mom scaring

I have noticed a trend both in person and on social media lately. It’s one I know I have participated in but that still bothers me from time to time.

Maybe now that I am expecting baby number three I have just heard it more or taken more notice of it…but here it is:

Why do we, as moms, love to scare brand new or expectant parents? I am sure I’ve done it at some point, so I’m not pointing a finger here. I just wonder why is it that after the congratulations we just inundate people with warnings of how their life is over?

It’s those little comments when someone is so ready to have their first baby and they are told “oh just wait” with a sense of warning.

It’s a comment to a mom expecting a second or third that now the work REALLY begins.

It’s that Facebook post I have seen circulating lately about how new parents on average are sleep deprived for the first 6 years. SIX?! I don’t care who you are, that’s scary.

It’s often times joking…but not really.

It’s the explosive diaper photo compilations. The knock down when a mom says they are going to try to not start the baby with a particular habit like a pacifier.

The talks about your body being wrecked. The horror stories. The little laugh that means “you have no idea.”

It’s telling people they’ll never have a social life again, never get dressed up for a date night, never have their bed back.

The social media posts that say “before you have kids look at THIS” and show you some monstrous mess or something gross.

On the surface its just honesty I guess. Your baby isn’t going to come home sleeping and there will be some diaper mishaps. It will be like nothing you’ve ever done before. In fact there are probably very few things that will go as you expect them to.

Most of the new mom warnings are probably well-intentioned …but I have to say as someone who is taking notice of it and receiving quite a few comments about having 3…it is everywhere.

Even now as I am feeling like a veteran and that I should be confident in another, these posts and comments can give me unease!

Why not just let me be blissfully unaware of how hard three kids will be for a while… my dose of reality will hit me just like it hit you.

And why not encourage those who express any interest in bringing children into the world instead of scaring them?

I am not currently suffering from 6 years of sleeplessness (I mean last night my 2 year old did wake up crying because he couldn’t find his stuffed animal….that he was laying on…but that is rare!)

But who knows this time around…

This third baby is most likely going to be completely different than what I know because, let’s face it, all babies are. Still the warnings of just how hard it all really is still creep up and make me wonder how we’ll do it. And I’ve been there, twice!

I am thankfully confident in our choice to have three–but imagine if you were expecting your first or just contemplating even having kids.

All this talk about never getting to shower, wear anything other than sweat pants, or sleep again ever is enough to put it off a few years! (And it’s mostly all exaggeration I promise!)

I do get it. It’s not always glamorous. But surely there are some highlights of parenthood we could be floating around Facebook instead. Because, from the outside looking in, who would sign up for all this?!

I was talking to a friend today who doesn’t have kids and this came up, even before I said I had a blog post ready about this! Among her friends with kids, she really only hears about how hard their lives are. I think this is daunting if you are close to considering starting a family.

The general consensus (and one that I’m not saying I disagree with) is MOTHERHOOD IS HARD.

This is true. But it’s not the only truth.

I am going to make an effort this Lent to talk about and focus on how motherhood is rewarding. I am also giving up sweets….which could potentially be a failure so I am choosing two things, ha!

I know plenty of wonderful moms who get so much joy from their kids and I love reading/hearing about it. I think the world would love to get a bit more of that.

Anyway, this is just me, reminding myself as an expectant mom to put the war stories out of my mind and think of the good. Because we have a new bundle who will bring so much goodness in 6 short months!

This is also me as an existing mom reminding myself that a few words of well-wishing versus warnings go over much better when talking to my friends on the other side.

Our thoughts dictate so much. Think about how it’s hard, and it feels hard. Think about the bright side, and everything starts feeling better. I’m ready for this Lenten season of positive motherhood–my Facebook and Instagram will hopefully be sunnier while I enjoy soaking up the little moments of life with a 2 and 4 year old.

trying new taco nights

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Since Christmas and our family taco night box ,we have tried out a few new taco recipes and enjoyed them all.

