Happy Monday!! It started out a sort of overcast morning over here on this day so I’m catching up on housework. I have a sort of “unwritten rule” that dreary/overcast days are for housework and sunny days are for yardwork because I don’t want to miss any time with the sun.
We had a really great Sunday Family Day yesterday. The sun was shining, the kids were playing. We skipped church since the kids have some yucky cold symptoms going on and just hung out at home together.
My gardens have come along so much this week! There’s still tons to be done though! I’d like to get mulch down this week before the crazy amount of weeds return!
I filled my basket planter with these adorable trailing white flowers that will hang down under my Ukrainian flag. I’m really excited to see how far they grow!
I weeded & mulched this small garden bed this week. I used 2 bags and will still need to add at least one more bag here. This space was very low down compared to the grass around it and since it had probably never been mulched before I really want to get a good few layers on so the weeds don’t come back as heavy next year.
We brought our grill back out and bought a few needed grill tools for it.
Niko made hot dogs, vegetarian hot dogs, and the most delicious corn on the cob. I heated up the vegetarian baked beans & brought out watermelon, chips, and potato salad.
I planted this clematis in this planter. I’m so excited for the vines to take on a life of its own on this along the tower’s shapes. It’s going to be so beautiful especially when it has more purple flowers growing up it.
My ranunculus flowers are blooming and they are SO beautiful! One day I will have a much larger container filled with these beauties, but I’m SO happy with my start.
It has been so hot out lately & summer break is coming up so I decided it would be fun to get this inflatable pool for the kids to use this summer. It’s a lot of fun and the kids had a blast playing in it all day long.
Anyone have any tips on how to keep an inflatable pool clean all season? They always seem to get so gross after the first use.
I spoke with my neighbor last night and she gave me the compliment that my back yard is very pleasant to look at. That made me really happy. My hard work is making a difference for not only my own family but for my neighbors as well!!
It is my goal that while we are living in this home in Deer Park, someone nominates us for a Beautification Award. Her compliment made me really hopeful that could actually come true one day! I’ll just have to keep beautifying it for now.
As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to an end I just wanted to share with you our small DIY gifts the girls made for their teachers.
Ella made a clipboard for her teacher, Mr. Vample. Mia made a clipboard for her teacher Mrs. Mcgahan.
They also made a clipboard for our “bus mom,” Mrs. Mace, because she is just the sweetest and has helped our girls (and many other kiddos) get safely to & from the bus stop each day which we certainly appreciate.
We bought each clipboard at the Dollar Tree for $1.25 each, and the rest of the materials we had at home already.
Getting teacher gifts doesn’t have to be pricey. It doesn’t have to out-do any of the other parents. You don’t have to break your budget. It isn’t a competition to be the “favorite” student, or parent. Your kid can color on a rock, or put nature together to form a portrait of their teacher. They can color a card. Kids are so creative- the possibilities are endless if you let them take the lead.
Your child just showing their teacher they care and appreciate them enough to take the time out of their busy play to make them a small gift is ENOUGH. Gifts are meant to be from the heart & that’s exactly where a homemade gift comes from ❤.
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:
• Finish filling in mosaic pieces between rock spaces.
• Plant a creeping flower in the tower growing up the sides.
• Weed and prepare the right side near the fence to sculpt out a garden bed + plant some flowers.
• Trim bush to the left side and sculpt out garden bed + plant some flowers.
• Create fun garden stakes with the kids for each container.
• 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?
I began my basement project a few years ago before I became pregnant with Athena. I had big plans in mind, but a seriously rough pregnancy left me to abandon this project until a later time, then another pregnancy + baby pushed it back even longer. The time has finally come to finish what I started!
Since this is such a BIG project, I am going to be splitting this up into 2 parts: 1. The kids area, this post, & 2. The “adult” area (laundry, entertainment/electronics area, & tool/cellar).
In the Imaginative Play area we have a grocery store/deli, doctor/wellness center, a mini roll top desk to play school, as well as the kids toy storage.
There is a chalkboard wall with a bulletin board on top for both school & “daily specials” at the deli.
This little stand is so cute and can be used for many Imaginative Play purposes. It is currently being used as a deli + coffee shop. They have their Melissa & Doug Sandwich Shop + their wooden utensils on top, and their Melissa & Doug coffee maker set on bottom.
