Creative Valentine's Day ideas for your man

Why are guys always SO hard to do something thoughtful for? Girls are totally easy — flowers, a sentimental letter, candles, a spa gift card...but how to guys like to be pampered on the day of love?

We've been racking our brains trying to think of something for the men in our lives, so we figured we'd share the best of our findings. Read on for some inspiration!

1. Love letter review night. Spend the evening looking through memorabilia from when you first met. Share notes, pictures, and bonus points if you let him read your diary!

2. Plan a year of dates in a box. We love this idea from The Babes Ruth blog. It takes the guess work out of the weekend and gives you something to look forward to at least once a month - though you could certainly plan even more!

3. Write "open when" letters. This one requires a lot of thought — which is what makes it such an amazing gift! It's completely free of cost, but 100% full of love. See this blog post for more details!

4. Relive your first moments together. - Whether you go to the place you first met or eat at the restaurant you first had dinner together, reliving the early days of your relationship will surely spark some fire.

5. Make a slideshow of memories. This blog post gives a tutorial on making the easiest slideshow ever — find some sweet photos of your time together and you are set!

6. Send text messages throughout the day that each start with,  “I love you because…” This one makes the whole day a little bit more special, and it's very easy to do. Send a text every hour or at least a few throughout the day. Everyone loves to hear why they are loved!

7. Give him a Sensual Valentine box. This list wouldn't be complete without something to really spice things up on Valentine's Day. :-) This blog post gives ideas for a light-hearted, fun way to appeal to all the senses with your man.

8. Dinner in bed. We all dream about breakfast in bed, but dinner in bed could be just as amazing. You'll avoid the busy restaurant seen, don't have to get dressed up, and can cozy up and watch a movie, go to sleep — or not — immediately following the meal. :-)

Mighty Hero Hayes

Meet our Mighty Hero Hayes. He is our hero for the month of February. This handsome little stud needs all our love and prayers as he starts treatment next week. We are sending all our love and prayers to you! Every penny of your donation will go to Hayes. Go to Stay strong handsome! You got this!

In December, Hayes started getting sick. He was throwing up, sleeping a lot, and wouldn’t really eat. Every time Steve and Savanna took him to the doctors, they told them he just had a virus… it was going around. After hearing this for five weeks, they knew it wasn’t right. They had five other kids at home and none of them were sick. If it was a virus, someone else would have caught it. 

On January 7th, 2016, they decided that they needed to take him to Primary’s Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. They did a scan and found a mass in his brain. 

The next day Hayes went in for surgery to have it removed. They were able to remove the tumor but it was large and malignant. The tumor was sent to pathology. 

On January 19, 2016, pathology came back and Hayes was diagnosed with Choroid Plexus Carcinoma, an extremely rare form of cancer that affects 1 in 3 million people. It’s so rare that doctors in Utah have never treated it. 

It is very early yet and we do not know much information right now, but we do know that the family is going to need every bit of help they can get to provide Hayes the very best treatment.  They have enough to worry about, we don’t want them to have to worry about any financial burdens. Even though they have medical insurance, we know there will be lots of things they have to pay for. 

Hayes is a tough kid and is a fighter! In fact, his parents told me that he has a triplet brother that is much bigger than he is. They still remember their first fight over a toy. Hayes had this tenacity although his brother was stronger, Hayes had this unbelievable determination to fight for what he wanted. Hayes was the last baby born out of the triplets and immediately was put on a ventilator. He quickly got off the ventilator and was eventually the first baby to come home. His parents have always known that Hayes is determined. He has a tenacious mentality that they haven't seen from their other kids. 

His middle name is Kyle, after Chris Kyle from American Sniper. He has defied the odds from the beginning… when they first found out that they were expecting triplets they initially heard only two heartbeats. The ultrasound revealed three babies, but they couldn't hear his heartbeat. The Doctor wasn't very optimistic that he would develop giving him a 50/50 chance, but after only a week they went back and heard Hayes' heartbeat. He was determined to come to their family and be a part of the happy chaos that is the Tate family! 

