for your Christmas entertainment

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I have been a Christmas movie and book addict so far this season. I don’t even mind Mickey and the Roadster Racers or Vampirina as much so long as they are Christmas specials.

Okay I won’t lie…I don’t usually mind Vampirina at all…that’s a good one. But you know what I mean.

The same can be said for story time. We have a lot of books, and I do get bored with some of them (although the kids don’t and that’s what matters). Still, it’s so nice to read bedtime stories that I enjoy, too!

Here I have compiled some of the movies and books I can’t get enough of each December.  Some for kids some for adults. I’d love any suggestions from you all! Especially on Christmas books, because Santa likes to deliver a new one to us each year.

BOOKS

The Grinch – this is a long story but it’s so much fun for me to read. Per Dr. Suess’s usual, it flows perfectly and is great for read aloud. Plus, I like doing the Grinch voice. “It came without ribbons!”

The Polar Express – we read this last week and I actually cried on the last page like an emotional Christmas weirdo. “At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell….” SOB. I think it made me think of my kids growing up and how short the magic is. (See this post.). I just don’t enjoy the movie version very much… probably because the book is so perfect as is.

Carl’s Christmas – this is great for little ones, especially if you have or love dogs. It has no words but some of the most beautiful illustrations I’ve seen. I always recommend it and gift it. I have memories of reading this at my aunt’s house growing up and it’s so interactive because you can ask the children what’s going on with the wordless pages or tell the story differently each time. Everyone who picks it up will “read” it differently.

The Gift of the Magi – I have yet to find a children’s version that I like, but I’m on the hunt. The full version is actually my favorite short story ever (Christmas or not). I feel like that’s something only my English Major self would say, but it’s true. “These two were the wisest.” I can’t make it through this without crying but it’s a good cry.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – If you didn’t read this in grade school, you aren’t too old to check it out. I vividly remember my 4 th grade teacher Sister Judith reading this out loud to the class. I bought it on my Kindle and then found it at a yard sale this summer for 50 cents and cannot wait to read out loud to the boys. They are a little young, but that doesn’t stop me from reading this myself every year (and crying, duh). You just have to read it. In case you aren’t attending any garage sales soon, here

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus – okay so this is really more just a short letter than a book, but I enjoy reading it every year. The words are a little advanced for little kids, even though the letter is intended for an 8 year old (darn the demise of the English language). But, I think they’ll get the message.

 

MOVIES

It’s a Wonderful Life – it would appear I am compiling of lists of things that make you cry. This movie makes me so happy at the end I can’t keep it together. Don’t be like Phoebe on Friends and turn it off before the end, ha! “No man is a failure who has friends.”

The Family Man – okay this isn’t a classic like the one above but it IS a re-imagining of It’s a Wonderful Life that I have grown to love. Nicholas Cage even looks a lot like Jimmy Stewart! Anyway, this movie makes me so thankful for my husband, our two little wild animals (uh, kids) and our every day life. Oh and I cry, shocking.

Christmas Vacation – With all this boo hoo-ing I do, I have to include a funny one. Quite possibly the most quotable Christmas movie there is. I could watch it again and again. “Where do you think you’re gonna put a tree that big?” NEVER GETS OLD.

The Snowman – this never comes on TV anymore but I found the full length on youtube. I remember watching it on TV as a kid and I just love it. There are very few, if any, words. Mostly music about how snowmen come to life after dark and what they do. I think it’s beautiful to watch and listen to.

The Grinch – I like all THREE versions now. We saw the newest in theaters just this last weekend and it was very sweet. I couldn’t pick a favorite if you made me sooo just plan to watch them all!

The Preacher’s Wife –Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston are great on screen together. And she sings so of course that is wonderful. I love the story of a preacher struggling to keep his church afloat and a Christmas angel sent down to help (although he does get a little mixed up). It’s so worth watching and over the years has become one of my very favorites.

