I went to Target the other day and saw the cutest little face potters for plants that I wanted to get for this windowsill, but then I saw the price tag & said ope, nevermind, and placed it back.
I headed down to Menards and picked up a small stack of these Terra cotta planters for $0.78 each & asked my husband to decorate them for me instead. These first two he made for me are awesome! I can’t wait to see what the rest will turn out like. I want to go back and get a bunch more for the kids & I to decorate also! We have plenty of empty windowsill space to fill with our purposeful art, herbs, & houseplants.
Instead of blowing a bunch of money at Target to get what everyone else has, I was able to save a ton of money & get custom planters instead. You can do ANYTHING with these. Decorate them ANY way you want. Let your imagination run wild. They’ll end up looking way cuter than anything you can find at Target, plus no one else in the world will have the same one as you!
I may never be the type of mom that knows how to get stains out of clothes, but I am the kind of mom that throws our stained items in a bin + throws a random “tie dye party” with the kids in the back yard every now & then.
Knowing what to use to get stains out doesn’t make you a better mother. You don’t have to be Pinterest perfect to be a good mom. Life is not one size fits all. Live outside the box & find the solution that works best for you. You are already enough ♡ & so am I.
Happy Monday!! It started out a sort of overcast morning over here on this day so I’m catching up on housework. I have a sort of “unwritten rule” that dreary/overcast days are for housework and sunny days are for yardwork because I don’t want to miss any time with the sun.
We had a really great Sunday Family Day yesterday. The sun was shining, the kids were playing. We skipped church since the kids have some yucky cold symptoms going on and just hung out at home together.
My gardens have come along so much this week! There’s still tons to be done though! I’d like to get mulch down this week before the crazy amount of weeds return!
I filled my basket planter with these adorable trailing white flowers that will hang down under my Ukrainian flag. I’m really excited to see how far they grow!
I weeded & mulched this small garden bed this week. I used 2 bags and will still need to add at least one more bag here. This space was very low down compared to the grass around it and since it had probably never been mulched before I really want to get a good few layers on so the weeds don’t come back as heavy next year.
We brought our grill back out and bought a few needed grill tools for it.
Niko made hot dogs, vegetarian hot dogs, and the most delicious corn on the cob. I heated up the vegetarian baked beans & brought out watermelon, chips, and potato salad.
I planted this clematis in this planter. I’m so excited for the vines to take on a life of its own on this along the tower’s shapes. It’s going to be so beautiful especially when it has more purple flowers growing up it.
My ranunculus flowers are blooming and they are SO beautiful! One day I will have a much larger container filled with these beauties, but I’m SO happy with my start.
It has been so hot out lately & summer break is coming up so I decided it would be fun to get this inflatable pool for the kids to use this summer. It’s a lot of fun and the kids had a blast playing in it all day long.
Anyone have any tips on how to keep an inflatable pool clean all season? They always seem to get so gross after the first use.
I spoke with my neighbor last night and she gave me the compliment that my back yard is very pleasant to look at. That made me really happy. My hard work is making a difference for not only my own family but for my neighbors as well!!
It is my goal that while we are living in this home in Deer Park, someone nominates us for a Beautification Award. Her compliment made me really hopeful that could actually come true one day! I’ll just have to keep beautifying it for now.
Happy Mothers Day to all the mama’s out there! I hope that today was wonderful for you.
I started Mothers Day weekend off at my parents house. My dad made a French toast, fresh fruit, and potatoes breakfast for my mom & I on Saturday.
After breakfast, my mom & I went to our favorite local flower farmer annual plant sale. I am so happy about my picks. We got them planted today (Sunday) and I cannot wait to see them grow! I swear her flowers just take root so much better than anything I’ve gotten anywhere else around town!
After the plant sale, Niko & I took the kids out to the annual Chili Cook Off & Dessert Auction at church. I REALLY enjoyed the vegetarian chili. My mother in law told me that she would ask the woman who made it for the recipe for me.