Hayes is a tough little guy and is surrounded by an incredible family, including amazing parents, a 9 year old brother, a 7 year old sister, a four year old brother and his fellow 10 mos old brother and sister triplets. It takes a village… and there is a strong village that will be there for Hayes and his family every step of the way.

After meeting with the Oncologists at Primary's Children's Medical Center and doing our due diligence with St. Jude's, Savanna and I have decided to stay here for Hayes' treatment. The treatment could start as early as Friday, but we will definitely be starting by next week. It will consist of an aggressive chemo therapy regime of 6 month's inpatient. Savanna will be at the hospital with Hayes while I stay home with the other 5 kids. We are extremely grateful for the support so far and we will continue to lean on it for these next 6 months. We are extremely grateful for the love everyone has shown us. We plan on beating this and having a party in July to celebrate. It's time to beat cancer and Hayes will do it. I know! #prayforHayes #Hayestough

Valentine's Day gifts under $30 for everyone on your list

Valentine's Day is sneaking right up on us! But considering we're still in recovery mode from all the Christmas spending, we plan to keep our Valentine's Day gifting on the thrifty side. Here are come inexpensive ways to show your love to friends, significant others and kids!

These Anthropologie candles are our absolute favorite - any friend would be so excited to have one of these to cozy up their home in the winter months! $28

We love the idea of collecting holiday-themed books to take out just for the season. It keeps your kids interested and makes bedtime extra fun. This sweet "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" spin-off is perfect for the occasion. $6.99

Sometimes a card is all it takes to show someone you care. We're skipping the traditional cheesy cards for a different kind of cheese this year with this cheeky style from Urban Outfitters. :-) $5

The men in our lives are simple creatures: they don't need much...but they could always use a new pair of socks! These festive heart socks from Old Navy are just subtle enough that any many would be willing to rock them. $5.94

We don't care who you are — man, woman or child: you will go crazy over these gourmet rice crispy treats by The Crispery. They are ooey-gooey in all the right ways and will change the way you see rice crispy treats forevermore. $24.99

Another perfect gift for a girlfriend, this Forever 21 jewelry dish quotes our favorite Beatles line and would get used on the daily. $5.94

Though handmade gifts are always appreciated most, they can be overly time-consuming. This book does the legwork and makes a thoughtful gift as easy as pie. It'll help you say "I love you" in all new ways! $10

Skip the chalky candy for a longer-lasting version of the Valentine's Day classic treat. This sweetheart Rubik's Cube puzzle is perfect for the older kids in your life who love a good challenge. $5

Winter pregnancy style inspiration

Freezing winter temps can put your fashion game in a rut come January and February, but when you're pregnant, things can get really rough. Thank goodness for Pinterest and street style blogs, bringing us inspiration just when we're resorting to pulling out the same pair of sweats for the third day in a row.

For today's post we've compiled a few of our favorite winter maternity looks to keep things fresh until that baby comes along!

1. Sweater with fur vest. We love the layering and texture going on here!

2. Form-fitting tee + button-up shirt. Again, layering is essential in the winter, and essential when trying to conceal a growing bump. Match made in heaven!

3. Edgy prego style. We love that this look is edgy, sporty and comfortable all at once.

Via @midwifeyhooper

4. Tunic over jeans. This longer top allows coverage and warmth while giving a more boho look to a button-up. Love!

5. Maternity overalls. These exist?? This girl is rocking this look so hard, it makes us believe we can do it too.

6. Put a belt on it. Even with flowy tops, it's always flattering to define the waistline with a growing bump.

7. Bodycon dresses. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, bodycon dresses are a great way to appear slimmer during pregnancy — no loose layers to make you look bigger than you are! Paired with over-the-knee boots and it's downright model status.

8. Layer tops of different lengths. While the first top would be too short on its own, layering it with a longer lace top makes it totally maternity-friendly. Genius!

Childhood cancer charity spotlight: Alex's Lemonade Stand

Via Facebook

We're excited to start a new series spotlighting some of our favorite foundations that also support children with cancer. First up: Alex's Lemonade Stand!