A Christmas Story – I am sure I have seen this movie no less than 150 times in my 30 Christmases. I love the humor and it will always always remind me of Christmas growing up. The old man makes me laugh more each year and the frazzled mother is now more relatable than Ralphie–ha!

The Family Stone – this is one of those strange instances where I saw it for the first time and didn’t like it at all. (The same thing happened with Step Brothers!! Which I now love.) Anyway, the more I watch it the more I love it. I love how the family isn’t cookie cutter and are a little all over the place. If you’re like me, it WILL make you cry. I should put a cry alert by most of these.

The Santa Clause – Sam has fallen in love with this (seen it probably 8 times since Nov 1) and I don’t mind a bit! It could never get old for me. Funny, magical, quotable! “A BEE sting?!” It would not be Christmas without it.

Four Christmases – I remember seeing this in theaters in college and knowing I had found a new Christmas classic! Dwight Yoakum absolutely makes this for me. “A rum pum pum pum, Brad!”

Well, that got out of hand quickly. I would like to say that even though they aren’t Christmas movies, excellent chick flicks for this time of year are: While You Were Sleeping and Sleepless in Seattle (Meg sings “harses, harses, harses” so it counts).

There are more, no doubt, but I won’t bore you with every last one. These are my highlights but I’d love suggestions if anyone has a few favorites to share!

the Aldi project: the proposal

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Next week makes one month since I’ve been back at blogging after my extended summer hiatus. I have found myself wanting to go in a million directions.

Anyone who knows my love of Babywise baby sleep is probably amazed I haven’t blogged about that yet. I am also always ready to post more Dave Ramsey but unsure who wants to read about it. I like posting about Mid Century Modern things but I don’t have the budget to buy more cool furniture to feature. I recently began waking up at 5am to work out and would like to tell you all about it. I haven’t done many DIY things this month outside of Halloween

See, a million directions.

Overall, I want balance between offering really interesting content for you guys while also chronicling the every day so I can go back and see what my family was up to in this stage of our lives.

This blog was started because:

1. I like blogs/blogging

2. I have dreams of my blog growing into a side hustle

In order to achieve point number 2, I need to get out there more! This starts with great content that people feel compelled to read and that people like to share. With that being said, I’d like to invite all of my current readers to share anything of mine that you have enjoyed reading to your Pinterest account!

Simply hover over any photo I upload and the upper left corner will have a little red “Pin” option.

Back to what to blog about…I have decided a fun thing for me to do that would also provide meaningful content is a little Aldi experiment. Hence, my blog title, The Aldi Project: the proposition.

Now this isn’t technically a proposition because I’m not pitching it to Aldi or something like that. It’s just a plan. But just for fun let’s pretend I’m a professional blogger and  they are offering me a free Aldi shopping trip in exchange for this review. Ha! A girl can dream.

I am planning to do 3 blog posts over the course of this project that will essentially be a price comparison for Aldi against Walmart.

Blog 1 – the proposition
Blog 2 – the list and the estimated savings
Blog 3 – the results

Here is what I am proposing, exactly. I’ll create a weekly shopping list that includes basic dinner items (think taco night, chili, and the like) along with snack foods, key breakfast items and anything else needed for a small family’s weekly groceries.

I’ll buy one week at Walmart and then carry out the exact same list at Aldi the next week. (Sorry in advance to my family as this may feel like the Groundhog’s Day of dinners).

Then I’ll break it down, item by item, and we’ll see what we get! I will buy mostly Walmart store brand, since Aldi is not “name brand.” Although I do have to tell you I sometimes think name brand is weird or off-tasting compared to my norm of “off brand.”  I grew up on COLA and Fruit Rounds, after all!

There are other grocery stores to compare with, no doubt. But I thought with Walmart being pretty universal, this would carry over well to most readers.

I am an Aldi girl through and through, as I have mentioned before. Some of you may be as well, and some of you may not be and that’s okay. I’m not shaming any one who isn’t on team Aldi with me, I just thought this would be a neat experiment.

