DIY Baby Wipes | How-to & Why You Should

When Ella was a baby, we went through ALL of the brands of baby wipes available on the market. No matter what brand we tried, her “diaper rashes” got worse and worse. Huggies were by far the most harmful brand to her skin.

We eventually learned that diaper rashes are NOT normal, and are in fact chemical burns caused by the wipes. So I began making my own baby wipes, which completely stopped the rashes. The only time new rashes appeared were when she went to family members houses that still used store-bought wipes.

I have been making my own baby wipes ever since for all of my babies born after her, and have since switched to cloth diapering after learning how dangerous disposable diapers are for babies health as well.

Making your own wipes is inexpensive, easy to do, and SAFE for your babies.

Ingredients Found in Store-Bought Baby Wipes

Methylisothiazolinone – causes frequent outbreaks, scaly skin, skin burns, eye damage, dermatitis, allergies, and fluid-filled blisters.

Phenoxyethanol – harmful to children’s health including adverse effects to the central and peripheral nervous system, skin irritation, lung irritation, toxic to kidneys and liver,

Benzyl Alcohol – causes irritations and rashes and inflammation on the skin of young children including: irritation, severe itching, reddening of skin, loss of sensation, eye irritations, vision problems, pain, peeling skin, heat burn.

Formaldehyde – carcinogenic to humans. Causes cancer and contact dermatitis including blisters, scales, thickening of skin, leathery skin, asthma, respiratory problems, eye, nose, and throat irritations, conjunctival irritation, allergies, low blood pressure, headaches, irregular breathing, abnormalities of heart rhythm, unconsciousness, restlessness, loss of red blood cells.

Formaldehyde appears under the names: Diazolidinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Quaternium-15, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol (Bronopol), Polyoxymethylene Urea, 5-Bromo-5-Nitri-1,3 Dioxane, Methenamine, Glyoxal.

Polypropylene – can cause dizziness, drowsiness, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, lung disease.

Viscose – Derived from wood pulp, the process to make viscose involves many harsh chemicals. Those chemicals cause coronary heart failure, birth defects, skin conditions, and cancer. Viscose is highly pollutable to our planet and has a devastating impact on forests, people, and animals.

Polyester – Polyester is absolutely detrimental to our environment. More than 70 million barrels of oil are used to make polyester each year. It is the biggest source of microplastic pollution in the oceans. Each time you wash polyester, up to 1900 fibres are washed off back into our water systems and oceans. It takes up to 200 ywars to biodegrade- that is more than 2 lifetimes. The production of polyester uses very harsh chemicals including carcinogens. Carcinogens generate skin problems and lung and heart cancer. Polyester causes chronic and severe respiratory infections. Causes rashes, itching, redness, eczema, and dermatitis. Causes allergies, chemical sensitivity, and other serious health problems. Lowers sperm count in men. Toxic to babies immune systems. Not breathable material.

Petrochemicals – Ethylene Oxide, 1,4-Dioxane, Polysorbate 20, Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, PEG-75 Lanolin, Ceteareth-20. These cause cancer, birth defects, headaches, respiratory irritation, and both female and male reproductive harm. They cause leukemia, lung cancer, nose, throat, and sinus cancer, blood and lymphatic cancer. Affect development of children including brain development, learning and behavioral problems. Using while pregnant will affect both you and your unborn baby.

Phthalates – usually found under the name “fragrance,” “perfume,” or “perfum.” This causes allergies, hormone disruptions, infertility, dermatitis, and respiratory distress. Causes damage to liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system. Lowers sperm count and quality and lowers testosterone levels. Has a lasting impact on neurodevelopment including lower IQ, problems with attention and hyperactivity as well as poor social communication, depression, and aggression. Changes hormone levels, alters development of genitals. Causes breast cancer, obesity, thyroid problems, asthma, and metabolic issues.

These are just a few of the chemicals that are found in store-bought baby wipes including the brands you have put your trust into. As you can see, these are NOT safe for anyone, especially babies, yet they are marketed for mothers to use on their babies. The FDA is a scam, and should NEVER be trusted. Always do your own research before using anything, especially on the tiny humans you are responsible to take care of and keep safe.

Note: The “natural” wipes do not mean they are safe. There are few rules, regulations, or guidelines when it comes to a “natural” product. “Natural” does not make a product vegan, organic, non-toxic, cruelty or chemical free. Remember, crude oil is natural.

Water wipes would SEEM safe, but they contain grapefruit seed extract which may contain harmful contaminants meant to act as preservatives. Grapefruit seed extract is a general lable to hide: Benzetheonium Chloride, Methylparaben, and Triclosan. Water without a broad-spectrum preservation system cannot prevent the growth of mold and bacteria which can cause seriously infections. No cleansing agents, means that when babies poop it does not properly disinfect babies genitals. The poop residue left behind can cause skin irritation and leaves bacteria behind which can cause urinary tract infections, meningitis, septicaemia, and purulent conjunctivitis. Meningitis and septicaemia have been known to cause death in infants.