I am a huge lover & collector of reusable bags. I buy new ones constantly! Having miniature size ones for the grocery shop makes my heart SO happy!
Their little roll top desk with the miniature globe is SO cute. They love to play school with it.
Under the stairs is their “parking garage” for rideable things like scooters and ride-on cars. I do plan to change this space in the near future though.
Having so many little kids, it has been really nice to be able to have a space for them to play and be kids and not worry about them making messes. That alone has helped me SO much as an overly-stimulated and stressed out Mama. Kids need to be kids, and this is their home too. They need a place they are able to express themselves freely and I hope that this space is able to be that place for them.
The first time I went to rehab, I went to Timberline Knolls in Lemont, Illinois. It had the most beautiful art studio with tables stained in paint and clay residue, colors and Empowering messages everywhere, and so many supplies.
Ever since then it has been a dream of mine to have my own art studio, but never really saw it as super realistic.
I recently spoke with a friend, who, ironically, I met at Timberline Knolls. I’ve always envied her life. She’s built her own little plot of homestead paradise in the middle of no where and spends her time homesteading and crafting and doing things her, her husband, and children love to do. That is literally my dream life.
Anyway, she made me realize that life is what you make it. I need to stop waiting for better, for more space, for my children to get a little bigger. I need to stop waiting, and start building my happy place now with what I have. So I began building an “art studio.”
First, I set our old dining room table up in the soon to be art studio, then added this Trofast Storage Unit from IKEA for art supply storage. I used this rolling cart that I already had to organize more supplies like paintbrushes, glue, washi tapes, etc.
I added this paper sorter from Michael’s to color code their construction paper. Not only does color-coding items look beautiful, it helps cut down on mess because the kids can visibly see what they are working with instead of fumbling around for what they need.
I repurposed produce bins to color code their crayons in the middle of the table. It looks super cute and it helps teach my kiddos to put their supplies back where they belong.
Color coding is an easy way to help teach toddlers how to organize + learn their colors at the same time.
I began hanging these colorful banners to make it look fun and inspire creativity.
I also began picking up a few functional decor pieces that I was very excited to use in this space.
Next, we removed the old, random, oddly-placed cabinet. We found out why said cabinet was randomly & oddly placed. There was a MASSIVE crack/wall damage hiding behind it. We got cement filler, patched the damage and waited 24 hours.
After the 24 hour wait, we began hanging the pegboard. I had purchased + planned to hang 4, but I ended up deciding 3 was plenty to start. I bought a few accessories with the pegboard, but wanted to wait to go crazy with accessory shopping until I had a clear idea of how I was planning to arrange it to go back and purchase more.
My dad & his friend updated the electricity + added lights above the table & outlets in the middle to be able to use electronic tools. I cannot wait to add things like pottery wheels in the future now that I have this outlet.
Using my Cricut, I added labels to the bins so that we are easily able to find the items that we need.
We moved the desk over here so they could play “Art Teacher.”
I am absolutely obsessed with it and the way that it turned out. I now have my very own art studio, filled with colors and paint stains and all kinds of materials for us to choose from. I am so in love with it and still in such awe every time I walk downstairs and think how is this mine?!
Baby + Soft Play Area
It’s a lot of work to try to keep babies & toddlers entertained for a long time, especially on days we are stuck inside.
This fun little climber tent was a birthday gift to Sasha. One side has a climbing wall, the other has a window.
The Nugget was a MUST for this area. We are OBSESSED with our Nugget. I got The Very Hungry Caterpiller print because it’s one of our favorite books & the print was just beautiful. It is SO soft and comfy too!
I have a lot of Primary colors in the baby area. I added lots of cushions, padding, & floor mats to encourage crawling + be able to roll around freely. The Lego storage blocks hold other toys so that we are able to rotate the toys that are out for open play.
We added a little library against this wall with the baby/younger children’s books.
I added these fun flower lights above this area. It’s somehow both a fun vibe and a calming one in one.
Well, that’s where I’m at in this stage of my basement makeover! I hope you got some inspiration for your own basement/family/play room.
I still have many plans to come in the future and just like with every space, it is forever evolving. Make sure to check back for part two to see how I did the “adult” areas!
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.
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.
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 🤦🏼♀️) 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 😂. 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!