Who knows, I may not be saving the money I thought I was! Or maybe I’m saving more! Let the planning begin!

the argument for carpet

There is nothing like binge watching HGTV for a few hours to make you realize you completely and utterly hate carpet, am I right? I mean you loathe the thought of any and all carpet so much that you know you must rip it all up, right away, and install hardwood. Before something crazy happens…like you start to enjoy it…gasp!

We’ve heard it so much from design standards of the last decade or so that I started trying to come up with a good reason for hating carpet so much. And I have to tell you…I’m for it. In some spaces.

When we first moved into our home about 2 years ago it had wall to wall carpet in 4 bedrooms, a massive hallway and the family room. (Spoiler alert, it still does!) And even though we had very little room in the budget for fun stuff (hello new roof), we talked for weeks about how we would take out the carpet in the hallway, the master bedroom, and maybe more places right away and put down tile.

But here we are two years later and the only time we’ve  had any carpet ripped up was last week just hours before the brand new stuff was installed!

I was really inspired by the texture of fancy sisal carpet but I knew I wanted it to be soft. Plus the natural coloring may have blended right in with our walls. We landed on gray with a little texture and I am so happy with it!

Here is our new carpet in a room I should have picked up and with Boo the photo bomber:

 

Now, here is my argument for carpet:

  1. The comfy factor. We have little kids who are always at ground level. Not only are they on the floor to lay down and watch a movie or on their knees pushing a truck across the floor, but we are also often sitting down playing with them, allowing them to ride on us like horses and whatnot. We honestly just get down on the floor and play with them so much more than when our living areas were all wood. See proof below:                                                 
               
  2. The quiet factor. Houses with all hard floor surfaces are LOUD. They echo and click and clack. I could RUN with my dog up and down the hallway where the boys’ bedrooms are right off of and they would not hear a peep. The padding is super thick and it’s the best noise reducer. If you think I haven’t run laps in my own house to try to hit all my Apple Watch rings you are mistaken. There isn’t any photographic evidence of this one–thankfully.

3. The homey factor. I think our new living room is so homey and lacks the somewhat sterile look that cold flooring can give. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE tile, wood, stamped concrete, etc. so I don’t always think it looks sterile. I just think there is something to be said for the texture and warmth wall to wall carpet can bring to certain rooms. And the idea that there is enough room for everyone to pile in for movie night because the whole room is so homey you can just sprawl right out on the floor, and not just to the edge of an area rug. Carpet seems to say: plop down, it’s homey here!

4.  The safety factor. If you haven’t watched kids learning to sit or walk this may sound trivial. But the cushion of wall to wall carpet brings so much peace of mind during the young years. When our youngest finally mustered up the desire to walk around we stuck to half of the home that was carpeted and let him have at it! In our old house I was more likely to take the new walker outside on the grass than the porcelain or hardwood inside. Thinking beyond that early walking stage there are still falls, wrestling matches and pillow fights we are sure to endure. I’m glad to have the added cushion!

5. The affordability factor. I was surprised what we got for the cost. Removal of old carpet, a new pad, new carpet and installation was really about the cost of a few 9×12 rugs you’d buy over the years to go over hard flooring. I didn’t price specific hardwood or tile because I knew we wanted carpet, but from what I’ve read, hardwood would be over 2 times the cost!

To address the point that hard floors are easier to clean: this may be true but I will say carpet cleaning is amazing and they can put down a stain protector when they do clean it. We did it ourselves when we first moved in but used professionals about a year later and that’s probably something we’ll do each year. It’s like getting brand new flooring!

If you’re on the fence, carpet in the right rooms can be great. I can’t wait for the day we get brand new carpet for the other carpet areas of our house, and I never thought I’d say that.

 

 

have a picnic

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

The weather is finally improving and it’s outside play time again! I know I was getting a little stir crazy over this long winter watching Frozen most weekend mornings. But now that we can go outside, what do you do with a 1 year old and 3 year old?