The ONLY way to know that the wipes that you are using on your baby are safe is to make them yourself. It sounds hard, but it is not at all!

How to Make Baby Wipes (Step by Step)

● Start by putting your dry wipes into your wipes container. You can also make reusable cloth ones which is a better option for our environmental waste and I hope to get to that point, however I currently use disposable wipes.

● Measure 2 cups of warm to hot water.

● Add 2 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Oil.

● Add 1 Tablespoon of a non-toxic soap such as Young Living’s KidScents like I use, or Dr. Bronners Castile soap.

(You can order Young Living products HERE)

● Add 5 drops of Young Living’s Lavender Essential Oil (or any of their Seedling oils specifically for babies). Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT, use grocery store essential oils including those purchased on Amazon, Target, or Walmart- they are NOT pure and NOT safe to use especially on an infant or child.

Young Living is the ONLY essential oil company in the WORLD that has a Seed to Seal promise and conducts intensive testing to ensure that they are 100% safe to use.

(You can order Young Living products HERE)

● Mix together using your tablespoon to make sure you get all of the residue from the coconut oil and soap and don’t waste any.

● Pour mixture evenly over wipes container and leave upright for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, flip container over to sit for another 20 minutes. This spreads the mixture to absorb evenly.

It looks soapy when first poured, but it soaks into the wipes as it disperses over the setting time.

It is as easy as that! Takes a minute to mix up and pour, and a total of 40 minutes to settle. I suggest making them during nap times, or at night once baby has fallen asleep so you don’t find yourself needing wipes before they have set.

The Ultimate Valentines Day With Kids

Happy Valentines Day! 💘 Can you believe we are already halfway through February? I feel like we just finished our Christmas shopping!

At our house I make a big deal about the holidays. It really sets the tone for the home and family, and the kids love it so much! I always get so many ideas of all the things I want to do, but then end up running out of time, so I try to squeeze in as many things as I can leading up to the holiday itself.

We have been having a fun time celebrating & learning about Valentines Day over here! Turns out, the holiday is much deeper than the made-up “Hallmark Holiday” I always saw it as.

Random facts are my love ❤ language

Now that we know more about what and where Valentines Day came from, let’s get on with the festivities!

Decor

To be honest, I never pictured myself being a mom that decorates for Valentines Day. Romance has never been a big interest or fantasy of mine. However I have one little girl, Mia, whose very favorite holiday is Valentines Day, so I like to decorate for her because it is something small I can do that makes her very happy.

Welcome to our home!

I found this adorable table runner at Target this year for $10. Ever since getting this storage cabinet for our living room, I have been obsessed with incorporating table runners into my seasonal decor. They are an inexpensive & subtle way to minimally decorate and don’t take up extra space for storing.

I am a firm believer of “less is more,” especially when it comes to decorating for “minor” holidays.

I made this heart garland last Valentines Day using yarn to hang across my changing table turned hutch.

The plates I found at the thrift store for Mia’s tea party over the summer which worked perfectly here!

I always see people with these beautifully crafted tiered trays, and I just can’t seem to get it down. I gave it a shot though and added these cute little wooden valentines signs and a small heart potted piece.

I also got 2 cake stands in the Target (mostly not actually a) “dollar” spot. The large size I used as a stand for my Desert Mist diffuser, the small one I got for my tiered tray, but still haven’t found anything that fits well on top of it.

I’m not sure I can exactly count this one under “decor,” but I painted this heart mug a few years ago at The Mad Potter that I’ve been using as my go-to nightly tea mug to keep the theme going all the way up to bed.

Treats

❤ Our first Valentine-themed treat this year was Snow Ice Cream.

Growing up this was a favorite winter time tradition. As soon as the first big snow hit, I would rush outside with a bowl and measuring cup carefully scraping off the top layer of snow knowing pretty soon I would have a big, giant bowl of homemade “ice cream” for breakfast. I loved this so much that I couldn’t wait to pass it on to my own children.

Top with heart sprinkles for an easy Valentines Day themed treat

How to Make Snow Ice Cream:

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together:

  • 1 cup Milk (regular or non-dairy) of choice
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Put aside in freezer while you collect a medium to large bowl full of snow. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of snow and gently stir together. Add more snow if needed to form an ice cream consistency. Enjoy!

❤ Easy Valentines Waffles

Eggo Waffles are a staple in our house, mostly because they are a total steal at Costco- a 72 count box can be purchased for only $6.99! It’s a quick & easy breakfast that is versatile for serving.

