Mia β€’ Deer Park Lil Cats Cheer Season β€’ 2021

Although our Cheer Season *officially* ended the last weekend of October, we had our Lil Cats Award Ceremony tonight to wrap up this year’s season!

Mia LOVED cheer! It is exactly where she belongs. She just has the most beautiful spirit. She is just so happy to be alive and looks for the good in every situation. Everywhere she goes, she carries a big smile on her face and strives to be a good role model for both her siblings at home and other students at school. Cheer really is the perfect sport for her.

Mia looked so cute in her practice uniform. Practice was on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays. She had a practice uniform and a practice bow.

Her real uniform was even cuter, however we found out quickly at the first game that Mia’s uniform was a bit too small for her. Luckily, we were able to switch out her uniform for a larger size before the next game.

Her uniform bow was glittery Deer Park colors and had her name. In the warmer months, the uniform was sleeveless. In the colder months, she wore a long sleeve crop top and black leggings underneath. In October, we switched to Pink pom-poms and socks to show our support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I even wore my own Cheer “uniform” to every one of Mia’s games, although I did alternate between jeans & black leggings depending on my mood (and if we’re being honest, what was clean πŸ€ͺ).

She looked so cute in action down on the field.

Mia and the other Lil Cat Cheerleaders got to be in the Homecoming Parade. The younger cheerleaders rode on the trailer throwing out candy while the older cheerleaders walked behind performing cheers.

Our football team made it to the Super Bowl this year! We lost our first game to Clermont North Eastern, then went completely undefeated until the Superbowl where we unfortunately lost to CNE again. It was such a great season and it felt really good leaving each game winners!

Mia is front & center 😍

Our Lil Cats did a Trunk or Treat in the parking lot at the High School. Since Mia was Hermione Granger for Halloween, we decided to go with a Harry Potter trunk theme.

Don’t mind the dirty trunk πŸ˜‚ #RealMomLife

For end of season gifts for Mia’s coaches, we got each of them a super cute initial mug from Target, along with a $10 gift card to Starbucks.

Mia decorated each bag for her coaches and we found these adorable “Thanks a Latte” cards at Target that she wrote a special message inside and signed. We found the “Have a cup of Cheer” printables in Deer Park colors, and tied them to each mug to pull it all together.

Mia showing off her Cheer Trophy!

This was such a great season and we cannot wait until next year! I would love to get her into Tumbling or Gymnastics in the off seasons to keep her motivation and interest going. I really think if she sticks with it, she could go really far in Cheer.

It’s time to hang up the poms until next Fall. Up next: Winter Roller Derby!

Halloween 2021

Wow, it’s been awhile since I have updated my blog! Between a new baby, two toddlers, school, cheer, and overall life- I haven’t had much time to put here. I do want to be more intentional about updating as the moments are passing me by so quickly. It’s true what they say: the days are long, but the years are short.

Anyway, I was happy to have a normal Halloween again. The kids had a blast. Sasha was just in awe. It was really her first Halloween that she actually understood the concept.

I didn’t do as much this year as I had hoped to do, but it’s been a busy last few months and trying to do activities with a baby isn’t always the easiest. We had a nice Halloween though as a family and the kids were happy and thats what really matters.

Decorations

I did a bit more decorating around the house and on the porch, but I never got around to take any photos.

I also decluttered all of the older decor that I chose not to use this year.

Trick or Treats

We made this delicious Halloween Trail Mix

  • Honey Nut Cheerios
  • Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts
  • Candy Corn
  • Candy Pumpkins
  • Flipz White Chocolate Pretzels
  • Candy (baking) eyeballs
  • Honey Bourbon Roasted Cashews
  • Chex Mix Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • White Chocolate Chips

These Candy Corn Bagels were super cute and easy to make using room temperature cream cheese and organic food coloring.

These Ghost Cookies were delicious and turned out adorable. Definitely a great beginner cookie-decorator cookie to start with.

Banana Ghosts were a super quick breakfast that was easy for before school. I dipped Bananas in Vanilla Bean Noosa then covered with coconut shreds and added two chocolate chips for eyes.

Activities

Shaw Farms Pumpkin Patch

Kings Island Halloween Haunt

Lil Cats Trunk or Treat

Costumes

That was our Halloween this year! We made it almost the entire two hours of trick or treating and the kids made out like bandits with the candy.

We all had a really great year and I am so thankful to have a regular Halloween back with my kids where the only masks were part of the costumes and kids gathered in groups of friends for a night of fun, being kids as they should.

The Wonderland Bar – Cincinnati

Anyone who knows me knows my love for Alice in Wonderland. As a person with multiple mental-illnesses (brain disorders as my mom calls them), I’ve always felt like Alice; like I don’t belong in this world.