When I had a really bad mental breakdown in 2018, I did the (now-trending) Swedish Death Clean. Basically, you do an extreme declutter so that in the event of your death your loved ones aren’t left with the burden of doing it for you. I cleared out about 75% of ALL our belongings and I felt AMAZING. I haven’t missed a single thing since doing it, I developed new values and ways of looking at life, and was reminded once again that material items are absolutely worthless at the end of your life and just create chaos around you while you still have the chance to live it.
Anyway, while I went with an entire neutral/minimalist approach to my entire home, I wanted my girls room to be full of bright colors and happiness. The room I could fill the walls with their favorite things and cool treasures we find along the way, create art, inspire play, provide a safe and comfortable space, and make them happy. I didn’t want to take the colors out of their world.
Fitting 4 girls into one room has certainly been a process. It didn’t happen overnight. It happened piece by piece, over years of time. I am finally seeing the big picture come together. It’s going to be a room that continues to evolve over time, but I’m really in love with how it is at this moment in time & the girls are as well.
Welcome, come on in!
Double bunk beds are a MUST to fit all of the girls. The older girls (Ella & Mia) are on the top, while the younger girls (Sasha & Athena) are on the bottom bunks. Both bottom bunks touch the ground so we don’t have to worry about toddlers rolling out of their beds.
Ella & Sasha’s bunks have stairs. I added rainbow decals going up their stairs. I also really love the vintage 60s curtains that I found for their room.
Their bunk has 3 small shelves in the stairs. I am still trying to figure out what to do in that space.
Ella is on top & Sasha is on the bottom.
Ella has this cute shelf to keep her things. I thought it was the absolute perfect one because it matched with their other furniture and has a space for her books & controllers.
I LOVE these lights on Ella’s bed, but when they got the rainbow light for Christmas they had to choose one or the other for the outlet. I put them aside for now until I can figure out another solution.
My mom got all of the girls each their own blanket with their name on it. Ella’s blanket says “Be-You-Tiful Ella” and she has a fun color E pillow also. I love adding personalization where I can without being over the top.
Sasha’s blanket has a cute little unicorn with her name & other little doodles.
In between their beds they have their TV. In order to earn their remotes, they have to have their chores finished first.
Sasha got this rug for Christmas to play with her hot wheels and wooden vehicles. They love driving their cars all around the town making up stories and being different characters for each place.
Mia & Athena’s bed has a ladder instead of stairs. Mia is on top, Athena is on the bottom.
Mia has her own shelf like Ella’s to keep her things. Her blanket is all of her favorite colors with her name in different fonts.
Athena’s blanket is SO beautiful. It is flowers and her name in a pretty pink font.
This bunk has 4 drawers. The top is Sasha + Athena undies & socks. The bottom 3 are Sasha’s shirts, pants, and pajamas. It also has 3 shelves which I added cute cube baskets that have Athena’s shirts, pants, and pajamas.
A lot of girls equals a lot of shoes! I’ve actually had this since I was a kid at my parents house and now I passed it down to my own girls. One of the slots broke so I turned it into a boot slot instead.
Above their shoes is a space for them to hang up their artwork. We are not a family that keeps every piece of art or else our entire home would be overflowing with mountains of crafts. This gives them a space to hang their favorites for a bit, then change them out when they have a new favorite.
I painted their closet door the colors of the rainbow and added this “Choose Kindness” sign. I love their peace sign light above it.
I love how their crayon piggy bank looks next to the rainbow painted closet.
I have the inside of their closet divided by this shoe hanger. Ella & Mia both get 3 slots. Mia’s dresses & jackets are on the left, Ella’s dresses & jackets are on the right.
On the shelves I keep Ella & Mia’s sports cases. I got them each a suitcase to both store & roll their sports gear themselves so that I am not stuck carting everything around myself while also wearing a baby and carrying my own items. Whatever sport is currently being played gets their case on the lower shelf while the off season sport case goes up top. It helps to keep all of their gear together in one place and away from the toddlers who love to get into all their big sisters things.
On the bottom is another shoe rack with boots & rainboots.
I added these adorable mirror butterflies that I found at the thrift store up their wall on this small space.
The girls hang their bows on this adorable unicorn bow holder. I really fell in love with bows during cheer season and want to begin collecting bows for the girls. I got some holiday related ones this year that I put into the holiday bin until that season is upon us again.