I tried my best to cut each waffle into a heart shape, then drizzled homemade vanilla sauce on top, and added some heart sprinkles to be extra festive. The kids definitely gobbled them up!

Cupid’s Choice donuts from Dunkin Donuts

Saw an ad for these adorable heart-shaped donuts and decided to swing by the drive-thru and pick up a box for the kids.

Mini Valentines Cupcakes

Mia picked these mini vanilla cupcakes out for her sisters & her to share from the grocery store. These were a very cute & inexpensive treat to go along with our Valentines theme.

Can we just take a second to mention how adorable this heart platter is? My oldest, Kaden, made this for me a few years ago for Valentines Day!

Valentines Cookie Decorating

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if this should go under “Treats” or “Activities,” so I decided to put it as the last treat before activities.

Sasha picked out this cookie decorating kit while we ran into the grocery store for a few things.

Everyone got to decorate 2 cookies each.

Here are some of our finished cookies
Athena’s favorite part was eating the cookies.

❤ Chocolate Strawberries

Activities

❤ We had a great time coloring & cutting our own Valentines Puzzles.

We found these heart-shaped puzzles online and printed them out to color.

Once they were colored, I laminated them then we followed the lines and cut them out into individual pieces so that they were able to put their puzzles back together without them getting destroyed.

❤ Mia was the only one who was allowed to bring Valentines to school this year. Ella’s 1st grade class will be making everything in class.

I wrote her classmates names in fancy heart-lettering on these pink goody bags that we already had at home. Mia wrote her name on each Scooby-Doo Valentine card and filled it with goodies for each of her friends.

I think that they turned out really, really cute & we had a very nice time working on them together.

Mia went to her class party decked out in all her heart attire. Her Grandma Colleen got her the cute kitty shirt which is her “most favorite shirt ever” because she kitties are her favorite animal and valentines day is her favorite holiday.

❤ At her class party, she made this adorable Valentines Day Hat using paper, stickers, pipe cleaners, and markers.

❤ We made Valentines Day Windsocks using toilet paper rolls, markers, heart stickers, hole punch, and yarn- all materials that we already had on hand.

This was a great activity to work on fine motor skills working the yarn through the holes without unraveling the yarn or ripping the toilet paper roll. I did have to help tie the yarn to secure it once they pulled it through.
The final product turned out so cute!

After we finished them, we hung them from our porch. Sasha & Athena were a little too small for this activity, but they had fun working beside us on their own toilet paper rolls even if they didn’t complete them.

❤ We made some cute Valentines Bookmarks.

We printed the template out and colored them.

Gifts

My flowers from The Flower Lady OTR were so beautiful! I adore fresh flowers from small flower farmers.

Small shops always offer way more beautiful selections than large corporations. Plus it supports a person or family rather than a CEO. Always choose people over profits.

The girls were so excited for their gifts! Sasha thought that Santa had brought them.

I found these manly valentines by Jack Links which were perfect for Niko. Both the cup and the furry box were filled with beef Jerky 🤢 and I got a box of his favorite chocolates as well.

We made this adorable photo for my parents. I loved that it was an activity that we could all do together. I wrote; Sasha and Athena tore the paper; Ella, Mia, and I glued and mod podged the pieces in the heart. I think it turned out really cute!

Dinner

On holidays we bring out our “fancy” salad bowls which I think makes it extra special.

Even when I am not pregnant I don’t drink alcohol, so I always love to add a bottle or two of sparkling juice to our holiday meals for the girls and I to have our own special tradition together.

These heart ravioli from Costco were SO cute!

Well that puts an end to our valentines celebration! I hope you enjoyed seeing how our family celebrated this year! Happy Valentines Day! ❤

100 Days of First Grade

Ella has now been a first-grader for 100 days (although with all of the remote learning we dealt with, it sure feels much longer than that) and to celebrate she decided to make a t-shirt with 100 gemstones in the shape of an “E” for Ella.

We used a youth pink craft shirt that we already had in our art supplies cabinet and purchased a large bag of gemstones from Michael’s.

First she counted out 100 of the gemstones that she wanted to use. I helped her draw a big block-letter “E” and she arranged the gemstones how she wanted them placed.

Once she got all of the gemstones placed, she used Gorilla Glue Crafting Glue to securely attach each one.

She was so proud of the outcome and was very excited to wear it to school today. She had gym, so she wore another shirt underneath so that she was able to take her gemstone shirt off so it didn’t get ruined during gym class and be able to put it back on afterwards.

We had fun making this shirt and it was very simple for a child of her age to be able to do mostly by herself.