If I could live in any world, it would absolutely hands-down be Wonderland. It has always had such a homey feel to me, and the words just speak to my soul. I’ve never cared much for princesses or finding my “prince charming.” Chasing white rabbits and trying to find out who I am has always been more my cup of tea.

Anytime Alice in Wonderland themed events happen in Cincinnati, I make it a point to be there! My mom and I made it a girls day of taking the older girls to lunch at Taziki then heading downtown for The Alice in Wonderland immersive experience.

“If you don’t know where you are going, then you can take any road.”

We started down the rabbit hole to the first bar.

The girls LOVED this room. Everything was backwards and upside down and they could not believe it.

“People who don’t think shouldn’t talk.”

“I haven’t the slightest idea.”

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

The chairs hanging from the ceiling was their favorite part in this room, as well as searching for all of the doorknobs throughout the room.

We went deeper into the rabbit hole through this corridor of clocks.

“If you knew time as well as I do, you wouldn’t talk about wasting it.”

Until finally, we landed in Wonderland.

“You may have noticed I’m not all there myself.”

The animated Cheshire Cat was so fun!

Each group was led back one at a time and seated at our tables. I was glad that we were the second group to go and I was able to get pictures without other guests in it.

Our table was so cute! The girls and I shared mocktails and my mom had the real cocktails.

“She gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it)”

“If everyone minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”

“I’m not strange, weird, off, nor crazy; my reality is just different than yours.”

In order to make our tea, we had to solve 3 riddles. Each time we got a riddle correct, we were given another ingredient to add.

We also had a fun drink where we painted in our foam with chocolate. I drew a mushroom. πŸ„

Crochet was set up for the Queen of Hearts. During her part, we were on trial for stealing her tarts. When they picked Mia, she became so scared of losing her head that she began to cry.

“You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.”

I loved how similar the font here was to my tattoo. It made me feel right at home.

This really was such a fun experience and if you are able to, I highly suggest going.

They are offering experiences now through March. It is a mostly adult-only event, with a few Family Friendly opportunities as well which is the experience that we went for. I imagine the adult only experience is even better!

Tickets are $45 per person which includes drinks, treats, and an experience you won’t forget!

Event takes place at 140 Marian Spencer Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 inside The Sample Space.

How Trauma Shaped My Home-Making

I’m often asked how I am able to keep my house so neat and tidy with as many kids as I have. The truth is, it’s really more of an obsession than anything.

I grew up with a dad who was very particular as to how things are done. He would scold me for not throwing something away in the trash correctly. The dishwasher needed to be loaded a certain way. The laundry needed to be done a certain way. Everything needed to be done a certain way. I always just looked at it as one of his quirks. He does the same exact thing, every single day and when something interrupts his daily routine, he gets very anxious. Same restaurants, same stores, every single day. My mom on the other hand, is a bit messier.

We always had a cleaning lady growing up. My first one, Susan, was one of the nicest women I have ever met. She went above and beyond at what she did, rather than just rushing through it to get the bare minimum accomplished before moving onto her next client. I loved the way she would make my bed and line my stuffed animals up for me. When we re-modeled our home, a cleaning lady was unnecessary because our home was so out-of-whack. Once our house was finished, my mom hired a new cleaning lady, Connie, who has been with them ever since.

As a child, I remember being obsessed with going to Organized Living. I would dream of one day having a home that is perfectly organized. I would convince my mom to buy me organizational tools for my items: boxes, baskets, hanging storage, etc. I loved walking the aisles of the Pottery Barn Outlet, picking out all of the things that I wanted for my own home one day.

As a drug-addled teenager, I would stay up all night long doing drugs and organizing my things. I’d rearrange my furniture in the middle of the night, re-organize my closets and drawers, and make lists upon lists while color-testing all of my pens and markers.

As a young adult, I enrolled in The Art Institute of Cincinnati for Interior Design. I had big plans in mind to become a professional organizer. I ended up taking a break when I was about to have my son, and never returned due to my relapse. That relapse led to years of different rehab facilities, some of the nicest available.

But then I ended up in government-funded “rehab jail.” During all of my years of addiction, I had been in some sketchy places, including abandoned squatter houses and run-down motels that were known for housing crack heads and prostitutes that were in significantly better condition than this vile dump. I was ecstatic when I was “expelled” from this program and put back into The Hamilton County Justice Center. The jail was regularly sanitized and I felt much more at peace. In jail, we would get one roll of one-ply toilet paper in our cell that was to last us a week between two people. I was pregnant and we all know pregnant people pee pretty frequently.