That sounds like an easy question. You play, of course. But we haven’t settled on exactly what type of play equipment the yard needs. So, as it stands, we have no swingset, no sandbox, no see saw, no pool (okay sometimes an inflatable) no playhouse. Nothing yet, at least.

We do have a tricycle and sidewalk chalk and bubbles and a kite, all of which are great fun and hits with the boys, but for right now when we head outside it’s a little bit of work!

Enter picnics.

This is one of my favorite ways to get the boys outside, soak up some sun and fresh air (and allow mama to relax!) all while eating a meal we needed to eat anyway. The boys love it and will cheer and clap when
I say we’re going on a picnic. (In our own yard…how easy is that!?)

Since I bought these awesome Bento lunch box containers from Amazon, they have been my go-to for picnics (in addition to being the best things for packing lunch).  The kids can carry their meals and not spill…win!

 

Sam is always in charge of carrying out a picnic blanket…

Miraculously, they stay on the blanket and stay pretty interested for quite a while. We stretch out on our backs and look at clouds and birds. I honestly think they eat better out there!

It’s crazy to me that Sam is pushing 3.5. I can have a complete conversation with him and enjoy his goofyness and his wit. And Tom is over 18 months…not talking much but he is eating that grilled cheese like such a big boy. How different from all the spoon feeding picnics last summer!

If you’re like me and feel like going outside to play is sometimes more work than fun. Try a picnic. You get to relax, eat (already sounding like a winner in my book)  and most importantly slow down and make memories with your kids that you’ll always remember.

Here are some of my favorite picnic memories over the years from bedtime picnic dinners to now. I’m not pretending to be Susie Homemaker as you’ll see a few lunchables and happy meals making an appearance!

We miss it during the winter, so we started having picnic dinners every now and then by the Christmas tree with a Christmas movie. Here they are for a winter picnic in their fuzzy monster slippers.

I really is the simple things! Get outside (or even stay in) and enjoy a picnic!

apple watch review

I am nearing a month of wearing my Apple Watch every day and wanted to do a review of it for those who are curious. I tend to stalk blogs for reviews of products when I am on the fence about them. When it first came out, I honestly thought it was a little silly. I thought it was just something to buy for those people who love to buy the latest gadget but that it didn’t really seem to serve much of a purpose.

Well, I officially LOVE my Apple Watch, and here’s why:

1. Fitness tracker. This is probably my favorite feature on the watch. I wore a Fitbit in the past so I was familiar with counting steps and avoiding sitting too long, but the Apple Watch rings are way more motivating to me. If I don’t close those three little rings (move, exercise, and stand) by
the end of the evening, you can find me walking laps around my house or doing jumping jacks in my living room. Even better is sharing activity with others for some friendly competition. There is nothing like your wrist buzzing at 6:30am to tell you Mary has finished her workout to get
yourself in gear!

2. Hands free. Have you ever realized how often you walk around with your phone in your hand (or is that just me)? Sometimes for me it wasn’t even enough to have it in my purse that I was carrying or on the table in front of me. I had to have it IN MY HAND, you know, in case it buzzed! The Apple Watch has the ability to alert me to a text or call or whatever it may be so I still feel connected all the time, I just don’t feel like such a slave to my phone. I have noticed that I’ll come home from work and leave my phone in my purse for an hour or so–but I’ll still be able to answer a call if needed on the watch!

3. Pinging my phone when I “lose” it. I can’t tell you how many times I say “I lost my phone!!” My husband could probably tell you…I think it drives him a little crazy! But the Apple Watch has that handy little button that allows you to ping the phone so you can find it. This seems like a minor thing but in the rush to get my kids out the door in the morning, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost 5 minutes only to find the phone in a closet or under a pillow. The ping actually makes it a little game and my boys help me look and we locate it quickly!

4. Cool factor. Okay, there’s no other way to say it, but it’s just cool! Apple pulled it off to where this watch is stylish and functional. I’ll admit I thought they were a little nerdy looking when they first came out…but now I just feel like a cool kid, ha!