I wonder if she will return home from school with her gemstones still in tact? 🤔😆

September 2020 Playhouse Tour

Happy Fall! It’s my favorite time of the year! With fall here, we’ll be able to spend much more time outside! The mosquitos this summer were no joke & kept us inside more than we liked. Being indoors in truly torturous to me, I need nature to breathe.

We have finally found the perfect permanent location for our playhouse & added a few new fun details that I am so excited to share!

Welcome to our Playhouse!

We moved the playhouse to the back of our “patio” gravel area. It is the perfect spot for it and my garden behind it makes it look even prettier when it is in full bloom.

The “hello” welcome mat is from Five Below. When I bought it the playground was on the driveway, so it looked much better. I’m going to have to create something better, but it was a cute mini mat and I am a total sucker for mini things.

I found this little “Play in the Dirt” garden sign in the Target “dollar” spot (why do they call it that when its mostly $3-$5 items?). I personally don’t like this tree here very much, and I will eventually change this out, but for now its cute enough.

The adorable white chairs were from the thrift store. I think that they fit perfectly at the little built in wooden table. Not shown is the built in wooden bench that is part of the wooden table.

The Welcome sign was also found in the Target “dollar” spot. I thought it was adorable for inside of their playhouse.

My husband added this solar powered chandelier light this weekend so that the girls can see play once it gets dark.  We bought it at Menards a few years ago for a gazebo that was destroyed by natural causes before we were ever able to get the lights up, so it’s been sitting on our basement untouched for years. It was the perfect addition to our playhouse!

I picked up this vintage rotary phone for free a couple weeks ago and the kids are in love with it! They spend their entire days taking turns “making phone calls.”

Call me old fashioned, but I preferred when phones were dumb. I’m a strong believer that “when phones were tied with a wire, humans were free.”

This is the solar light panel that is attached to the solar light inside the playhouse. My husband had to drill it into our playhouse in order to get the maximum amount of light hitting it, while also hiding all cords that are attached. I think that it makes it look more like a real home and reminds me of a mini satellite dish 😂.

This is the outside of the playhouse. The girls stand on the mat and place “their orders” for nature food. I have a pink solar powered light outside that looks BEAUTIFUL at night. It has tinkling string lights instead of a bulb and in my opinion works the best out of all of the solar lights that we have around our yard. Plus it’s the cutest one!

From this angle you can tell where the placement of the playhouse is. My garden isn’t looking so nice these days, but I cannot wait for all of my new perennials I planted this year to bloom in the spring!

Well, thats our playhouse as of September 2020. I hope you enjoyed the tour! I plan to decorate for Halloween, so check back for that mini update!

Please share + subscribe 🙏 😊

Have a beautiful day!

Surviving A Pandemic With Mental Illnesses | A Life I Deserve

As humans, it seems that we are rarely willing to agree on anything. The one thing we CAN all agree on, is that 2020 has been a rough year, especially for those battling with mental illness.

I haven’t smoked cigarettes in almost 2.5 years, yet I spend 85% of my day convincing myself not to smoke them. Each day is getting increasingly more difficult to convince myself not to pick that habit back up.

I haven’t used heroin in over 7.5 years, yet this year I have found myself fantasizing over the idea of making all of my physical + mental pain go away. Logically, I know that won’t work for long & it will only be a matter of time before I have all my current problems, plus a whole new set of them, which is what holds me back. When you know better, you do better. Getting and staying off heroin was far easier than 2020 for me.

Then the suicidal thoughts. Its a strange place to find yourself when you don’t want to live, but not ready to die, yet. It’s a lonely place to be. I have so much to be thankful for, yet I want to throw it all away so someone much kinder, happier, and more deserving can take my place. Someone who is more patient, someone more still. Someone who doesn’t have the long list of mental illnesses that I live with. Someone who isn’t set off over the simplest of things. Someone who won’t show them what the dark side of mental illness looks like. Someone who is nothing like me.

But in the midst of my latest stress-induced meltdown, I realized something really big that stopped me in my tracks.

I have 4 girls nearly 24/7.

4 girls who I have been isolated with inside a tiny house for the better half of a year.

4 girls who fight. & scream. & cry. & shriek. & yell. Usually all at the same time.

A newborn, turned infant, who is now running. Who has been attached to my hip since birth with no breaks.

An extremely high-strung, dangerously-fearless, independent, messy, busy toddler.

A half-day preschooler who we have to pile in a car (if you’ve ever watched this ordeal, you understand) to drop off, only to pile in a car again to pick up almost two hours later.

A very hyper-active 1st grader who I am now homeschooling 3 days a week. Who I can rarely bring into public due to behavioral reasons, especially without another adult present.

3 days at home, means 2 days at school. 2 days that start 30 minutes of each other, who because of covid cannot be dropped off together. With a baby & toddler who cry every time they sit in a parked car for any length of time. 2 days in a classroom with 6 other children with a teacher who doesn’t believe me that she displays every symptom of ADHD, and an ADHD test which is based entirely on what unrelated adults around her believe to be true.