This unit from Ikea is EVERYTHING. As you can see, their closet is extremely small. This unit is completely build-able piece by piece. You can work it so many ways to be able to suit your own needs at a very affordable price.
The top left corner is Sasha + Athena’s dresses and jackets. The left drawers are Mia’s shirts, pants, & pajamas. The top right corner is Mia + Ella’s sweatshirts and 3 baskets filled with their headbands, scrunchies, and various accessories like sunglasses. The top right side drawer is Ella + Mia’s undies & socks, the three lower are Ella’s shirts, pants, & pajamas. The roll-out drawer are Athena’s shoes/boots.
I added 4 matching baskets from Target on top. 1st: Sasha + Athena’s sweatshirts. 2nd: Swimsuits. 3rd: Holiday outfits/accessories. 4th: Purses
I love this little corner of their room. My first car was a VW Bug and my dream vehicle is a VW Bus. They are definite musts in a Hippie themed room.
I added a fake Eucalyptus plant in the back that I will sometimes add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to the jar to add a natural scent to it.
Their Snowy the Owl diffuser is another MUST. It is kid-friendly, easy to use, changes colors, and has a sound machine.
I added a 3 cube shelf in the corner which I’m not crazy about, but it’s working for now. I added 3 baskets to it to store daily hats, winter hats, and other various accessories.
On top of the cube shelf is Ella’s jewelry box that she got for Christmas. It really looks cute in that space, although I will be changing this corner out soon enough because like I said, this is an ever-evolving room.
I hope you enjoyed my girls hippie room and found some inspiration for your own shared girls room! I will make sure to update with any new changes so don’t forget to subscribe!! 🙂
I’m a little late getting this post up, but I’ve been working around the clock making Christmas happen while taking care of a whole house of sick kiddos. After a week back at school, I’m finally finding my motivation again.
I used to be Team Halloween all the way growing up, but after having so many kids, I have to say: I think that Christmas may officially be my favorite holiday.
I love turning my home into a magical wintery Wonderland for the kids. I now dream of adding more and more to my collection over the years until my entire home is transformed for the holiday. I even considered getting rid of my other holiday decor (yes, even Halloween 😱) just to make more room for more Christmas decor storage! Maybe I’ll just go the Nightmare Before Christmas route and just live half way between the pumpkin door tree and Christmas tree door tree and be forever happy.
When you first pull up, this bow is the first thing you see on our lamp-post.
I wrapped a cute red, green, and “snow” garland that I found at Walmart around the railing then added this adorable woodsy-vibe bell from Hobby Lobby to the bottom.
On our porch, I added our “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree for the kids to decorate. I hung mini stockings on a plant stand and put the light-up “Santa Stop Here” sign from Hobby Lobby on top for some height so that people driving/walking by could see it.
The garland on the plant hanger matches the garland going up the railing. I bought those two large bows at Dollar Tree a few years ago and they are still going strong. I filled the hanging baskets with ornaments, & hung giant, sparkley snowflakes from Walmart.
I switched out the Fall mums for these holiday arrangements.
Then I added just a small string of lights to really finish it off.
I bought these stockings for our family back in 2018. In 2019, I was able to add “A” to our collection for Athena. This year, this pattern was discontinued from Target. I was able to hunt down one more “M” for Moses on Mercari which was a total sign from the Christmas Gods- last baby, last M available in this print to complete our family of stockings.
I am sitting here just in awe. I can’t believe how beautiful it looks so far and it’s only my first night decorating the tree. I am so full of gratitude- to be able to turn our home into a magical winter Wonderland for the kids, for my husband who works his butt off so I can make it happen, for overall good health and a happy, loving family. I really have so many blessings to be so thankful for that I need to slow down and appreciate in the moment. That is my wish/goal for myself this Holiday season: slow down, live hygge with my family, and really appreciate all that I already have.
Sasha, Moses, and I took a trip out to find some new Christmas decorations. We picked out a lot of new ornaments together. We decided to go with a “Mrs. Clause” theme which I now plan to use for the rest of my Christmases.
Mia picked out this beautiful tree skirt that “reminds her of snow.” In person, it shimmers for miles; the picture does it no justice.
I found this adorable mini wreath in the Target “dollar” spot to put under my Aria diffuser. It made it look so fun & festive, especially with the tree trunk cake stand it is on.