If you are on the fence—I do recommend it! I think I would feel a little lost without it now. I have the one that you can set to waterproof mode, so I can bathe kids and wash dishes with ease. I really only take it off to shower and sleep. I think I’ve even lost a few pounds thanks to this watch. What will they think of next?!

month one blogging

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My blog is officially a month old! I have loved every minute. I can’t say my laundry has been getting the attention it deserves because blogging after the boys go to bed is my new favorite hobby(…I seriously dream about having a laundry lady.)

Considering it had been 5 years since my last time blogging, I spent a few weeks prior to kicking this one off just reading up on tips for using WordPress and for creating images for Pinterest, etc. The amount of information out there is truly overwhelming.

I thought it would all be about coding and traffic but what I was really shocked by were the hundreds of posts about people just reporting that they were “earning 6 figures within a year” or the ones telling you how they “made $15,000 in their second month blogging.”

I’m sorry…..what?!

I am impressed by these people, really I am, but I would much rather read a post from someone who seems like less of a rare unicorn and more like a normal working mom just trying to learn how to blog a little and maybe make enough to cover diapers each month.

So….drumroll please. In my first month blogging I made $5.07! I really did. I made money blogging. Who would have thunk?! It’s a good thing I’ve enjoyed it along the way though because $5.07 barely gets you the tiny pack of Aldi diapers, ha!

I hate to say it, but I have no sound advice for you if you are here to learn about starting a successful blog. If you are here because you were curious about how my first month went or you are thinking of starting one yourself, I can confidently say you should just jump in.

One true tip–I use Bluehost for self-hosting and love that I get a free domain name with the deal. Don’t even quiz me too hard on what all that means….I am in the wing it phase! I have read about people accidentally paying for their domain name only to realize that once they signed up for a web hosting service it was included in the price…so don’t do that!

But Bluehost has been incredibly helpful to me as I occasionally mess up my page (see: wing it phase) and have to use their customer service chat. They always save the day! If you use my affiliate link below, you can sign up on the cheap and I can work towards another case of diapers…

 

Really though, thank you to anyone who has taken time to check out my blog. I am an English Literature major who used to take writing intensives as electives in college….and now I work at a bank. I love my job but writing isn’t exactly something I do much of anymore. I always found it to have stress-relieving qualities so this blog provides the outlet.

I plan to follow up to this post at my 2 month mark and I am having a little challenge for myself. I currently have 16 email subscribers and had right at 1500 page views for the month so I am shooting to double both!

To help me get there, sign up to subscribe via email if you’d like to be notified of new posts. Also you can share any of my posts that you like on Pinterest, FB Twitter, IG, you name it. Thanks again for reading and making me feel like a cool-kid blogger.

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six mothers day baskets

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Gift idea lists are one of my very favorite aspects of reading blogs. Now that I’m blogging, I figure I’ll join in on the fun. I am a huge fan of creating a themed gift in some sort of container. A “basket gift” if you will.

In my opinion, simply putting a few like-items in a container that is, in itself, another gift, can elevate any present. As mother’s day approaches, here is a list of 6 basket gift ideas for mom.

I know you could find most or all of these items at my favorite shopping spots–Amazon and Aldi! Now for the round up:

1. The Baking Mom – fun cookie cutters (these are on my wish list right now), an oven mitt, a shiny new rolling pin and this awesome cook book about cookie cutter hacks all wrapped up in a new glass mixing bowl.

2. The Gardening Mom – a fresh pair of gloves, a few new tools, a new garden flag and even some plant food or seed packets all placed inside a nice new flower pot OR a pretty watering can.

3. The Mom Who Loves to be Pampered – a variety of new facial masks, rose water spray (I have this one and love it), a nice springy OPI color, a bath bomb and a loofah gifted inside a new make up bag.

4. The Yoga Mom – a new pair of leggings and/or workout gear, a cute new water bottle (monogram it!), a new band for her Apple watch or fitness tracker, maybe even throw in some deodorant and dry shampoo for on the go workouts. Stuff it all into a fun new gym bag.