The dessert auction was fun. I couldn’t believe how much some of these families paid for these homemade desserts! One cake went for over $1000! It was to raise money for the Youth Mission Trip. (My father in law let us know today that the entire trip is paid in full thanks to the auction!) Next year I really want to enter a dessert or two into the auction. I wonder how much mine would go for?! 🤔
My father in law made & entered a “Strawberry Fields Forever” strawberry shortcake filled with real strawberries 🍓 and topped with a homemade strawberry glaze. He bid on & won that for us all to share. It was SO yummy! My mother in law bid on chocolate chip cookies for us to share. We also ended up bringing home a red velvet & cream cheese frosting cake.
We bought plain white photo frames. I wrote Happy Mothers Day in the center & the girls signed all of their names and colored with Sharpies. After they were finished, we printed out photos of Moses & the girls and put them inside of the frames.
Mia & I had gone to Trader Joe’s the afternoon beforehand to buy several bouquets of flower arrangements. I took the arrangements apart and I laid all of the flowers on the table for the girls to make new bouquets for the Babas (Ukrainian word for grandma 👵🏼) except for the roses (since they had thorns) which I split 3 ways evenly.
They ended up turning out really cute! I thought this was a super fun way for the girls to be involved. I loved doing this with Mia at Findlay Market last year and really wanted to be able to make it possible for all of the girls to create real bouquets together to gift to their Babas for Mothers Day and thought this would be the easiest and less stressful way to accomplish that.
We assembled all of our gifts together and packed them up for each Baba.
I wish I would have gotten a picture of all of the completed bouquets. They were really pretty. Both my mom & Ali were really impressed with the girls work. I really hope that we made them feel special today.
Mia & Ella each made me a few things. Mia made me a cupcake 🧁 at The Mad Potter & a really cute card. Ella made me a mushroom 🍄 at The Mad Potter, a clay bowl in art class, a bouquet of paper flowers each listing different reasons why she loves me, & a box of “coupons” for me to cash in for various things like hugs, a walk around the block, or helping me out around the house.
We went to church, then out to lunch with my husband’s parents, sister, & her two children: Noah & Milana.
The cousin crew! Ella, Sasha & Moses, Athena, Mia & Milana, Noah. I can’t believe how big they are all getting.
One of my favorite gifts I received (from Kaden) was my Ukrainian mosaic butterfly 🦋 to add to my garden.
Of course I have my Ukrainian flag flying proudly. Then I added the sunflowers for the bad-ass Ukrainian woman who was giving out sunflower seeds to the occupiers so when they die sunflowers will grow. I moved the blue & yellow flower over to this space to go along with the Ukrainian tribute to my people.
I love love love the way that it looks! The butterfly really pulls it together. I got my new plants into the ground and I can’t wait to watch them grow through the season.
Well, after this busy weekend, I’m so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open to finish writing this so I’m going to call it a night. 5 am will be here in the blink of an eye.
As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to an end I just wanted to share with you our small DIY gifts the girls made for their teachers.
Ella made a clipboard for her teacher, Mr. Vample. Mia made a clipboard for her teacher Mrs. Mcgahan.
They also made a clipboard for our “bus mom,” Mrs. Mace, because she is just the sweetest and has helped our girls (and many other kiddos) get safely to & from the bus stop each day which we certainly appreciate.
We bought each clipboard at the Dollar Tree for $1.25 each, and the rest of the materials we had at home already.
Getting teacher gifts doesn’t have to be pricey. It doesn’t have to out-do any of the other parents. You don’t have to break your budget. It isn’t a competition to be the “favorite” student, or parent. Your kid can color on a rock, or put nature together to form a portrait of their teacher. They can color a card. Kids are so creative- the possibilities are endless if you let them take the lead.
