A Mini Garden Project πŸ“

home, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

I went to the Oakley Kroger the other night with Moses. That place is HUGE! As we were walking (aka me walking & wearing all 23+ pounds of him) inside we decided to check out the outside floral section and I ended up buying a cherry tomato starter plant & a strawberry starter plant.

When we got home it was too late to start a gardening project, so I set them aside for the next morning.

When I went to plant them, I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t want to plant food that we plan to eat near our trash cans, even with a fence separating them. So I figured out a new solution!

I moved the raised bed into this space along the fence.

I thought that it looked a little out of place by itself, so I built a little rock pathway with rocks out of the stockpile I already had.

Once I had all the rock placement laid out, I began collecting these mosaic tiles around my back yard. I had originally had them in the gravel patio area, but I think that they will be much more appreciated over here.

I’ve got a pretty good start going, but I definitely need to continue picking more out to make sure the spaces in between are really full.

I also moved this little red bird bath from a different garden space in my yard. It makes more sense over here since the hose can reach here, but not where it was previously.

I planted the cherry tomatoes in the middle container and strawberries to the right. I am going to plant lettuce in the container to the left when it isn’t raining.

To be completed:

β€’ Finish filling in mosaic pieces between rock spaces.

β€’ Plant a creeping flower in the tower growing up the sides.

β€’ Weed and prepare the right side near the fence to sculpt out a garden bed + plant some flowers.

β€’ Trim bush to the left side and sculpt out garden bed + plant some flowers.

β€’ Create fun garden stakes with the kids for each container.

β€’ Find and/or make more garden decor to personalize it more!

Just a small, spur of the moment project I wanted to document on here. I hope you like it and it Inspires you to do some gardening yourself! Gardening can be really, really therapeutic as well as a great work out & way to connect with nature.

Are you big into gardening, or a beginner? Have you tried raised garden beds or container gardens? What kind of things do you like to grow?

Until next time β™‘ Mama Morozov

One Room Challenge: Basement Playroom | Family Room | Part 1

home, Motherhood, Uncategorized

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).

Imaginative Play

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.

Art Studio

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!

One Room Challenge | Main Bathroom

home, Uncategorized

This bathroom makeover has been on my to do list for a long time! I took a hiatus from working on any big projects around the house. Having our last three babies back to back took a pretty big toll on me physically and mentally.

After Moses was born, we had planned on moving and began the house-hunting process. Eventually, we landed on holding on this home while finishing up paying it off before we move, in order to gain a higher down-payment in the end. With Deer Park being an “up & coming neighborhood,” our home has already risen in value quite a bit from it’s purchase price & will only continue to rise as both our neighborhood & home continue to improve. Once we knew we were staying put, I really started getting to work on making our home work better for us and our growing kids. This room really got me excited to start getting our home together again, one space at a time.

Before:

I’ll start out by saying: I couldn’t stand this room. While I like all colors, Blue is my least favorite. It does not bring me any joy, unless it’s teal. I love teal.

The bathroom is a heavy traffic, very used room by not only our family, but usually by any visitors we have also, so I really wanted it to be a room I enjoyed being in. Mission ACCOMPLISHED!!!! I’m now obsessed with it!

Looking back at these pictures made me remember how much I couldn’t stand this room. I always felt so angry every time I was in this room, which was a major problem considering I spend a significant portion of my life in this room.

The Process

First step: paint! I used Rock Garden by Sherwin Williams. It is SO beautiful. It’s even better than I imagined it would be.

I took these photos as soon as I finished the second coat, while it was still drying. I was already so in love with it!

I painted the trim this time so that the color goes all the way to the ceiling. This made the room feel a lot taller, which tricks us into feeling like it is a larger room than it is.

When it was dry the next morning, I loved it even more! It really is the perfect color!

Next, I switched out the plastic outlet covers for gold ones. I also found gold cabinet pulls + knobs for both the sink vanity and this cabinet as well and ordered those off Etsy.

I put my First Aid box back (which I LOVE by the way, even more so now with the nice color contrast) and shopped my home for this basket to store toilet paper in. It fit perfectly! I had Niko hang a this planter in the corner with a faux plant. I found a similar little plant stand to place my small diffuser in.

I found this beautiful indoor plant at Kroger. It was the only one, and also in the only unbreakable pot which is important in the event that one of my kids or cats happen to knock it off the windowsill. It is also on the list of the best plants for the bathroom! I took it as a sign that it was meant just for me! The girls added a couple of their bath toys which I thought looked cool next to it.

Our previous bath toy storage was not working out for us so I picked up this across the tub toy holder from Target.

As soon as my pulls + knobs arrived, Sasha & Daddy put them on for me. I love them so much!

I am going to have so much fun finding + collecting different hand towels for this room.

I swapped out the old small silver faucet for this beautiful gold one to pull together all the gold accessories. It matches perfectly with the pulls on the cabinet above the toilet.

Once I got it swapped out, I realized that it was too tall (this is why measuring is important πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ) and I couldn’t open the medicine cabinet behind the mirror anymore. The cabinet is vintage, original to the house (minus the black paint) and built into the inside of the wall. At first I was devastated and thought it was a total failure, but then Niko pointed out that we could move the hinges on the cabinet door so that we could raise the door enough to open it. That worked out great!! I’m absolutely in love with it.

Right before I started this bathroom project, the kids broke the door and it split halfway and was dragging against the floor tile, scuffing it up, so we just decided to take it down. It immediately made the bathroom SO much bigger. I’m talking double in size. We decided to keep the door off.