5. The Joanna Gaines Mom (I want to be this one!) – mini potted succulents, a large candle, a pretty magazine, these adorable and stylish tea towels , and pretty much anything from her Target line all nestled in a chic wire basket.

6. The Brand New Mom – A coffee mug (she needs the caffeine and will appreciate this Mean Girls option), a bottle of wine (or two), something personalized “from the baby” such as a ring or necklace with baby’s name, birthstone, etc. Give her flowers too–maybe skip the basket on this one. Just writing this last one gave me baby fever. Happy First mother’s day to all the new moms!

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rosie the roomba

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When our house was built in the mid/late fifties, it was really cutting edge. It has gorgeous bright blue/green St. Charles kitchen cabinets (which I will be featuring in a post soon!) with every little built-in convenience factor you could want. We hear stories all the time about how it had the first microwave and first light dimmers in our home town. It actually has this old master-control thing in the master bedroom that looks like it may have let the owner control the electrical to the whole house while sitting in bed?! (still unsure about that thing– but photo below!)

This post contains affiliate links for products I love!

It was trendy in a Mid-Century way that has actually proven to be timeless. And the fact that we have decked it out with a talking alarm system (“front.door.” “system. armed.” it reminds us), our Alexa who controls our lights on smart bulbs, and now our robot vacuum…all just seems to work.

Here are some articles from one of my favorite sites, https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/, showcasing some mid century innovation. And yes, that does look like an  old-school Roomba!

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-mad- men-era- roomba-final- frame-190629

 

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/home-intercom-system-history-257665

My grandparent’s house had one of those intercoms!

 

So, our Roomba (who we named Rosie to pay homage to the Mid-Century cartoon The Jetsons) fits right in and does an amazing job. I love having this thing!

My thoughts on Rosie:

Don’t get one if you don’t pick up often. She will eat phone chargers, shoe laces, leggos, you name it. Luckily I seem to become more and more of a neat freak with age which  means I don’t usually have problems with this. We DID have an awful experience where our Roomba ran over a spider glue trap, but since then no issues.

Don’t get one if you think it will replace your vacuum (still completely obsessed with my Shark Navigator Liftaway vacuum cleaner). We run our Roomba M-F at 9am. This has allowed me to go down from vacuuming 2x a week (we have a lot of carpet, a dog, and two kids) to about every 10 days. This is a huge break for me, but it definitely still needs to happen.

Take care of your Roomba. My three year old will tell you our family is “Mommy and Daddy and Tom and Boo and Rosie.” He has reallllllly taken a liking to her. So, we treat her well! Empty often, try to eliminate places where she gets stuck, clean out brushes, remove my crazy amounts of hair from it, etc.

 

Now—any thoughts on what this baby was capable of in the 1960’s?!

 

I am working on growing my blog, please pin this or any post you’d like to share to help me grow!!

Ireland – what to do, what to wear, what to remember

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It’s been two weeks since I’ve been home and it almost doesn’t feel real…but I went to Ireland! It was an amazing trip that I never want to forget, so I thought it would make a great blog post that I can always look back on. We spent a week in and around Dublin and although the foreigners let us know plenty of times how crazy it was that Americans get so little “holiday” time, it was the perfect amount of time to see the sights and then get back to my boys. Shout out to my husband for holding down the fort with ease!

I know that I personally spent way too much time on Pinterest and blogs leading up to the trip to find out what to do and what
to wear—so if you’re here for that, check out my lists below after all the pictures.

It’s fun for me to remember that this whole trip started off at the table of a Missouri winery while celebrating my sister’s bachelorette party. Honestly if the sangria pitchers hadn’t gone down as smooth as they had, we may have never taken this trip! But, as fate would have it, we had wine, we had sangria, and the cousins had a fun hypothetical discussion about surprising our moms at Christmas with a trip to Ireland…the rest is history!