When I was released from jail, at 6 months pregnant, my parents gifted me a home that I have been paying them back for since. I was a pregnant, five-time felon. It would have been extremely difficult to find someone who would have rented to me with check fraud charges and my parents didn’t want to see me out on the streets, but they already had my son and couldn’t go through it all over again.

A month after moving in, my ex went to prison. He committed a burglary, and brought the stolen items back to our home while I was with a friend. That friend called the police the next day to report what she had witnessed, including that I was with her. That didn’t matter though, because the items had entered our home. Our home was raided and the police destroyed my home; made the biggest mess that they possibly could in a desperate attempt to find anything they could to use against us. We were both known felons, and they acted as if this was going to be the biggest bust of their careers. There were 13 police cars up and down our street, police from many districts walking in and out of our home. I felt so violated. I was incredibly traumatized by this experience. I developed an intense paranoia that they would be back at anytime. I started watching out the windows, having a panic attack anytime I saw police near my home even though I was not doing anything wrong.

Being completely alone for the first time in my life, I had absolutely no idea what to do. So I just began cleaning and organizing everything. I would save up any money I could, even if it were only $1 a time and I would use it to buy only things for my home and my soon-to-be-born daughter at the thrift store. I would pick up furniture and decor on the side of the road to re-purpose. I was gifted some furniture from a friend’s family that were downsizing. I lived on next to nothing, and managed to furnish my entire home by myself. I got a job at Big Boy as a server and began learning responsibility. I began paying my parents back for the home. I began buying more and more stuff because growing up in Suburban American, I attributed success to material riches. I became somewhat of a hoarder, especially of children’s toys because I thought that being a good mother meant giving my child everything they could ever want. Boy was I wrong.

Around the time Ella was 2, my ex returned from prison. I am not going to go into much detail here, but out of spite, he called Child Protective Services on my now-husband with false accusations when I refused to give my child to him at midnight while he was high. It led to a fight in which the neighbors called the police. I asked the police for domestic help, but was met with a “we can’t do anything about it” and learned that if he were to get her, he could legally run away and I would never see my child again. I developed a way more intense paranoia. So when CPS showed up a few days later, I assumed it was over the fight. I had no idea that HE had called them, trying to get them to bring my daughter to his house for him which did not happen. That was hands-down the most traumatic event of my life. I tried to take him to court for a restraining order. I was granted a temporary one, and proceeded with filing for divorce and sole custody. Throughout that entire battle, I began living in absolute fear. I couldn’t have any windows open, I became suspicious of everyone who spoke to me, and I began experiencing life shattering panic attacks. To make matters worse, he and his mother live at the end of my street.

I became obsessed with having a spotless home in case any government members arrived at any point. I wouldn’t let anyone inside of my home out of fear of them making a mess. I couldn’t sit down at any point to relax, everything had to be absolutely perfect at all times. I was spiraling into insanity.

After a few years of living like this, my son’s father committed suicide and I absolutely broke. Any amount of sanity I was clinging onto, was gone. Once again, not knowing how to function, I began not just cleaning and organizing, but de-cluttering. I hated everything and I wanted it all out of my house. Everything had memories attached to it of people I wanted to erase, events I wanted to forget, places I would never return to. I emptied at least 75% of our home. If it didn’t have a purpose, it was out. Every day I would take multiple full boxes and bags to the donation center. The more I emptied my home, the less stuff I had, the more peaceful I felt.

I began a life of minimalism. I bought with intent. I no longer bought anything just because it was “cute.” I no longer bought anything “just in case.” I began purchasing only what I would use regularly. I thought ahead if I would have space for it, or if I really needed it. I use what I already have, and I buy second-hand if necessary. I stopped having anything on the counters. Everything has a place. It’s easy to keep everything neat and tidy when it belongs in a certain space. I was finally feeling free.

Then 2020 happened. Having my kids home all day was rough. Trying to keep my home perfect while trying to also home school and entertain toddlers was really hard. For most of the year, we stayed outside as much as possible trying to avoid messes as much as possible. Around May, the depression hit me hard. I got further and further behind on my house work, which led to me falling back into the insanity hole. I developed a rage, or as my husband calls it, a battle cry. I would see a mess and just absolutely lose my shit. Scream, cry, scream, cry… all day, every day. Everyone was walking on eggshells. I knew my family and I couldn’t live like this and I enrolled in therapy and Empowerment Parent Coaching. I learned that I was not alone having a difficult time coping in these trying times, but I should be very proud of myself for both admitting to and making the effort to change my unhealthy behavior.