Speech therapy appointments for my toddler.

Behavioral therapy appointments for my 1st grader.

Parent coaching appointments for myself.

Doctor appointments for all. Trying to find a dentist in our network that specializes in Pediatrics.

With not one break.

Not one single one.

I’m stretched far, far beyond what I can mentally handle. Yes, having so many children WAS my decision; but neither I, nor anyone else, planned for a global pandemic when planning for a family.

Nobody planned for this.

I am not alone in my struggle, but that does not make it easier.

When you live in a constant state of manic-depression, it is very hard to remember to be kind to yourself. It is difficult to see your worth and hold on to your will to live, if you can even find it.

I wrote this list of things I deserve in life, even if I don’t believe it yet. Someday I might.

And who knows, it may be exactly what someone needs to hear today.

We are all in this together ❤

  • I deserve to be built up.
  • I deserve to share my feelings without feeling weak.
  • I deserve to be loved despite my imperfections.
  • I deserve respect.
  • I deserve to be happy.
  • I deserve adventure.
  • I deserve to plan for the best.
  • I deserve to feel beautiful.
  • I deserve help. I NEED help.
  • I deserve a break.
  • I deserve kindness, compassion, & grace.
  • I deserve mental health days.
  • I deserve to feel stressed.
  • I deserve to embrace progress over perfection.
  • I deserve to relax.
  • I deserve to stand up for myself.
  • I deserve to be heard.
  • I deserve to live.

And so do you. ❤

My DIY Dream Nursery | ON A BUDGET

My youngest baby is already about to turn 1 year old in just a few weeks! It is hard to believe this time last year I was perfecting every last detail of her nursery makeover before she arrived.

I never got to design Kaden’s nursery since we lived with my parents at the time he was born and they made the executive decisions about what was purchased for his nursery.

I never got to design Ella’s nursery, and as we added more and more girls, we just sort of left the dull pink color and mismatched furniture for all of the girls. I finally decided to design the nursery that I wanted and would love, and learned that I really don’t care for pink all that much, especially as a wall color.

My DIY Dream Nursery

This bed has made it through all 5 of my babies. It’s time is certainly coming to an end, but for now, I’m still loving all of its beauty.

This nursing chair has also made it through all 5 of my children, and 2 of my cousins before them. It came with an ottoman, which was well loved, but very large and in a small home, every inch of space counts. So it was freecycled, and hopefully loved.

I have always preferred hand created art over store bought art. I want my home filled with unique items that no one else in the world has. Basic is an insult in my vocabulary, so I prefer to be anything but.

I made this dream catcher to match my fall + earth inspired nursery with hemp and ribbons. I think it pulled the room together with its color palette.

The stars are decals that I found on Etsy. They were very easy to put on and made a huge difference in the room.

I have had this shelving unit since my oldest was a toddler and housed his VHS & DVD collection. I asked my husband to hang them on the wall instead. I love being able to have my cloth diapers on display, easily accessible, yet stylish at the same time. I spent a long time finding the perfect additions to style these shelves and I have to say, as simple as it is, this is probably my favorite wall in the house.

When my husband came to America this was his dresser which we were gifted by his parents. The shelf I have had since Ella was a baby which I picked up at the thrift store.

I chose to omit a changing table this time around and use a Moses changing basket instead which I highly recommend. We didn’t have enough space for a changing table, and quite honestly, over a span of 4 kids, it was only used about 6 months per kid, if that. I decided to convert my changing table into a hutch for my dining room. I love being able to take the Moses basket easily from room to room. And it takes up no extra space.

The Llama toy basket came Target.

This shelf I had a bit of trouble styling, but I love the wood and simplicity of it.

The lamp came from Target. The Adventure sign came from Hobby Lobby.

Small houses require a lot of additional storage anywhere you can add it. This cloth storage unit added some extra storage and fit well in this room’s color palette.

This was an additional step that everyone thought I was silly for adding, especially at around $15 a piece, but I think small details are important in the big picture. Why redo an entire room and leave those ugly plastic ones? Especially when we want to be a plastic-free home! I think they look beautiful in this room, and with the amount of money I saved shopping my home, using mostly what we already had, I figured that I could splurge a little on the cover plates I wanted.

I loved these animal hangers from Hobby Lobby. I got them during a 50% hanging decor sale making them less than $5 a piece. They went so well in here and add even a little bit more extra storage space. Every little bit counts in a small house!

So that’s my DIY Dream Nursery! I loved designing it and I love the feel that it has brought to our home. If you love it as much as I do, I ask that you please share!

Be sure to check back for more home makeovers as I share each room!!