I still get excited thinking about our corny little rhyming clues on Christmas. Is there any feeling better than giving what you feel like is a good gift?! I think not!

Pictures don’t do it justice, but here are some sights we saw:

St. Patrick’s Cathedral was gorgeous on the inside but no photos allowed. Surprisingly (to us) it’s not Roman Catholic! Who knew?
The Brazen Head–oldest pub in Ireland–dates back to 1198!
Hiking in Howth was probably my favorite day! We had pretty nice weather and amazing views.

The Guinness Storehouse is a really nice museum that was so well done–beyond my expectations for a brewery museum! The 360 bar at the top was the perfect spot to sip my first Guinness. Acquired taste….but when in Rome!
Shameless sheep selfie. Rural pub tour in the Wicklow mountains! The scenery was just as picturesque as you would imagine–it was like a movie!
In Glendalough I just couldn’t get over how old everything was. Our country is so new comparably. To walk through ruins of churches and graveyards well over 1000 years old was surreal.
Pictures really don’t do any of it justice…
So maybe all the locals know it’s a tourist spot and the drinks are twice the price…but I really enjoyed Temple Bar! The Irish, of course, offered Irish coffee everywhere but this was a delicious take on an iced version
St. Stephen’s Green was like the Central Park of Dublin

WHAT TO DO – A list of some of my must-do things would have to include:

1. Visit Howth – I think the majority of our group ranked this as one of the best days. Howth is a fishing community about 30 mins outside of Dublin by train. The scenery was incredible and fresh seafood restaurants line the marina. We hiked for hours and basically logged the best days
anyone’s fitbits had ever seen. I could spend much longer than a day trip in Howth!

2. Guinness Storehouse – This was a really nice, really interesting museum. Who knew that Arthur Guinness had something like 20+ kids and that he signed a 9000 year lease for the Guinness factory?! There are plenty of neat things to see here and the 360 bar at the top with your complimentary Guinness had an amazing view!

3. Rural pub tour – this was such a memorable experience! We booked a small pub tour and our guide picked us right up in Dublin. He then drove us up the mountains to 6 unique rural pubs. We learned traditional Irish music and met with locals at locations we never would have found on our own.
We felt like this was a very authentic Ireland. They are truly a sing-songy people, but it was more genuine than I would have imagined. I don’t think they just sang corny “Irish songs” for the tourists…we got to visit some real hole-in-the walls and the live music always consisted of the same handful of folksy songs.

4.  Glendalough and Kilkenny day tour – this was a bit of a trip (around 2 hours) outside of Dublin, but we saw some amazing things. Glendalough is an area with ruins so old and history so rich that I truly felt dumbstruck around structures built that long ago! Kilkenny was a charming little town complete with a castle, of course, and fun shopping. We were even surprised by what appeared to be an impromptu marching band parade upon walking out of a shop!

WHAT TO WEAR – because I struggled with this and repacked my bag twice:

  1. Boots – It rains a lot, so we learned, and the one time I wore flats for an hour I regretted it. Tennis shoes just get soggy. I wore either riding boots or these super inexpensive duck boots 95% of the time with really thick, cozy socks. I kind of ran out of time and took a chance on them and I want a second pair now since Amazon has so many colors/options.

 

2. Scarves, layers- scarves are easy to pack and often times saved me when the sun set and a cold wind came in. Layers are a good idea too because if it warms up or you warm up from hiking, you don’t want to be too bundled up!

3. A hooded coat (and/or umbrella) – I didn’t follow this advice that I read so many places. I bought a cheap umbrella while there and it died within an hour along with many, it seems. The streets were lined with broken umbrella stuffed trash cans! Get yourself a good one and a coat with a hood in case you get caught in the rain!

4. Comfy/cute – for me it was a legging and tunic heavy trip, but I didn’t want every picture of me taken on this once in a lifetime trip to be so casual and, dare I say, soccer mom-ish.  Dresses were easy too and, with flat boots, still practical enough for exploring. This is an affiliate link coming up, but probably my favorite Amazon clothing purchase ever so definitely check it out! this dress I ordered for the trip is now a favorite and I’ve ordered another color. Affordable, super flattering and comfortable! I love a good Amazon find because I tried on at least 5 that did NOT work.