I am going to share a few pictures…but wow it’s hard to get a decent picture of food! I have a whole new appreciation for food bloggers.

But, to document our year of new taco nights, I am going to post my crummy pictures anyway 🙂

This was our first fancy taco night – chicken enchilada tacos that were made easy by calling for a rotisserie chicken. This was a win, our kids surprised me by eating them and Tom is apparently a lover of black olives.

They looked pretty legit in the beloved dinosaur taco holders. I highly recommend these things, I think they encourage my more picky eater to actually eat.

And these grown up taco holders are handy too! I can’t seem to make our tacos look pretty but the holders help a bit. Plus, it is nice to go ahead and make your 2 or 3 tacos at once instead of one at a time like we used to.

Next up was carne asada and I messed up and didn’t marinate. My husband went to cook the steak and realized I had skimmed over the direction. Whoops! They were tasty still.

I didn’t get other pictures from this night I guess but the kids were all about the steak. I was so shocked since Sam prefers to eat bread and desserts. They even had the leftover steak the next night. Win.

Next up was a Sriracha Honey Lime chicken taco. I remembered to marinate! The boys’ chicken was prepped in honey and lime alone. Ours had quite a kick.

Again the dinosaurs didn’t disappoint. I picked Sam up this day and he asked me what was for dinner. I told him it was taco night and he said “yesssss we get to use the dinosaurs!”

Tom requested tacos for breakfast yesterday so he is equally on board.

I can’t lie, I am sort of craving the ease of making the tacos I have made 50 times and don’t need a recipe for. So we may sneak in our old stand-by soon. But overall this has been a fun way to mix up family dinners!

Random thought–I need to figure out if it’s hard to grow cilantro now that we seem to need it weekly.

tidying up takeover

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Netflix hit the nail on the head for a lot of us by airing Marie Kondo’s series on January 1. Before I even heard about it, I (along with tons of other people I’m sure ) had mulled over the idea of a good decluttering and deep cleaning after putting away holiday décor.

I knew I wanted to tidy up things like my shoes and my medicine cabinet and a few more high traffic/quick fix areas and actually posted about that here.

But the more I watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the more I let myself imagine how nice it would be to truly tackle the whole house, maybe even once and for all.

I am honestly not a pack-rat type. I am lucky in that I don’t usually form attachment to clothes the boys have outgrown or too many items other than a small amount of sentimental ones.

I like to even consider myself well-organized and a quasi-minimalist (in that I don’t like things on my counters or in my line of sight). But still, tackle the whole house? Marie Kondo recommends getting this all done at once, and what better time than dreary dull January?

It dawned on me that I was like many of the families on the show with fairly tidy living areas but some truly messy closets, drawers, and problem areas. Some of my closets and cabinets really aren’t even messy, they just aren’t organized and random. Items wind up where they don’t really belong and this leads to a difficult time finding things or not realizing what you have and buying doubles.

I had some skeletons in my closets, or the closets were the skeletons.

You know what I mean.

I think Marie Kondo is smart to ask her clients to just imagine the kind of home and life that they want for themselves. I pictured tidy junk drawers and spice cabinets and for things to stop falling out of the front
hall closet when I open it.

Why does this really matter, you may ask?

I am a huge believer in the concept that visual clutter can cause stress. I have been known for years to straighten pillows and fold blankets in the living room before bed or clear out all the kids toys before relaxing with a movie. That is because I am positive I feel happier without seeing the junk.

But I am also starting to believe the invisible clutter can cause stress as well. I know for a fact that front hall closet is a disaster. It has housed some odds and ends for the 2 years we’ve lived here that really deserve their own home. I know that my sheets and comforters aren’t exactly folded in the linen closets; they are just shoved or stuck in there. I know the one junk drawer in the kitchen has turned into two.

And even though those drawers are shut and those cabinets are closed, I know it’s all there. So technically the invisible clutter is still with me. Imagine the wonderful feeling of having no real problem spot in the home.