Your child just showing their teacher they care and appreciate them enough to take the time out of their busy play to make them a small gift is ENOUGH. Gifts are meant to be from the heart & that’s exactly where a homemade gift comes from ❤.
Ella came home from school last Friday with a new school project: Economics Market.
All of her classmates will be opening their own “shops” at their desk where they will be selling a paper item that they make. They will be decorating the shops, telling a bit of information about the shop/what is being sold. Ella will be selling Pysanky, otherwise known as Ukrainian Easter Eggs.
Ella is Ukrainian- we all are. Her grandfather, my dad, is a Ukrainian immigrant. Needless to say, even though we are living in America, I feel the deepest connection to this war currently happening in Ukraine.
I’ve always been extremely proud to be Ukrainian, but the amount of pride and gratitude I have for my heritage now is immeasurable. I grew up being taught that Ukrainians are strong people; the strongest in the world. I had no idea that I would ever have to witness the magnitude of their strength in my lifetime.
I know that we are very lucky to be living in America, yet I feel the strongest yearning to be there. If my dad never came to America, this war would be our lives right now and that is a scary thought. Yet I still for some reason feel as if that is where I belong.
That isn’t possible at this time, however, so for now I’ll just continue to embrace the culture at home with my family, even more so now. We’ll become fluent in the language and carry the traditions. One day, when it is safe for my small children, we will travel there. Today, we will make pysanky.
Pysanky is the word for Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Pysanky are believed to hold great power for peace & love in the world. They were originally used in Spring ceremonies to thank the glorious sun for warming the Earth after the cold, hard Winter.
The designs and symbols that are decorated on pysanky have significant meanings- usually a wish of good fortune for the person you are gifting your pysanky to. On Easter Sunday, you would gift your pysanky and kiss the recipient on each cheek for good luck.
There is an old Ukrainian folk tale that Evil (a vicious monster) is chained to a cliff. Each year his helpers go around the world and report back to him the number of pysanky that have been decorated.
If only a few eggs are made, his chains loosen and evil flows throughout the world. However if many eggs are made, his chains tighten; allowing love to conquer evil.
With all of the evil going on in the world, we are going to need a LOT of eggs.
Setting Up Shop
First, we found pysanky coloring pages on Pinterest then printed them out. Ella colored each egg and then wrote a wish for each egg on the back of them.
Next, we colored the pages for her shop and we cut them out and assembled them.
“At Ella’s Ukrainian Eggs, you can find Ukrainian Easter Eggs which are believed to hold great power for love in the world. Each egg has a special wish for you. Ella made these to support her Grandpa from Ukraine.”
“If you love ❤️ Ukraine, you should get one of these Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Plus they’re great for Easter and it is to be believed that these Eggs hold great power for love ❤ in the world 🌍.”
Her shop turned out SO cute! I’m very excited to hear how her project and “shopping” day goes. I am also excited to hear what the other children made for their shops. I really loved doing this project together with Ella. I loved that we were able to incorporate our heritage and culture to make it more meaningful to share with her friends at school.
My dad’s birthday coincided with Easter this year (the day after) so we went over to my parents home to celebrate both Easter and his birthday with an Easter Feast from the Wodka Bar. They offered a special, limited Easter menu which was perfect.
The pierogies & kolachi were SOOO yummy! I cannot wait to try more food from there from the regular menu! I also am going to learn how to make delicious kolachi at home so I can eat it alllll the time!
Mia also made a pysanky for each of us. I loved mine so much!
Overall, this was a lovely Easter weekend and my heart feels very full & blessed. We got to spend time with both sides of our family. We did an Easter egg hunt for the kids and they received nice spring time gifts. We had lovely food that I didn’t have to prepare or clean up. We truly are so blessed in this life on Earth.
I began my basement project a few years ago before I became pregnant with Athena. I had big plans in mind, but a seriously rough pregnancy left me to abandon this project until a later time, then another pregnancy + baby pushed it back even longer. The time has finally come to finish what I started!