WHAT TO REMEMBER (so maybe this part is for me):

1. Our rush to come in out of the rain one afternoon while lost and tired from hiking only to stumble upon a pub with quaint live music and the best atmosphere, a happy accident!

2. Meal time – our group didn’t separate often, but the whole 9 of us sitting down to lunches and dinners all week really made the trip.

3. How happy we were to find that pub on top of the mountain in Howth! Lord knows we had hiked our hearts out and didn’t pack drinks or snacks.

4. Those three old men in a pub somewhere in the Wicklow mountain area, singing  old Irish music, singing in Gaelic, reciting poetry, telling jokes, sharing sandwiches with us and talking about their parents farming back before the Easter Rising. We felt like we got a really genuine bit of Ireland there!

5. Our hurried shopping off Grafton street in the hours before our flight when we stumbled upon Ohm Diva! We didn’t know where we were going or what we would find but this perfect little store and vintage shop and it’s owners/employees fit the bill. Now I follow them on Instagram and feel like a little bit of me is a Dublin local-ha!

If you can’t tell, I would recommend a trip to Ireland.  Let me know in the comments if you have every been or plan to go!

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it takes a village

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I’m officially a blogger again! It has been a while since the last time I blogged regularly and even though I have wanted to start one back up many times, I could never settle on the subject matter. Since quitting my old blog from college I now have a real job, have gotten married, got a dog, had two kids, bought a house, and even got a Kitchenaid mixer…so it seems only natural that my blog will be one in a sea of many—a “mom blog.”

They say it takes a village to raise a child, a phrase I wholeheartedly agree with and would even like to expand upon. It seems these days that it takes a village to determine the perfect grey paint color, or come up with a million ideas fora 3 year old’s lunch box, to know if it’s okay to paint my bathroom tile (is it?!), or how to make royal icing. It takes a village, of mom blogs at least, to show me exactly how their pallet coffee table turned out, how they meal plan with Aldi groceries and how they make their Erin Condren weekly spreads look so pretty.

I may not have the perfect niche subject that brings readers flocking to my blog, but I know that my all too common Google searches about anything from what to pack for Ireland, to stocking-stuffer ideas or even how long to boil eggs are directing me to the sites of other women much like myself. Maybe they like to write and they also like to watch a little HGTV so one day they find themselves in their bathroom painting tile. (You CAN do that, right?!) Because I did….thanks to the four women who were gracious enough to take pictures of their own painted tile and who told me and the whole internet that it would be okay. Sure these weren’t technical tutorials–but they were mom blogs and they were good enough for me. It takes a village. So I’ve decided to join the village blogging about life and whatever that entails.

A little about me—I’m a 28 year old (for 2 more weeks) full-time working mom of two little boys and a Catahoula Leopard dog. My husband and I have been in our Mid Century mod house for almost two years now and have developed an appreciation for the architecture and furniture of the time period.

We may spruce things up here and there, but any home projects I post should include us being true to the house. Often times I try to be a Pinterest mom but I don’t get too hard on myself when I lean more towards Amazon Prime mom. Then again, I DO have that Kitchenaid mixer (and a sewing machine!) so you never know. You’ll be the first to see if my cookie decorating and seamstress endeavors will have me going pro.

I have a new-found interest in attempting to keep house plants alive and a strange love for the fine art that is baby sleep. ( read Babywise if you are sleep deprived, just saying). In fact, I’m sure it was on a blog not unlike this, that back in the early days of 2015 I learned some key baby napping skills that led to an actual baby nap. What I did with that blissful two hours, I don’t know. I’d like to think I did some dishes, since pre-2016 us didn’t own a dishwasher (the horror!). Or maybe I slept when the baby slept.

In reality, I probably read another mom blog.