I know… this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. A straightened couch pillow before bed might sound like lunacy and a second junk drawer may not bother you in the slightest. That’s okay!

But I think many people are like me—and we are those people who have been posting trash bags full of junk since January 1 thanks to Marie Kondo.

I didn’t follow her format or order 100% but still giving her the credit for my motivation and wanted to share some wins with you all! It’s mainly about the folding for me, it’s my favorite part!

My scarf drawer–I wish I had a before picture. It was difficult to close! I purged things with holes and stuff but really this isn’t much less than before and sooo much more room with the new fancy folding
sweat shirt drawer before–they really are sort of folded. Just rummaged through.
After with no purging! They all brought me a comfy Saturday on the couch kind of joy.
Cleaning supplies–the before was such a mess. We have 2 of a lot of things! I would have never known before.
This would be a “during” shot of the laundry room. Can’t wait to be ready with that after!
Tom’s closet before, and sideways. It was folded and fairly neat but drawers were impossible to close if everything was washed..
Tom’s closet after. If there is one thing I take away from Marie Kondo it’s this folding. It is a space saver and shows you everything at a glance! Like Tom’s 50 shades of khaki (AFTER purging many!)
Before cups/glasses. This doesn’t even show all the sippy cups that we leave sitting out on the drying mat because they don’t fit well.
I purged a ton of old sippy cups that were starting to leak or be gross. I moved seasonal to our holiday storage. I got stackables that save space and are super cheap and easy to clean. Win! Also got rid of an embarrassing amount of coffee mugs.
These are the take and toss cups and I’m a convert.
before – TWO full junk drawers.
After – one junk drawer and one drawer left for who knows what.
Paper storage was really nice to get a handle on. We did have a file cabinet and fairly ordered system, but it was a pain to get to. Now I have 4 binders: tax returns, home and auto, personal (sections for each of us) and manuals! Appliances, complex toys, the Roomba, grills–you can find the all in this handy binder. And if you ever go to resell an item, buyers may appreciate the manual!

Kids’s paper clutter is another thing all-together. I am so so happy with this system I started last year.

This pretty spice cabinet makes me happy now! Spices do expire, and we had quite a few duplicates that I combined!

My full list is a little crazy. I am not halfway finished yet but I am enjoying this process. I am spending maybe an hour after the kids go to bed as well as my lunch break most days to power through it.

I haven’t done much with boxes but I love how she makes drawers neat an organized with them. I have these soft boxes in my cart!

Listening to a podcast while organizing helps!

Could this be the last time I ever purge?!

I think a lesson you learn by cleaning out all these areas is that you don’t want to just do it again next year. How do you prevent that?

Being super conscious about what you buy. I am completely on board
for buying less because I’m ready to get back on the Dave Ramsey train anyway.

I would recommend cleaning out just one little drawer for anyone out there who thinks I’m nuts. It just feels good! And for those of you going full on Kon-Mari—tell me all about it!

So here’s to 2019 and less visible and invisibe clutter–why I’m tidying with Marie Kondo!

easy things to do around the house this January

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Do you get that itch to organize and deep clean each January?

It always feels like such a fresh start. We enter a new year with a zest to be better and with the best of intentions.

Will it last all year? Doubtful. But why not strike while the iron is hot and spend those dull dreary January days whipping your house into shape, little by little?

If you are lacking motivation to get started, there is always the new Marie Kondo Netflix series.

I love how she never forces anyone to purge-the lady who said two bathrobes sparked joy I was just sure would be urged to pick a favorite by Marie. Instead Marie seems to love when items spark joy and never suggests something shouldn’t.

It is refreshing compared to the world of HGTV where every single house is criticized for it’s “outdated granite” or bad paint colors. In this series there is never one mention of outdated color schemes or furniture or the more blandly decorated homes that could have used some art work or accent walls, only happiness for people who can tidy up.

The whole sparking joy process is a big project. If you are ready to tackle that then more power to you! I have definitely filled some trash bags this weekend, thank you to the Netflix show.