Since this is such a BIG project, I am going to be splitting this up into 2 parts: 1. The kids area, this post, & 2. The “adult” area (laundry, entertainment/electronics area, & tool/cellar).
In the Imaginative Play area we have a grocery store/deli, doctor/wellness center, a mini roll top desk to play school, as well as the kids toy storage.
There is a chalkboard wall with a bulletin board on top for both school & “daily specials” at the deli.
This little stand is so cute and can be used for many Imaginative Play purposes. It is currently being used as a deli + coffee shop. They have their Melissa & Doug Sandwich Shop + their wooden utensils on top, and their Melissa & Doug coffee maker set on bottom.
I am a huge lover & collector of reusable bags. I buy new ones constantly! Having miniature size ones for the grocery shop makes my heart SO happy!
Their little roll top desk with the miniature globe is SO cute. They love to play school with it.
Under the stairs is their “parking garage” for rideable things like scooters and ride-on cars. I do plan to change this space in the near future though.
Having so many little kids, it has been really nice to be able to have a space for them to play and be kids and not worry about them making messes. That alone has helped me SO much as an overly-stimulated and stressed out Mama. Kids need to be kids, and this is their home too. They need a place they are able to express themselves freely and I hope that this space is able to be that place for them.
The first time I went to rehab, I went to Timberline Knolls in Lemont, Illinois. It had the most beautiful art studio with tables stained in paint and clay residue, colors and Empowering messages everywhere, and so many supplies.
Ever since then it has been a dream of mine to have my own art studio, but never really saw it as super realistic.
I recently spoke with a friend, who, ironically, I met at Timberline Knolls. I’ve always envied her life. She’s built her own little plot of homestead paradise in the middle of no where and spends her time homesteading and crafting and doing things her, her husband, and children love to do. That is literally my dream life.
Anyway, she made me realize that life is what you make it. I need to stop waiting for better, for more space, for my children to get a little bigger. I need to stop waiting, and start building my happy place now with what I have. So I began building an “art studio.”
First, I set our old dining room table up in the soon to be art studio, then added this Trofast Storage Unit from IKEA for art supply storage. I used this rolling cart that I already had to organize more supplies like paintbrushes, glue, washi tapes, etc.
I added this paper sorter from Michael’s to color code their construction paper. Not only does color-coding items look beautiful, it helps cut down on mess because the kids can visibly see what they are working with instead of fumbling around for what they need.
I repurposed produce bins to color code their crayons in the middle of the table. It looks super cute and it helps teach my kiddos to put their supplies back where they belong.
Color coding is an easy way to help teach toddlers how to organize + learn their colors at the same time.
I began hanging these colorful banners to make it look fun and inspire creativity.
I also began picking up a few functional decor pieces that I was very excited to use in this space.
Next, we removed the old, random, oddly-placed cabinet. We found out why said cabinet was randomly & oddly placed. There was a MASSIVE crack/wall damage hiding behind it. We got cement filler, patched the damage and waited 24 hours.
After the 24 hour wait, we began hanging the pegboard. I had purchased + planned to hang 4, but I ended up deciding 3 was plenty to start. I bought a few accessories with the pegboard, but wanted to wait to go crazy with accessory shopping until I had a clear idea of how I was planning to arrange it to go back and purchase more.
My dad & his friend updated the electricity + added lights above the table & outlets in the middle to be able to use electronic tools. I cannot wait to add things like pottery wheels in the future now that I have this outlet.
Using my Cricut, I added labels to the bins so that we are easily able to find the items that we need.
We moved the desk over here so they could play “Art Teacher.”
I am absolutely obsessed with it and the way that it turned out. I now have my very own art studio, filled with colors and paint stains and all kinds of materials for us to choose from. I am so in love with it and still in such awe every time I walk downstairs and think how is this mine?!