Please subscribe & have a beautiful day 🥰

Birthday Garden Tea Party | On a Budget

One of my very favorite hobbies is planning, especially for events. I dream of the day we find our forever home with plenty of space to host many elaborate parties for the rest of our lives.

Throwing Mia a “socially distanced” birthday party was my first event since covid-19 began, and I was ecstatic to be party planning again! I was a bit further behind on time than I had hoped, but overall my first “socially disanced” party was a success.

I’m excited to take you along to join us for an afternoon tea!

The Invitations

I had so much fun making these invitations and I was really impressed with how they turned out.

I found a free teacup template online, printed it out and lightly traced onto white card stock. After that, I bordered it with pink and added a pink heart to each teacup.

I typed up the wording and cut out each one to be able to fit inside the hearts. Unfortunately, by the time I realized that it looks best if you cut along the individual letters, I was already on my last one 🤦🏼‍♀️ but now I know for the future! I wanted the letters to pop, so I used drafting dots to attempt to create that effect.

I made a hole behind the cup and two holes above the cup to be able to tie in a string for the teabag and a bow. I attached the string from a white & gold foiled Christmas string I already had and attached the teabag to the string using a stapler to give it a realistic look. I asked my friend to tie a perfect bow for me because she makes beautiful ones and mine are downright sloppy 😂.

I then bordered the pink with a brown to match the guest’s teabag and hide the strings behind the pink card stock and tie it all together.

The Spread

The waffle fruit bowls were a big hit! I bought 1 box of 12 small waffle cone bowls and an already prepared fruit salad and divided it between the 12 waffle cone bowls. We also had a cream cheese fruit dip to be used as a sauce to drizzle on top of each bowl, or to dip your fruit skewer in.

I would have preferred to buy my flowers from my friend, Celeste, the owner & artist of Village General; but due to lack of time, I purchased two small, half-price, day-old bouquets and blended them together to create the look I was going for.

I found some Celestial Caffine-Free Fruit Tea Sampler to serve the children. I thought that fruit flavored tea would go over well with the children, and there were multiple really yummy options for them to choose from! Even my pickiest of all found a flavor he enjoyed!

I had tried desperately to find some colorful macaroons, but had no luck tracking any down. I decided to substitute my original plan with meringues instead and that worked out just fine.

I made the pressed flower sugar cookies that turned out very cute! The other two cookies were purchased: Frosted Sugar Cookies in pink & of course, Verona cookies because you can’t have tea without those!

The bottom layer was simply a few boxes of powdered donuts, nothing too fancy. I would have liked to get the mini powdered donuts, but one package of them cost as much as 4 packages of the large ones, so I decided to go with those for budget purposes.

My mom found very cute little tea party plates that really pulled the theme together and came in several different patterns to match the various colors. They have an entire tea party set as well, that would make it even more adorable!

More food that was unfortunately not photographed was:

  • Chicken Salad Crossant Sandwiches
  • Fairy Bread Sandwiches
  • Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

The Activities

I found these plain white tea cups at the thrift store for 50 cents each. Each kid was given their own tea cup to decorate with sharpie to take home with them.

When decorating your own mugs or teacups with sharpies, it is important to bake them in the oven at 250°F for at least 2 hours so that the sharpie does not wash off.

I had planned to incorporate the tea cups into a game of having the children race with full tea cups of water to the fence and back while spilling the least amount of water, but tea went into the cups before I was able to get that far 🤦🏼‍♀️.

We also found many fun dress up ensembles at the thrift. The girls had a blast dressing up in boas, hats, and beads galore.

It was a really lovely day and I am very pleased with the turn out.

I cannot wait to begin planning for Thea’s FIRST birthday coming up in October (which if you know me, know that it is my FAVORITE month)! & Ella’s birthday in November!

Don’t forget to subscribe 😉 & as always, PLEASE share!

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Top 5 Mom Must Have Items From a Mom of 5

It’s been awhile!

My oldest baby just turned TEN years old on July 31st. I cannot believe that I have already been a mom for a whole decade! It really does fly by! He will be an adult before I know it!

Over the last ten years, I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks especially when it comes to mega motherhood!!!! I wanted to share my FIVE favorite items that have gotten me through the last ten years & mega motherhood a lot more smoothly.

1 • Itzy Ritzy Purse

New moms, this one is for you. I have some eye opening news for you. You have too much stuff.

When I had my son, I had this giant diaper bag that was heavier than he was stuffed to the brim with all of the things that the baby books told me I needed with adorable little travel size everything, safety kit with every size bandaid imaginable, bubbles, chalk, lipgloss, a small grooming set, tampons, pads, vomit bags, kroger bags, lysol, advil, bibs, toilet seat covers, grocery cart covers, multiple outfit changes, a blanket, winter gear, books, toys, activity packs, snacks, etc. I was ready for anything.