But if you want to do a little less (and still feel a big impact) here is a list of my go-to quick and easy around-the-house tasks so you can bask in a sense of accomplishment:

  1. Ligth bulbs. Is it just me or do you ever limp along with less than ideal lighting because a bulb or two has gone out? I currently have one bathroom and two kitchen bulbs out and have done nothing about it for 2 months. January is a great time to not only go ahead and swap these out, but to dust your bulbs and clean your fixtures!
  2. Junk drawer(s). If you only have one, I am impressed. Of the top of my head I have two in the kitchen, one in the utility room and one in the bathroom. And I like to think I’m a fairly organized person! Anyway, there is nothing wrong with a drawer for a few odds and ends, but when it becomes too stuffed to use it’s pointless. Cleaning these out is one of my favorite organizing tasks. They stay organized for about 5 days, but who’s counting?
  3. A place for everything. No, I’m not saying to go through your whole home with a label maker and become ultra-organized overnight. But, I do truly believe in the saying “a place for everything and everything in its place.” It is easier for me to keep the house picked up because I
    know where to put (most) things. And if you stick with this, your family members know where to put things as well. Eventually, you all just start putting items in their homes from the start! Anyway, what I mean by this task is, have you come into something new that doesn’t have a home yet? For us this year it is arts and crafts stuff for the kids. Being 2 and 3, we haven’t done a whole lot of painting or playing with clay, glue, glitter etc. until the last year. Recently it seems like we have a mountain of play-doh, coloring books, markers, colored pencils, stickers, pipe cleaners, paint sets, googly eyes, glue etc and, I love it, but I just don’t know where it goes. Whatever your odd items may be, take a little time to gather it up and create a specific space.
  4. Clean your appliances. The inside of the washing machine, the dryer lint area, the microwave, the oven, the dishwasher (if you haven’t ever cleaned your dishwasher, I’m telling you to do it now. The filter will horrify you.) You don’t have to do all this at once. But spaced out in 15-20 minute increments over the month of January, imagine how great you’ll feel with fresh clean appliances!
  5. Vacuum the edges. I have a Roombathat I love. I also have a Shark that I love. Between these two, our home is vacuumed fairly often (mainly because we have a dog).But, have you ever taken the slanted end hose attachment and run it along where the carpet or floor meets the wall in every room? A lot of dirt and dog hair can get stuck there and the vacuum doesn’t always reach it. So get the edges of the rooms as well as the corners of all your closets the next time you get the vacuum out. It shouldn’t add more than 20 mins to regular vacuuming.
  6. Shoes. If you have kids, you might have a few outgrown or worn out beyond wear shoes tossed aside in the closet. And if you are like me, the bottom of your own closet may look like a sea of shoes with some random clothing price tags scattered about. I like to pull every shoe out, vacuum, and organize them into rows. It’s an early look too on what shoes everyone needs for spring. I wear my sandals to death so don’t let the first warm day sneak up on you without a pair ready to go! I did this task over the weekend and it took no more than 15 mins for my closet and it’s so much nicer to look at now!
  7. Medicine cabinet/bathroom drawers. Wherever you keep the toothpaste, contact solution, make up remover, deodorant. This place could probably use a good purge and a wipe down. Get a new toothbrush or refill the jar of cotton balls. I sometimes leave an empty product just sitting there for whatever reason….so pitch stuff like that, check expiration dates, etc. This is a quick task but since you use this area every day you will appreciate it!

That’s my own little list for January. Of course there are a few large projects I want to tackle including finishing painting the bathroom tile I started back in March on the third bathroom. I just left the area behind the shower curtain and it’s so out of sight out of mind I have let it go 10 months…oops!

I’d love to hear if anyone else is planning any particular cleaning or organizing this month! If you have not watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo I do recommend the quick 8 episode series or her book for some motivation!

for your Christmas entertainment

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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

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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

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.

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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