Baby + Soft Play Area
It’s a lot of work to try to keep babies & toddlers entertained for a long time, especially on days we are stuck inside.
This fun little climber tent was a birthday gift to Sasha. One side has a climbing wall, the other has a window.
The Nugget was a MUST for this area. We are OBSESSED with our Nugget. I got The Very Hungry Caterpiller print because it’s one of our favorite books & the print was just beautiful. It is SO soft and comfy too!
I have a lot of Primary colors in the baby area. I added lots of cushions, padding, & floor mats to encourage crawling + be able to roll around freely. The Lego storage blocks hold other toys so that we are able to rotate the toys that are out for open play.
We added a little library against this wall with the baby/younger children’s books.
I added these fun flower lights above this area. It’s somehow both a fun vibe and a calming one in one.
Well, that’s where I’m at in this stage of my basement makeover! I hope you got some inspiration for your own basement/family/play room.
I still have many plans to come in the future and just like with every space, it is forever evolving. Make sure to check back for part two to see how I did the “adult” areas!
When I had a really bad mental breakdown in 2018, I did the (now-trending) Swedish Death Clean. Basically, you do an extreme declutter so that in the event of your death your loved ones aren’t left with the burden of doing it for you. I cleared out about 75% of ALL our belongings and I felt AMAZING. I haven’t missed a single thing since doing it, I developed new values and ways of looking at life, and was reminded once again that material items are absolutely worthless at the end of your life and just create chaos around you while you still have the chance to live it.
Anyway, while I went with an entire neutral/minimalist approach to my entire home, I wanted my girls room to be full of bright colors and happiness. The room I could fill the walls with their favorite things and cool treasures we find along the way, create art, inspire play, provide a safe and comfortable space, and make them happy. I didn’t want to take the colors out of their world.
Fitting 4 girls into one room has certainly been a process. It didn’t happen overnight. It happened piece by piece, over years of time. I am finally seeing the big picture come together. It’s going to be a room that continues to evolve over time, but I’m really in love with how it is at this moment in time & the girls are as well.
Welcome, come on in!
Double bunk beds are a MUST to fit all of the girls. The older girls (Ella & Mia) are on the top, while the younger girls (Sasha & Athena) are on the bottom bunks. Both bottom bunks touch the ground so we don’t have to worry about toddlers rolling out of their beds.
Ella & Sasha’s bunks have stairs. I added rainbow decals going up their stairs. I also really love the vintage 60s curtains that I found for their room.
Their bunk has 3 small shelves in the stairs. I am still trying to figure out what to do in that space.
Ella is on top & Sasha is on the bottom.
Ella has this cute shelf to keep her things. I thought it was the absolute perfect one because it matched with their other furniture and has a space for her books & controllers.
I LOVE these lights on Ella’s bed, but when they got the rainbow light for Christmas they had to choose one or the other for the outlet. I put them aside for now until I can figure out another solution.
My mom got all of the girls each their own blanket with their name on it. Ella’s blanket says “Be-You-Tiful Ella” and she has a fun color E pillow also. I love adding personalization where I can without being over the top.
Sasha’s blanket has a cute little unicorn with her name & other little doodles.
In between their beds they have their TV. In order to earn their remotes, they have to have their chores finished first.
Sasha got this rug for Christmas to play with her hot wheels and wooden vehicles. They love driving their cars all around the town making up stories and being different characters for each place.
Mia & Athena’s bed has a ladder instead of stairs. Mia is on top, Athena is on the bottom.
Mia has her own shelf like Ella’s to keep her things. Her blanket is all of her favorite colors with her name in different fonts.
Athena’s blanket is SO beautiful. It is flowers and her name in a pretty pink font.
This bunk has 4 drawers. The top is Sasha + Athena undies & socks. The bottom 3 are Sasha’s shirts, pants, and pajamas. It also has 3 shelves which I added cute cube baskets that have Athena’s shirts, pants, and pajamas.