After a few weeks with it off, we decided that we need *some* privacy since the neighbors could see directly in our bathroom through our dining room window. We hung this hula girl bead curtain that we ordered from Etsy so we could get the privacy we need, without sacrificing space. She dances when you walk through the beads.

Eventually I plan to have “pocket doors” installed, because the next owners may not be aa fond of bead curtains as we are πŸ˜‚. Having no door made me realize how crucial it is to not lose such a significant amount of space though. “Pocket doors” are the PERFECT solution for that. There will be actual, solid-door privacy, without compromising any space. I would also like to have the floor re-tiled with a beautiful black & white tile one day, but for now I’m considering this a finished project.

The bead curtain looks even better from the inside! You can see the details so well.

I also really love the new towel rack! I got that from Target for “free” using my Target Circle credits!

After finishing this bathroom makeover and hanging the bead curtain, I’ve officially decided that this tiny, dingy hallway in front of the bathroom is going to be my next indoor project. The rooms branching off from it are all finished and looking SO nice, but this hallway really takes away from the full potential. Plus small projects always lead to big impacts!

I hope you enjoyed my bathroom makeover! Make sure to subscribe so you do not miss out on future projects! I have a few REALLY fun ones in the works that you definitely won’t want to miss!

How I fit FOUR girls in one small bedroom COMFORTABLY!

Motherhood, Uncategorized

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!! πŸ™‚

Christmas 2021

home, Motherhood, Uncategorized

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.

Decor

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.

Of course we have our Christmas Spirit essential oil by Young Living going all season long!

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.

Activities

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.

Treats

Snowmen Cake Pops β›„

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 πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

The girls Christmas Baking Outfits came from Ikea a few winters ago.

Melted Snowmen Cookies β›„

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 πŸŽ…

I found this idea on Pinterest. It was so cute and only took minutes to put together.

Christmas Tree Cheese bread πŸŽ„

This was another Pinterest idea that was so simple to make and tasted amazing! I offered both pesto and marinara to dip.

Dessert Spread

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!

Advent Calendar

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.

Elf reading a baby Christmas book with his mug of Hot Cocoa by the Christmas Tree β˜•β„ πŸŽ„
On our first snow of the season, Elf brought us in some donut “snowballs” for breakfast β˜ƒοΈ
I thought this would be hilarious in the morning when the kids found him popping out of the toilet paper 🧻

The kids favorite one was when Elfie “pooped” chocolate chips in a jar. I wish I had gotten a photo of that one.

Gifts

Teacher Gifts πŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ«

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?! πŸ™„πŸ˜‚).

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 πŸ˜‚.

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!

How to Clean your Upholstery with Thieves Household Cleaner

home, Uncategorized

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!

Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup | ONE POT | Easy + Affordable

Recipes, Uncategorized

My sweet Mia recently decided that she is going vegetarian! My husband recently told me that he is going pescatarian! Hooray! We are taking another giant step closer to being a completely meat-free home!

My mom also recently told me about these “Blue Zone People” who eat very little meat and live to be over 100 years old. I’m not a fad-diet person, or a diet person at all if we’re being honest, but if it involves no meat, I’m a supporter!

However, all three share a lack of enthusiasm when it comes to “fake meat,” or meat alternatives. I, for one, LOVE ❀ “fake meat,” but that is probably for the first time in my life, I can eat something that resembles meat without being afraid of eating it. We aren’t supposed to put dead things inside living things πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ.

[ ❇ FUN FACT: I did not eat meat growing up due to a very debilitating phobia of vomit (better known as emetophobia), but did not classify myself as vegetarian because my diet consisted of strictly noodles, butter, and cheese until I met my husband. So basically, I was a carb-ivore. πŸ˜‚]

I became determined to find recipes that make “fake meat” more appetizing to keep them from losing their interest in going meat-free and provide a variety of healthy AND large-family affordable meatless meals, using mostly ingredients we keep regularly stocked in our pantry. Using what you already have is the MOST eco-friendly thing you can do.

Let’s Get Cooking 

β—Ύ Fresh Ingredients:

  • 1 Yellow onion
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 1 Yellow pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 LB. “Meatless Grind”

β—Ύ Pantry Ingredients:

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 Carton vegetable broth
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 TSP dried oregano
  • 2 TSP dried basil
  • 1 TSP garlic powder
  • 1/2 TSP black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Cup brown rice

β—Ύ Instructions:

  1. Get Prepared – Begin heating 3 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in your Dutch Oven pan (I prefer Lodge brand) + chop all veggies.
  2. Dump in your peppers & onions, after a few minutes add the tomatoes, cooking for another minute or so.
  3. Scoot your veggies over against the sides and add your meatless grind into the center & cover. Stir grind, cover. Stir grind, cover. Eventually you will mix all of the meatless grind in with the veggies as it cooks.
  4. Add your 3 TBSP tomato paste, stir. Add 1 carton of vegetable broth, stir. Add 1 TSP oregano, 2 TSP basil, 1 TSP garlic powder, 1/2 TSP black pepper, + salt to taste, stir.
  5. Bring the temp down to low, cover + let simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add 1 Cup brown rice. Cover + cook until rice is finished.
  7. Serve, paired with a crusty bread. We chose French Baguette.

Enjoy 😘

Found this recipe delicious? Please consider sharing! Make sure to subscribe for more easy & affordable meat-free recipes!

Have a beautiful day πŸ₯°

My DIY Dream Nursery | ON A BUDGET

Motherhood, Uncategorized

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

Crafts & DIY, Motherhood

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!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through any of my links, I will make a small commission at no expense to you. Thank you for supporting a mama with a dream ❀

Top 5 Mom Must Have Items From a Mom of 5

Motherhood

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! 😘