This foundation was started by a child who had cancer herself — the inspiring and adorable Alexandra Scott. Sweet Alex died of neuroblastoma in 2004, at the age of eight.

But for four years prior, Alex started a lemonade stand raising money for her local hospital, doctors and fellow children battling cancer. She told her mom she wanted to help other kids the way they helped her. By the age of eight her lemonade stands had gotten so much traction she managed to raise $1 million dollars for her cause.

Via Facebook

Alex's Lemonade Stand carried on after Alex passed away, and has continued to donate millions of dollars to childhood cancer research. This is a hugely important, because only 4 percent of funds from the National Cancer Institute go toward childhood cancer research.

Like us, Alex's Lemonade Stand believes in making a difference now — not just whenever a cure for cancer is found. We love that Alex's Lemonade Stand is one of the only national charities giving funds to pediatric oncology nursing research, which helps improve the quality of care and life the children have as they battle cancer.

Mighty Hero Alanya

Meet Beautiful Alanya our Mighty Hero for January. Below her mother Kristine shares her story.

Alanya had been sick for a couple of weeks in May 2014, throwing up each morning and then being fine for the rest of the day. I took her to her pediatrician every week and they said it was ear infection, then stomach bug after some blood tests. Memorial weekend I took her to ER and they did CT scan since that was the only option we really had left. They found a mass in her brain and gave the option of life flight to Las Vegas or Salt Lake City children's hospitals. It was no brainer and we were on a jet to Salt Lake City to Primary Children's Hospital. She went into surgery first thing the next morning for a 7 hour brain surgery. The mass was almost as big as a baseball. The next day there was an MRI that showed there was still some tumor left and they felt it was best to go in and get as much out as possible. The next morning Alanya went into her 2nd brain surgery, 4 hours this time. The tumor was about the size of a deflated grape. There was another MRI and the doctors were confident they got as much as they could. She was in the hospital for over a week as the drain for the fluids in her brain had to be weaned out and she needed to show signs of progress for movement, speech, and eating. On June 5th we were able to take her home where her 4 year old brother was a great motivator in helping her stand and start walking again. We then had to wait for the final pathology to come back and it was Stage IV Medulloblastoma. The most common type of brain cancer in children. The oncology doctors plan was to start high dose chemotherapy right away to kill any cancerous cells left behind. In July 2014 I took Alanya to Primary Children's Hospital to start her first round of chemo where she was hospitalized for 3 weeks. It was so hard on her little body and being stuck in the small hospital room was hard for her to understand. She went on to receive 5 rounds of chemo over five months. In January 2015 she received a Bone Marrow Transplant, her own, and we stayed at Ronald McDonald House for the 100 day waiting period for her to be released to go home. Her brother, Markus (5), came up to be with us and try to have a somewhat normal life with weekly visits to PCH. On March 10, Alanya's 3rd birthday, we were able to leave and go home. Her 3 month scans were as perfect as we could ask for! Her doctor's were all optimistic for her future and having beat the cancer. Diagnosis. Alanya had her 6 month followup MRI in August 2015 and it was not good. She had tumors in her brain and it had spread to along her spine. The most worrisome tumors were in her spine pressing against what controls bladder and her ability to walk. We knew she would need radiation and chemo and asked if it would be possible to do her Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World to meet the princesses. After an amazing week in Florida Alanya and I headed to PCH for port placement and the start of radiation. She was quickly losing her ability to walk so after only 3 radiation treatments she was hospitalized to get a quick MRI and the plan to get her in for a 7 hour surgery the next morning. The drastic changes and spread of tumors along her spine was shocking. Her surgery with neurosurgeon and orthopaedic surgeon ended up being a long 10 hours. Followed by 48 hours of her having to lay flat and trying to keep on top of her pain with morphine. After a week in neurotrauma unit the doctors agreed they needed to not wait the 2 weeks they normally would after such a major surgery and begin the radiation again. 2.5 weeks into radiation they did another MRI and there were not enough changes in the right direction and the doctor said it was UNLIKELY she would BEAT THE CANCER. Not zero but not great. That was the hardest thing to hear since her original diagnosis was pretty strong that she could beat cancer with high dose chemo. She finished her full brain and spine radiation in October (6 weeks staying at the Ronald McDonald House). The first time driving home after her spine surgery was almost 1.5 months after surgery and instead of 4.5 hour drive it was almost 8 hours because of all the extra stops. She is doing so much better now and it takes about 6 hours still but she doesn't scream it is hurting anymore. She did get a lot of her function in her legs back and her bladder function has gone back to normal. All things the doctors were unsure if she would ever get back.