As I added kids, this bag became the bag of car essentials that I stopped bringing in because it was so heavy and so stuffed, it was just added stress. Plus, I hardly ever actually needed anything from it. I began carrying a smaller bag of the essentials while also carrying a purse.

Then I found this hands free crossbody Itzy Ritzy purse which is absolutely needed as a mom with young children. The back section is your purse, the front section is your diaper bag. You can now combine everything into one small, adorable bag.

In the diaper bag section, there is a pocket for your wipes and a small changing mat that is included. There is also room to hold diapers and a pacifier. That is literally all you need on a daily basis for outings. All of the extra stuff is just over-stimulating you and making it feel stressful to leave with kids when it doesn’t have to be.

In my purse section, I keep my wallet and a few small items. It keeps me from cluttering up my purse and it only takes a few seconds to clean out. Keep the essentials with you, and leave the rest at home (or at least in a secondary bag in the car if it makes you more comfortable). You don’t need it.

I clip my keys onto the outside so they are easy to grab and I don’t have to fumble around for them with children in a parking lot.

When you have multiple kids, you cannot be weighed down with things that you may need one day. You need your arms and eyes free at all times. This Itzy Ritzy cross body bag allows you to fashionably have everything that you need.

2 • Sit and Stand Stroller

I have tried several double strollers and this Sit and Stand Stroller by Baby Trend is by far my favorite.

It is lightweight enough that I can carry it to and from the car by myself which means that getting it in and out of your vehicle is not a struggle. It also folds up well so that it will be able to fit into any vehicle.

I place my toddler in the front seat, and my baby in her car seat in the back portion so that we are facing each other, but it is very versatile for moving children around and allowing older children to ride as well. Each side has a handle bar on it where I have my older girls hold onto while we are out so that they are all safely in one place in front of me.

3 • Cloth Diapers

I highly recommend cloth diapers. In fact, so much that I wrote an entire article about them! If you are planning on having more than one child, these are a MUST!

Cloth diapers grow with baby from newborn to potty training which saves you from buying a LOT of diapers, especially since you can then reuse them with future babies, or even save for your grand babies.

Cloth diapers saved us during this 2020 pandemic! When all of the stores ran out of diapers, we had our trusty cloth diapers already! We never had to worry once that we would run out. I highly recommend buying at least one pack of cloth diapers to have in the off chance that there is another emergency since the world saw how fast and unexpectedly that can and will happen. Being prepared is key to motherhood. It would be a great gift for a new mother at a baby shower as well! 😉

4 • Built-in Potty Seat

We live in a very tiny starter home with four young ladies. It was originally a very tiny one-bathroom home until we added a second one on the upstairs floor to create a master suite. A tiny bathroom with a crowd full of tiny ladies runs out of room really quick, leaving us very little space to have a separate potty chair.

We installed a built-in potty seat onto our toilet so that we could still have a potty seat, but not lose any necessary space or add clutter to our floors which is vital when you have crawling tots!

5 • Bumbo

This portable seat called a Bumbo is so important! It is easy to carry with you so you are able to bring it from room to room or on-the-go.

● You can keep a supported-sitter with you while doing your housework.

● You can bring it to older siblings sporting events.

● You can bring it with you on a picnic, or to a restaurant so your baby doesn’t need to sit in a dirty high chair that is covered in germs (I have worked in enough restaurants to know how unclean restaurants are in general 🤢). You can add-on this Bumbo Play Tray to turn it into a portable highchair anywhere!

● You can bring it with you while traveling for hotels that may not have high chair recommendations. Make sure to add on the Bumbo Play Tray!

● With the Bumbo Play Tray, you can create a minimal mess space for your baby to engage in messy play such as finger-painting or shaving cream play.

There are so many uses for the Bumbo! You cannot go wrong with getting one of these! It minimizes messes and is extremely easy to clean. I have had the same Bumbo for the last 10 years, it has made it through 5 kids, and is still in the excellent condition! It is definitely built to last and worth every penny!

Ella holding Vera, Mia, & Sasha
Athena (Thea)
Kaden

I hope that these tips helped you for yourself or with finding a baby shower gift idea! Best wishes to the new mama-to-be! The best start to motherhood is being prepared not for one stage for one child, but for all stages for all children. 😘 Have a beautiful rest of your day.

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Why I Prefer Cloth Diapers

I want to start by saying I did not cloth diaper all of my babies, but I wish I did. If I had any advice for a first time mom, it would definitely be to consider using modern cloth diapers.

Yes, you save money in the long run (and we’ll get to that), but that isn’t what motivated me to switch. Although, it is a nice added benefit 😉. These are my top reasons why I decided to ditch the disposables.