I hung this “Letters to Santa” mailbox for the kids to write their letters to Santa to send off to the North Pole.
The kids love to countdown the days to Christmas with this fun countdown calendar we found at Target a few years ago.
I kept the kids Christmas baking outfits at the table for an extra Christmassy feel.
I found this cute floral display at Kroger that went along really well with the rest of my decor. It reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West’s sister.
I didn’t do a whole lot to the bathroom but I did add a few small pieces for fun.
The kids went to get their photo taken with Santa. They got to pick out a cute frame to make to put their photo in.
I loved this mail box so much when we met Santa, I had to get a picture of it.
Ella, Mia, & I went to a Reggae Christmas show with my parents and Kaden.
It was a really fun night, except I got my first parking ticket which made me cry. I haven’t gotten in any trouble at all in almost 10 years now which is something I have been really, really proud of and I felt like I was a total failure.
We took the kids to The Christmas Ranch for the second year in a row. Last year we only were able to drive thru, but this year we walked around and rode the train. It is such a cool place! It was an absolutely freezing night though, and hope that next year we will be able to pick a night that is a little warmer so we are more comfortable walking around the village.
We went out for a night at Kings Island Winter Fest. We had a blast and enjoyed lots of hot chocolate! I always love seeing the park all lit up in Christmas lights & decor. The older kids got to walk around and ride some big coasters while the younger kids stayed in Planet Snoopy riding the kiddie rides and making Christmas crafts!
We found this cute scavenger hunt on Pinterest that we walked around our neighborhood as a family to cross the items off our list. I loved that the older kids were able to read the list, while the younger kids were still able to participate using the photos.
Snowmen Cake Pops ⛄
We made a “Copycat Starbucks cake pop recipe” that we found on Pinterest for the cake pops, but instead of pink chocolate, we kept it white and tried our best to draw snowmen on each one. They tasted pretty similar to the real Starbucks cake pops, but it was very time consuming and turned out looking more like a distant cousin of a penguin than a snowman, but the kids had fun so 🤷🏼♀️
The girls Christmas Baking Outfits came from Ikea a few winters ago.
Melted Snowmen Cookies ⛄
These were definitely more my speed when it comes to bakery item decorating. I found the idea on Pinterest, but used my go-to cookie + frosting recipe. They were a great beginner cookie design- very simple and literally impossible to mess up since the melted look is what we wanted. They ended up being really cute!
Reindeer Cake Pops 🦌
Sasha & Athena were excited to get these adorable reindeer cake pops from Starbucks on a morning coffee run with mom.
Veggie Santa 🎅
I found this idea on Pinterest. It was so cute and only took minutes to put together.
Christmas Tree Cheese bread 🎄
This was another Pinterest idea that was so simple to make and tasted amazing! I offered both pesto and marinara to dip.
I set up a dessert buffet for the kids. It consisted of a cookie tray, marshmallows, fruit, and a Christmas Cookie “Dunkaroo-style” dip. It was supposed to have pound cake bites as well, but since the kiddos were sick my Christmas party was a bust and I decided to save that for New Years since there was already plenty of treats.
I set out sprinkles for the kids to decorate the whip cream on their hot chocolate, but again… sick kids meant we didn’t get to do the hot cocoa bar either ☹.
Hot Cocoa Bombs
I got these Hot Cocoa Bombs from Hyde Park Baker. They were a white chocolate shell filled with cocoa powder and mini marshmallows. When you poured the boiling water on them, they exploded. The kids thought it was really fun and yummy!
We LOVE our Trader Joe’s Advent Calendars. They have become one of our favorite Christmas traditions over the years. Papa George (the Candy Man) always brings them for us in the beginning of the winter season which really marks off the holiday for us as soon as he arrives with the big Trader Joe’s bag filled with them.
Elf on the Shelf
Some families go all out with their Elf on the Shelf ideas, but I take a more “done is better than perfect” approach to it. I enjoy watching the kids search for Elf in the morning, that’s all. We don’t tell our kids he is spying on them or that he judges their behavior in lieu of Santa or Jesus…. it’s just a fun hide and seek game for us.
I only documented my favorite times that Elf showed up, most nights were pretty lame to be honest. It was fun though.
The kids favorite one was when Elfie “pooped” chocolate chips in a jar. I wish I had gotten a photo of that one.
