that time, and how she’s built a routine around it. I love that.

This week I’ve asked Janssen of Everyday Reading (also a roommate from Alt Summer 2014!) to share about her family. I’ve followed along as Janssen and her family traveled to London last fall while her husband spent a semester studying at London Business School and through her third pregnancy (also welcoming a third little girl in just a few weeks!). For today’s answers, I especially appreciated Janssen’s ‘quiet time’ solution (soo smart, be sure to read the linked post over at her site). And now I’ll hand this post over with many thanks to Janssen for taking the time.

Guest Post: Janssen Bradshaw | Everyday Reading | PepperDesignBlog.com

Tell us a little about your family.

Our family consists of me and my husband Bart, and our two little girls, Ella and Ani. In a few weeks, we’ll be welcoming our third girl into our family, and I’m not sure who is the most excited about it! My husband is an MBA student at Duke University, so we currently live in North Carolina. We spent this past fall living in London while he did a semester at the London Business School and got to squeeze in a lot of traveling around Europe too, which was a dream come true.

Guest Post: Janssen Bradshaw | Everyday Reading | PepperDesignBlog.com

Tell us a little about what you do for a living (creatively, in a corporate environment, as a blogger or other?)

I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I also am the breadwinner for our family while my husband is a student. I blog at Everyday Reading about modern motherhood with a practical spin (no elaborate parties or projects that will take years off your life, but plenty of easy and healthy recipes, simple DIY projects, and great book recommendations) and I also contribute to Disney Baby, Conde Nast Traveler, Penguin Random House, and Cardstore.

Guest Post: Janssen Bradshaw | Everyday Reading | PepperDesignBlog.com

How do you do it all? What does your routine look like? What’s a day in the life of?

I wake up about 45 minutes before my girls do (they get up around 7:15) and work as much as I can until they wake up. This has been a game-changer for me; I’ve never liked waking up early to exercise, but I like my work, so it’s easy for me to get up and pound a few things out before the day really begins. Plus, I just sit in bed to work, so it’s not at all strenuous.

Once my girls get up, we snuggle in bed for a few minutes, then head downstairs to eat some breakfast (usually cold cereal or oatmeal). Then they play while my husband and I get ready for the day and he heads off to school. Usually the girls and I run errands or hang out with friends or get out of the house and then get home for lunch and my girls go down for naps and quiet time.

I work like crazy for those two hours and then when they get up, we hang out at home, usually, reading books on the couch, going to the park or for a walk, or starting on dinner. We have family dinner once my husband gets home and then it’s the mad dash to get my girls in bed by seven.

Any special tips/secrets to making it happen?

I have specific days I do routine tasks so that I don’t have to think about them any other time (Mondays, for instance, I do laundry, start to finish, and I never do it on other days). I don’t want to spend mental energy debating “should I go grocery shopping today?” or letting those tasks leak into multiple days.

Also, being serious about quiet time for my four-year-old has been the best parenting thing we ever did. It’s a sanity saver for me on a daily basis and lets me get the work I need to done even while l stay at home.

And I’ve given up trying to work much at nights. I’m so unproductive at that time and if I’ll let myself off the hook and relax, I can be way more productive during the day because I’m not burnt out, and I feel like I actually give myself time to just enjoy life.

Guest Post: Janssen Bradshaw | Everyday Reading | PepperDesignBlog.com

Is there a favorite project (from your site) that you’d share with us?

I made this giant map print for my office last year, and I am just totally in love with it! Plus, who doesn’t love a chance to use gold sharpies?

Guest Post: Janssen Bradshaw | Everyday Reading | PepperDesignBlog.com

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Thank you so much, Janssen, really happy to have you here today!

PS remember when I regularly hosted Friday Guest Blog Interviews around here? So much good knowledge being shared. I really dig it when bloggers have the opportunity to collaborate and share the love.

Wardrobe Style Board: Winter Finds

Winter Finds Style Board & Inspiration | Creams & Blush | PepperDesignBlog.com

knitted beanie | blush plaid scarf | kid’s metallic flutter dress | pearl trio ring | pearl tassel pendantpencil dress | basics powder palette | rose gold & black watch | wool hat

 There’s something about the neutral palette of creams and blushes (with gold, bronze or brown accents) that feels very natural in the winter. I especially like when they are mixed together! I’m working on a diy version of the tassel necklace and really love the knitted beanie for this winter. That pencil dress too… But it will be a long while before I fit into something like that again!

Liv’s 4th ‘Sparkly Star’ Birthday Party

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

We celebrated Liv’s 4th birthday just five days before her baby sister arrived, but if I had one goal this last month it was to make Liv’s special day happen. I realize all too well that she’ll be sharing her birthday with Christmas, New Year’s and Marley for the rest of her life, so I want to make sure that she knows how special and important her big day is to us.

And so we played! And partied! And celebrated, and ate yummy food, and even had a princess drop by (totally made Liv’s day). We love this little monkey so much.

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

We have a small backyard without a lot of space to run around, and since we were hosting 12+ kids I really wanted to plan an activity that would help entertain the whole bunch. I was also just a little nervous that I could either be in the hospital or really not feeling up to some serious kid hosting (games, crafts…) :-) so it made SO much sense to bring in Elsa to lead dancing, singing and a craft. She was awesome! And Liv kept coming up to me asking how she traveled from Arandale to our backyard so quickly.

PS if you are in Southern California I cannot recommend Jennie Lynn of Princess Parties of San Diego enough. She has her own little business and is the sweetest, most flexible Elsa you ever did meet.

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv and I had decided on a gold, silver and pink sparkly star birthday theme a little while back, so (thanks to the help of good friends!) I cut out a bazillion metallic, mat and glittery stars to cover our backyard with. A banner above the dessert table and various star toppers (for the cupcakes and larger cake) helped tie it all together.

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv’s special requests included cupcakes and a cake (we baked a buttercream + cinnamon cake the weekend before, froze the layers and then defrosted the day before the party. We added pomegranate jam between the layers and frosted the cake in a basic buttercream). Plus a build-your-own hot chocolate station. We added crushed candy canes, mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and chocolate covered spoons for fun add-ons.

Kevin slow roasted a pork shoulder for pulled pork sandwiches for the adults, we cut out cheese sandwiches with a star cookie cutter for the kids.

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv's Sparkly Star Birthday Party | PepperDesignBlog.com

A seriously fun day. So happy to make this girl smile from ear to ear and I loved the theme we chose! Really fun to put together and so sparkly/girly!

PS I remember when this big girl was born… A little 4th birthday walk down memory lane and her outdoor camping party (with my favorite tents) from last year. Plus the inspiration board for this party :).

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