Our Earth

About 20 BILLION disposable diapers go into landfills each year. That is more than 3.5 million tons of waste. If that wasn’t already bad enough, it then takes 500 years for disposable diapers to break down! When I think about how many disposable diapers I have used on how many children, that makes me sick to my stomach. I was stealing from my own children and grandchildren’s futures without even knowing it. As soon as I learned this fact, I immediately decided this was a no-disposable using home and began my journey to cloth diapers.

Our health

Something I noticed as a #girlmom vs. #boymom was that my girls had diaper rashes that my son did not experience. These were NOT normal diaper rashes. They were chemical burns. I had tried different brands of diapers, different brands of wipes, had medical ointment prescribed from our pediatrician, began making my own wipes, got rid of any white diaper rash cream (these trapped the infection and led to yeast infections), tried anything and everything I could think of, but the bad rashes still came. Athena has been cloth diapered since birth, and she has never had one of these rashes. The box of diapers and wipes may claim to be “all natural,” but if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, they aren’t really natural at all.

Our money & convenience

This is the part that the dad’s like to hear: you WILL save money. Up front, it seems like what you are doing is spending a bunch of money on the diapers that you were told would save you money, and it feels a bit like you were misinformed. Cloth diapers are sort of like business, you have to spend money to save money. BUT once you realize that you are no longer spending $80+ a month on diapers, you start to see the money being saved.

I know that there are such cute patterns for any gender, and it’s very hard to resist buying all of the cute patterns! But to save EVEN more money, I suggest buying only or mostly (because seriously, there are some CUTE patterns) unisex diapers so they can be passed down to their future siblings, or even resold if you really are done having children. The diaper resale market is BIG!

The convenience. Have you ever had that horrible moment when you go to change your baby’s diaper and suddenly find out it is your very last one? I have! 🙋‍♀️ I still don’t know what happened, I could have sworn I still had a back up sleeve of them in the closet? 🤷‍♀️ It happens to even the most organized of us. Mom brain is real!!! Cloth diapers grow with your baby from infant to potty training. No more frantically searching for an old disposable diaper that one of your kids outgrew when you have cloth diapers. No more buying an entire box of diapers just to open it and have your child grow overnight into a new size. More saved money!

Getting started

There are SO many different kinds out there, and when first starting out it seems incredibly overwhelming. I didn’t know where to even begin. Luckily, I knew another mom that cloth diapered – Rachel! •(She is such an awesome and inspiring mama!Connect with her on YouTube: Boy Moy Beta or Instagram: @racheljones13)• So I messaged her and I asked her for some advice. It felt so much less scary having a friend in the journey, and that is what I want to be for you: a friend on your cloth diapering journey.

I personally use Mama Koala and Nora’s Nursery pocket diapers. They each come with an insert, but you may want to buy an extra pack of inserts for overnights. They are very easy to use and the process is very similar to disposable diapers. They are easy for dads/caregivers to learn how to work with because they have easy snaps instead of having to work with a pin. I have had zero issues with staining with either of these brands. I also love how the lining is very soft. Athena has a hemangioma on her stomach, and some diaper covers made me a nervous wreck worrying if they would scrape against it and cause it to bleed. I do not have to worry about that with either of these brands. Plus they are both extremely soft, and both offer beautiful patterns.

Every baby is different. The best cloth diaper is the one that works best for you and your baby. Some moms swear by prefolds, but I’m not one of those moms. I will say they do make excellent extra inserts if you make the same mistake as I did and buy a bunch before trying 🤦‍♀️ but hey, they also make the perfect burp cloths so even though I wasn’t a prefold loving mama, they weren’t a waste of money.

I love being a cloth diapering mama. I didn’t use them with all of my babies, but I wish I did. I am very glad I made the switch, and I wish you the best of luck on your own cloth diapering journey.

• [BUY MAMA KOALA HERE] 》Mama Koala One Size Baby Washable Reusable Pocket Cloth Diapers, 6 Pack with 6 One Size Microfiber Inserts (Jagger)

• [BUY NORA’S NURSERY HERE] Pacific Neutrals Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers 7 Pack, 7 Bamboo Inserts, 1 Wet Bag by Nora’s Nursery

• 💬 If you are already a cloth-diapering mama, what are YOUR favorite reasons for why you cloth diaper? Let me know in the comments!

• 🙏 If you know any moms-to-be, please do me a small favor and share this article with them!

Disclaimer:

I am not a professional, and this article should not be viewed as such. I am simply a mother, sharing my personal opinion with others. These statements and opinions are my own and not that of any organizations that I am affiliated with. This is an informational article and is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge. As stated, I am not a professional. Please consult a professional regarding any health or financial concerns.