Teacher Gifts 👩🏼🏫
This was the gift tag which I thought turned out SO cute!
We got each teacher a holiday cookie from 3 Sweet Girls Bakery for the “C is for cookies”. Ella’s teacher got a cute little elf & Mia’s teacher got a sweet little snowman. We also got each teacher a Starbucks gift card for the “C is for caffeine,” then put it together in a small Christmas gift bag.
I had planned to get a photo of the teachers cookies, but only took one of the one I got to treat myself after the kiddos went to bed. They were all super cute though!
As a family, this has by far been our best Christmas yet. We were so blessed to be able to give the girls *almost* everything they asked for (why is my 8 year old asking for a phone anyway?! 🙄😂).
I have really been working on being more thoughtful with my gift giving and I loved seeing each of their faces really light up with each gift.
Gift giving really has an entire different experience for both the giver and receiver when you really take the time to think about what that person wants or needs rather than just picking whatever to cross it off the list. It makes it feel so much more special and meaningful.
This was the only photo I got of any of the kids on Christmas. Maybe next year we’ll be a “matching pajama” type of family 😂.
We even had a surprise sack that Santa left our family filled with a little gift for each of us. We thought that was so thoughtful and that kids were so surprised! They loved that Santa stopped at their sign!
Overall, this Christmas has been absolutely magical. It wasn’t everything I had planned for since the kiddos ended up sick, but it was still just as magical. I already have SO many ideas for next Christmas, but also very excited about all that 2022 has in store for us!
Although our Cheer Season *officially* ended the last weekend of October, we had our Lil Cats Award Ceremony tonight to wrap up this year’s season!
Mia LOVED cheer! It is exactly where she belongs. She just has the most beautiful spirit. She is just so happy to be alive and looks for the good in every situation. Everywhere she goes, she carries a big smile on her face and strives to be a good role model for both her siblings at home and other students at school. Cheer really is the perfect sport for her.
Mia looked so cute in her practice uniform. Practice was on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays. She had a practice uniform and a practice bow.
Her real uniform was even cuter, however we found out quickly at the first game that Mia’s uniform was a bit too small for her. Luckily, we were able to switch out her uniform for a larger size before the next game.
Her uniform bow was glittery Deer Park colors and had her name. In the warmer months, the uniform was sleeveless. In the colder months, she wore a long sleeve crop top and black leggings underneath. In October, we switched to Pink pom-poms and socks to show our support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I even wore my own Cheer “uniform” to every one of Mia’s games, although I did alternate between jeans & black leggings depending on my mood (and if we’re being honest, what was clean 🤪).
She looked so cute in action down on the field.
Mia and the other Lil Cat Cheerleaders got to be in the Homecoming Parade. The younger cheerleaders rode on the trailer throwing out candy while the older cheerleaders walked behind performing cheers.
Our football team made it to the Super Bowl this year! We lost our first game to Clermont North Eastern, then went completely undefeated until the Superbowl where we unfortunately lost to CNE again. It was such a great season and it felt really good leaving each game winners!
Our Lil Cats did a Trunk or Treat in the parking lot at the High School. Since Mia was Hermione Granger for Halloween, we decided to go with a Harry Potter trunk theme.
Don’t mind the dirty trunk 😂 #RealMomLife
For end of season gifts for Mia’s coaches, we got each of them a super cute initial mug from Target, along with a $10 gift card to Starbucks.
Mia decorated each bag for her coaches and we found these adorable “Thanks a Latte” cards at Target that she wrote a special message inside and signed. We found the “Have a cup of Cheer” printables in Deer Park colors, and tied them to each mug to pull it all together.
Mia showing off her Cheer Trophy!
This was such a great season and we cannot wait until next year! I would love to get her into Tumbling or Gymnastics in the off seasons to keep her motivation and interest going. I really think if she sticks with it, she could go really far in Cheer.
It’s time to hang up the poms until next Fall. Up next: Winter Roller Derby!
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.
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
Flipz White Chocolate Pretzels
Candy (baking) eyeballs
Honey Bourbon Roasted Cashews
Chex Mix Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies
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.
Shaw Farms Pumpkin Patch
Kings Island Halloween Haunt
Lil Cats Trunk or Treat
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.
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.
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.
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.
● 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.
● 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.