A lot of girls equals a lot of shoes! I’ve actually had this since I was a kid at my parents house and now I passed it down to my own girls. One of the slots broke so I turned it into a boot slot instead.
Above their shoes is a space for them to hang up their artwork. We are not a family that keeps every piece of art or else our entire home would be overflowing with mountains of crafts. This gives them a space to hang their favorites for a bit, then change them out when they have a new favorite.
I painted their closet door the colors of the rainbow and added this “Choose Kindness” sign. I love their peace sign light above it.
I love how their crayon piggy bank looks next to the rainbow painted closet.
I have the inside of their closet divided by this shoe hanger. Ella & Mia both get 3 slots. Mia’s dresses & jackets are on the left, Ella’s dresses & jackets are on the right.
On the shelves I keep Ella & Mia’s sports cases. I got them each a suitcase to both store & roll their sports gear themselves so that I am not stuck carting everything around myself while also wearing a baby and carrying my own items. Whatever sport is currently being played gets their case on the lower shelf while the off season sport case goes up top. It helps to keep all of their gear together in one place and away from the toddlers who love to get into all their big sisters things.
On the bottom is another shoe rack with boots & rainboots.
I added these adorable mirror butterflies that I found at the thrift store up their wall on this small space.
The girls hang their bows on this adorable unicorn bow holder. I really fell in love with bows during cheer season and want to begin collecting bows for the girls. I got some holiday related ones this year that I put into the holiday bin until that season is upon us again.
This unit from Ikea is EVERYTHING. As you can see, their closet is extremely small. This unit is completely build-able piece by piece. You can work it so many ways to be able to suit your own needs at a very affordable price.
The top left corner is Sasha + Athena’s dresses and jackets. The left drawers are Mia’s shirts, pants, & pajamas. The top right corner is Mia + Ella’s sweatshirts and 3 baskets filled with their headbands, scrunchies, and various accessories like sunglasses. The top right side drawer is Ella + Mia’s undies & socks, the three lower are Ella’s shirts, pants, & pajamas. The roll-out drawer are Athena’s shoes/boots.
I added 4 matching baskets from Target on top. 1st: Sasha + Athena’s sweatshirts. 2nd: Swimsuits. 3rd: Holiday outfits/accessories. 4th: Purses
I love this little corner of their room. My first car was a VW Bug and my dream vehicle is a VW Bus. They are definite musts in a Hippie themed room.
I added a fake Eucalyptus plant in the back that I will sometimes add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to the jar to add a natural scent to it.
Their Snowy the Owl diffuser is another MUST. It is kid-friendly, easy to use, changes colors, and has a sound machine.
I added a 3 cube shelf in the corner which I’m not crazy about, but it’s working for now. I added 3 baskets to it to store daily hats, winter hats, and other various accessories.
On top of the cube shelf is Ella’s jewelry box that she got for Christmas. It really looks cute in that space, although I will be changing this corner out soon enough because like I said, this is an ever-evolving room.
I hope you enjoyed my girls hippie room and found some inspiration for your own shared girls room! I will make sure to update with any new changes so don’t forget to subscribe!! 🙂
I’m a little late getting this post up, but I’ve been working around the clock making Christmas happen while taking care of a whole house of sick kiddos. After a week back at school, I’m finally finding my motivation again.
I used to be Team Halloween all the way growing up, but after having so many kids, I have to say: I think that Christmas may officially be my favorite holiday.
I love turning my home into a magical wintery Wonderland for the kids. I now dream of adding more and more to my collection over the years until my entire home is transformed for the holiday. I even considered getting rid of my other holiday decor (yes, even Halloween 😱) just to make more room for more Christmas decor storage! Maybe I’ll just go the Nightmare Before Christmas route and just live half way between the pumpkin door tree and Christmas tree door tree and be forever happy.
When you first pull up, this bow is the first thing you see on our lamp-post.
