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.

DIY Baby Wipes | How-to & Why You Should

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

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

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

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

Ingredients Found in Store-Bought Baby Wipes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Make Baby Wipes (Step by Step)

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

● Measure 2 cups of warm to hot water.

● Add 2 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Oil.

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

(You can order Young Living products HERE)

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

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

(You can order Young Living products HERE)

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

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

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

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

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? 🤔😆

September 2020 Playhouse Tour

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

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

Welcome to our Playhouse!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please share + subscribe 🙏 😊

Have a beautiful day!

Surviving A Pandemic With Mental Illnesses | A Life I Deserve

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

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

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

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

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

I have 4 girls nearly 24/7.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speech therapy appointments for my toddler.

Behavioral therapy appointments for my 1st grader.

Parent coaching appointments for myself.

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

With not one break.

Not one single one.

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

Nobody planned for this.

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

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

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

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

We are all in this together ❤

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

And so do you. ❤

Vegan Banana Oat Muffins

My husband and girls LOVE bananas, so lately I have been making a lot of banana flavored treats for my family.

This breakfast is healthy, delicious, and super simple to make with and for kids! Ella and I made this batch together for Sunday breakfast for our family.

This recipe makes 24 muffins- which is perfect for our large family. This recipe can be easily cut in half if your family size isn’t as large! Or you can make and freeze for an easy grab & go breakfast for those accidental last-minute mornings!

Let’s Bake!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Stick vegan “butter”, softened (I use Earth’s Best!)
  • 4 Over-ripe bananas
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 Cup light brown sugar
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 2 TSP cinnamon
  • 2 TSP Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 TSP baking soda
  • 2 TSP baking powder
  • 2 Cups oats

Instructions:

  • Wash hands ✋
  • Preheat oven to 400° + prepare muffin tins (reusable liners or spray with Pam Baking Spray w. Flour)
  • In your stand mixer bowl, mix together bananas, flour, and brown sugar.
  • Add in salt, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  • Add oats, stir to combine.
  • Spoon batter into muffin tin + top with oats for decoration
  • Bake 15 minutes + let cool before serving

That’s it! So easy that kids can make these almost entirely by themselves!

I hope you enjoy your Vegan Banana Oat muffins! If you do, please share!

Have a beautiful day 🥰

Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup | ONE POT | Easy + Affordable

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 🤷🏼‍♀️.

[ ❇ 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. 😂]

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 

◾ Fresh Ingredients:

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

◾ 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

◾ 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 😘

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Have a beautiful day 🥰

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!!

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