Alanya loves to sing, dance, and play with her brother. She plays dress up as Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, and Cinderella. Since the spinal surgery she is able to stand against our couch and will sing and move arms to the Kinect game for XBox JUST DANCE. She is still unable to walk on her own but has come so far and is holding my hands and walking carrying her own weight. HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT.

Alanya absolutely loves princesses. She looks up to her big brother Markus. In my own mind she is the hero and I have told her and asked if she understands what it means. She says yes and I have explained it to her. Again she is young and has favorite people and things. Markus who is almost 6 years old and adores his sister. He wants to help her walk every day and when she is only moving around crawling he is down on the floor beside her. He is supportive in his own way. He loves all the marvel super heroes and has worked hard to learn all the Princesses his sister likes.

My life revolves around the kids and it is Alanya's journey that I have to be right there beside her through the good and the bad. I have not had a job since Sept 2015 when I was let go from my marketing job for the second time when I realized I would be gone at least 6 weeks with radiation treatment. I am blessed to have had friends and a great mother help me financially to allow me to be the mom at home with the kids because of all Alanya's extra needs. It is difficult for me at times just because I know I am able to provide for my kids but have needed so much help recently. Looking for part-time work so I can be home and still be paying bills, which are still part of life even when cancer hits.

Through all of this cancer journey my children keep me going. I have also met so many families with different trials and obstacles of their own child health issues and we use each other for strength. We have experienced so much support from family and friends. I try to make every day with the kids positive and I try to be positive about the here and now as well as the future. It has been much more difficult the second time around because I truly thought she beat it the first time. I do believe in miracles and we pray that Alanya gets her miracle and we do everything possible to keep her happy.

Go to and donate to Alanya. Every penny of your donation will go to Alanya and her family. All our love and prayers are with you. Stay Strong pretty girl!

Most Popular Baby Names of 2015

Via gramfeed
Baby names, oh, baby names... Why is it such an addicting topic? It seems like everyone loves to talk baby names, whether they have kids or not. We even know tons of single men who have baby names queued up for the future!

So naturally, we're always excited to read up on the most popular baby names of the year. By now you've probably read at least one report on the top baby names, so we decided to round up all of the lists out there for an ultimate guide to baby name lists and trends from 2015. We added in some baby name predictions for 2016, too — so if you've got a baby on the way next year, you can avoid all the overly popular names. :-)

First up, we have the Social Security baby name list. This one is considered the most accurate/official because it comes from data of parents applying for social security cards for new babies. According to their list, the top 10 boy and girl names are as follows:


What do you think? Any surprising names on the list? We know quite a few Noahs and Olivias, so those weren't at all surprising to us!

Next we have a list from Baby Center, as reported by the parents who visit the site. (Not quite as official, but still fun to see!)


Nameberry also came out with a list of baby name trends from the year, including names ending in "o" sounds and names with "x" in the middle.

But perhaps our favorite trend of the year is this: naming your baby after Instagram filters. Too funny! The names aren't bad, but the influence of social media on our culture can be a little scary!

The always-fabulous Mother Mag came out with a list of baby name predictions for 2016. In typical fashion, Mother Mag came up with a list that is hip but not overly trendy. We love the name inspiration!

And now it's time to sound off! What are your kid's names or what do you hope to name future children? Are any of them on these lists? And how do you feel about having a child with a popular name? Tell us in the comments!