I wrapped a cute red, green, and “snow” garland that I found at Walmart around the railing then added this adorable woodsy-vibe bell from Hobby Lobby to the bottom.
On our porch, I added our “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree for the kids to decorate. I hung mini stockings on a plant stand and put the light-up “Santa Stop Here” sign from Hobby Lobby on top for some height so that people driving/walking by could see it.
The garland on the plant hanger matches the garland going up the railing. I bought those two large bows at Dollar Tree a few years ago and they are still going strong. I filled the hanging baskets with ornaments, & hung giant, sparkley snowflakes from Walmart.
I switched out the Fall mums for these holiday arrangements.
Then I added just a small string of lights to really finish it off.
I bought these stockings for our family back in 2018. In 2019, I was able to add “A” to our collection for Athena. This year, this pattern was discontinued from Target. I was able to hunt down one more “M” for Moses on Mercari which was a total sign from the Christmas Gods- last baby, last M available in this print to complete our family of stockings.
I am sitting here just in awe. I can’t believe how beautiful it looks so far and it’s only my first night decorating the tree. I am so full of gratitude- to be able to turn our home into a magical winter Wonderland for the kids, for my husband who works his butt off so I can make it happen, for overall good health and a happy, loving family. I really have so many blessings to be so thankful for that I need to slow down and appreciate in the moment. That is my wish/goal for myself this Holiday season: slow down, live hygge with my family, and really appreciate all that I already have.
Sasha, Moses, and I took a trip out to find some new Christmas decorations. We picked out a lot of new ornaments together. We decided to go with a “Mrs. Clause” theme which I now plan to use for the rest of my Christmases.
Mia picked out this beautiful tree skirt that “reminds her of snow.” In person, it shimmers for miles; the picture does it no justice.
I found this adorable mini wreath in the Target “dollar” spot to put under my Aria diffuser. It made it look so fun & festive, especially with the tree trunk cake stand it is on.
I hung this “Letters to Santa” mailbox for the kids to write their letters to Santa to send off to the North Pole.
The kids love to countdown the days to Christmas with this fun countdown calendar we found at Target a few years ago.
I kept the kids Christmas baking outfits at the table for an extra Christmassy feel.
I found this cute floral display at Kroger that went along really well with the rest of my decor. It reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West’s sister.
I didn’t do a whole lot to the bathroom but I did add a few small pieces for fun.
The kids went to get their photo taken with Santa. They got to pick out a cute frame to make to put their photo in.
I loved this mail box so much when we met Santa, I had to get a picture of it.
Ella, Mia, & I went to a Reggae Christmas show with my parents and Kaden.
It was a really fun night, except I got my first parking ticket which made me cry. I haven’t gotten in any trouble at all in almost 10 years now which is something I have been really, really proud of and I felt like I was a total failure.
We took the kids to The Christmas Ranch for the second year in a row. Last year we only were able to drive thru, but this year we walked around and rode the train. It is such a cool place! It was an absolutely freezing night though, and hope that next year we will be able to pick a night that is a little warmer so we are more comfortable walking around the village.
We went out for a night at Kings Island Winter Fest. We had a blast and enjoyed lots of hot chocolate! I always love seeing the park all lit up in Christmas lights & decor. The older kids got to walk around and ride some big coasters while the younger kids stayed in Planet Snoopy riding the kiddie rides and making Christmas crafts!
We found this cute scavenger hunt on Pinterest that we walked around our neighborhood as a family to cross the items off our list. I loved that the older kids were able to read the list, while the younger kids were still able to participate using the photos.
Snowmen Cake Pops ⛄
We made a “Copycat Starbucks cake pop recipe” that we found on Pinterest for the cake pops, but instead of pink chocolate, we kept it white and tried our best to draw snowmen on each one. They tasted pretty similar to the real Starbucks cake pops, but it was very time consuming and turned out looking more like a distant cousin of a penguin than a snowman, but the kids had fun so 🤷🏼♀️
The girls Christmas Baking Outfits came from Ikea a few winters ago.