As the years have gone on, I have developed daily and weekly cleaning routines. We have assigned chores to our girls to help do their part in keeping the home neat & tidy. We have regular “clean up” sessions throughout the day where I set a timer and we get everything cleaned up as quickly as we can before the timer goes off. My kids have learned that if they just do their part to keep the house clutter-free, we all have a great day and don’t have to spend a ton of time cleaning up. My husband has learned that if he does his part to clean up after himself, I am a better wife. We have all learned how to work together. I still can’t relax with messes, and my house must be clean and spotless every night or else I won’t be able to sleep. When I wake up to a spotless house, I wake up to a productive day. I wake up feeling relaxed, rather than overwhelmed from already being behind.

I am just a human doing the best that I can. I envy those that are able to live in a more relaxed, easy-going way. As much as I enjoy having a clutter-free environment, I often overwork my body and I am easily overwhelmed. I worry how my obsession with having a clean home will affect my children in the long-run. Balance is something that I was never skilled at, but after surviving 2020 I’m learning to accept that messes happen and they are able to be cleaned up. Messes aren’t forever, and they don’t mean that I am a total failure even though I am not sure I will ever be able to stop measuring my self-worth based on my productivity. I have learned that when things in my surroundings are happening beyond my control, I feel an intense need to control what I can of my environment, which happens to be my home. My home isn’t neat & tidy because it comes easily to me. My home is neat & tidy because my life experiences have led me to live in this obsession with control.

Don’t judge yourself based off of someone else’s curated photos that you see on social media. Please, please don’t compare or think you are less than because your home isn’t spotless. You are doing an amazing job, just the way you are.

How to Clean your Upholstery with Thieves Household Cleaner

I’m raising cloth-diapered, hippie kids. Kids who LOVE to run around barefoot with no clothes on every chance they get. Especially my youngest two: Sasha & Athena.

I absolutely love their free spirits. I love that they are learning from a young age that all bodies are beautiful temples; that there is no reason to be ashamed of any part of your body.

Being a victim of religious abuse myself, it’s always been very important to me to teach my children that their bodies are theirs to cherish & what they choose to wear, or not wear, is not and will never be a “sin.” It will never insist that they “are asking” to be raped. It will never land them a place in “hell.” In my eyes, teaching your child to be ashamed of themselves & their bodies in the name of religion is far worse than my kids running around naked, the way they were BORN.

With that being said, naked kids tend to lead to extra accidents sometimes. My sweet Thea climbed up onto a cloth chair with her bare booty & accidentally peed all over it once she endured the climb. I had hoped that it was possibly a slip cover and I would be able to take it off and wash it, but no such luck.

Thats not a problem though because I have Thieves Household Cleaner!

In case you haven’t heard about Thieves yet, it is a “plant-based, ultra-concentrated, versatile solution that gives you a deep clean when scrubbing, de-greasing, spot cleaning, dusting, and more- all without harsh chemicals.” It is safe to use around your entire family including children and pets. It is also safe for all surfaces, including septic systems.

As a mom of many, especially 5 and under, using the safest ingredients around my home is my #1 priority. It is my job as a mother and wife to keep my home & family safe, and I take that job very seriously. With all of the physical & mental health risks of using traditional cleaning products or air freshening methods, I can rest well knowing I am using only the best products and putting my families health first without breaking the bank! Plus by replacing ALL of my other cleaning products with ONE bottle of cleaner, I significantly cut down on our family’s carbon footprint.

Click HERE to order your Thieves Household Cleaner

DIY Upholstery Cleaner

What you will need:

  • 3/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
  • 1/2 cupful of Thieves Household Cleaner

Once you make your mixture, grab a scrub brush, dip it in, and get scrubbing. Minimal effort is all you need, nothing vigorous. Scrub it all up and let it dry!

I planned on just cleaning up the accident, but while I had it off of its stand, I decided to give the whole cushion a good scrub down. It took off pet hair & marker stains beautifully. Plus it smells amazing and is 100% non-toxic.

Click HERE to order your Thieves Household Cleaner.

PS: Check out this scientific experiment seeing how well Thieves cleans compared to other well-known cleaning products! 😱

Click HERE to order your Thieves Household Cleaner!

Don’t forget that Spring Cleaning Season is right around the corner! Get those nasty chemical-riddled cleaning products out of your house and make the switch to Thieves Household Cleaner! Happy Cleaning!

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? πŸ€”πŸ˜†

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 πŸ₯°

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 πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ 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 πŸ˜‚.

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 250Β°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 πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ.

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 πŸ˜‰ & 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 β€’ 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 β€’ 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 β€’ 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! πŸ˜‰

4 β€’ 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 β€’ 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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Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links in which I will make a commission, at no expense to you! Thank you for supporting a mama with a dream! 😘