Melted Snowmen Cookies ⛄
These were definitely more my speed when it comes to bakery item decorating. I found the idea on Pinterest, but used my go-to cookie + frosting recipe. They were a great beginner cookie design- very simple and literally impossible to mess up since the melted look is what we wanted. They ended up being really cute!
Reindeer Cake Pops 🦌
Sasha & Athena were excited to get these adorable reindeer cake pops from Starbucks on a morning coffee run with mom.
Veggie Santa 🎅
I found this idea on Pinterest. It was so cute and only took minutes to put together.
Christmas Tree Cheese bread 🎄
This was another Pinterest idea that was so simple to make and tasted amazing! I offered both pesto and marinara to dip.
I set up a dessert buffet for the kids. It consisted of a cookie tray, marshmallows, fruit, and a Christmas Cookie “Dunkaroo-style” dip. It was supposed to have pound cake bites as well, but since the kiddos were sick my Christmas party was a bust and I decided to save that for New Years since there was already plenty of treats.
I set out sprinkles for the kids to decorate the whip cream on their hot chocolate, but again… sick kids meant we didn’t get to do the hot cocoa bar either ☹.
Hot Cocoa Bombs
I got these Hot Cocoa Bombs from Hyde Park Baker. They were a white chocolate shell filled with cocoa powder and mini marshmallows. When you poured the boiling water on them, they exploded. The kids thought it was really fun and yummy!
We LOVE our Trader Joe’s Advent Calendars. They have become one of our favorite Christmas traditions over the years. Papa George (the Candy Man) always brings them for us in the beginning of the winter season which really marks off the holiday for us as soon as he arrives with the big Trader Joe’s bag filled with them.
Elf on the Shelf
Some families go all out with their Elf on the Shelf ideas, but I take a more “done is better than perfect” approach to it. I enjoy watching the kids search for Elf in the morning, that’s all. We don’t tell our kids he is spying on them or that he judges their behavior in lieu of Santa or Jesus…. it’s just a fun hide and seek game for us.
I only documented my favorite times that Elf showed up, most nights were pretty lame to be honest. It was fun though.
The kids favorite one was when Elfie “pooped” chocolate chips in a jar. I wish I had gotten a photo of that one.
Teacher Gifts 👩🏼🏫
This was the gift tag which I thought turned out SO cute!
We got each teacher a holiday cookie from 3 Sweet Girls Bakery for the “C is for cookies”. Ella’s teacher got a cute little elf & Mia’s teacher got a sweet little snowman. We also got each teacher a Starbucks gift card for the “C is for caffeine,” then put it together in a small Christmas gift bag.
I had planned to get a photo of the teachers cookies, but only took one of the one I got to treat myself after the kiddos went to bed. They were all super cute though!
As a family, this has by far been our best Christmas yet. We were so blessed to be able to give the girls *almost* everything they asked for (why is my 8 year old asking for a phone anyway?! 🙄😂).
I have really been working on being more thoughtful with my gift giving and I loved seeing each of their faces really light up with each gift.
Gift giving really has an entire different experience for both the giver and receiver when you really take the time to think about what that person wants or needs rather than just picking whatever to cross it off the list. It makes it feel so much more special and meaningful.
This was the only photo I got of any of the kids on Christmas. Maybe next year we’ll be a “matching pajama” type of family 😂.
We even had a surprise sack that Santa left our family filled with a little gift for each of us. We thought that was so thoughtful and that kids were so surprised! They loved that Santa stopped at their sign!
Overall, this Christmas has been absolutely magical. It wasn’t everything I had planned for since the kiddos ended up sick, but it was still just as magical. I already have SO many ideas for next Christmas, but also very excited about all that 2022 has in store for us!
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? 🤔😆