life | Must Haves | parenting

5 Must Have Spring Outdoor Toys!

By on April 12, 2017

  Hello Spring! I love this time of year. It hasn’t hit that sweltering heat that Florida gets in the Summer so we really try to get outside as much as possible. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase an item from one of the links you click on from my site I will receive a small portion of that sale. This in no way affects you. 

Some of my favorite items for Spring (and Summer for those who haven’t gotten a break from the cold yet) usually have to do with being outside. We spent majority of our time in the pool or running around the neighborhood till dinner time when I was a child. Since times have changed we really can’t expect our kids to be outside alone for hours on end. Here are some fun must haves to make hanging with your kids outside a little easier and a whole lot of fun.

Water Balloons. Yep, I said it, water balloons are so much fun. I love getting into this with the kids. Last Summer my best friend introduced me to these easy to fill water balloons and we have been hooked ever since. Just make sure to clean up the balloon debri afterwards. We told the kids prior to playing that if they wanted to play they had to clean up the water balloon pieces and they were good with it. We made that into a game of who could clean up the fastest, whatever works, right? Follow it up with a popsicle and it makes for the perfect cool off activity. 

Bubble Machine. Just turn it on and they will run around chasing bubbles till you are ready for them to stop. I bought this one because it had great reviews and I must say I am impressed with it. Even I was mesmerized by the amount of bubbles that come out at a time. We had this Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Machine one awhile back and it works great, similar style to the other one but the piece that holds the bubble liquid comes off to make it easier to refill, which is nice, but made is easily breakable. Both work great though. If you get the second one just make sure you have kids old enough to not take it off and accidentally break it.
Slip N’ Slide. One of my favorite activities from childhood. If you want a good old fashion one you can get it here but now they have so many fun ones you really can’t go wrong with any option you pick. This one might looks super fun. Kids love being able to slide down these slippery slides that you might actually get a little time to sit back and relax. 

Sidewalk Chalk. This is the one thing that is a staple in our house year round. The minute I am running low I go buy more. My kids are obsessed and I love that it is a creative outlet as well. The girls got these awesome Walkie Chalk “Stand Up” Sidewalk Chalk Holders for their birthdays and they love them. We also love these sidewalk holders to make them a bit less messy. 
Sidewalk Chalk Paint. So this one is a favorite but not something we take out often. I love this because the kids have so much fun with it but it is messy. This is a good one to take out when you are doing something with water right after. Have them play with this in their bathing suits as well. It’s definitely a must have though because it is so fun. 
And I highly suggest becoming an Amazon Prime (try if for 30 days free!) Member. We have it and ordering all of these items is super easy and inexpensive. Free 2 day shipping isn’t bad either! 
What are some of your Spring or Summer must haves for playing outdoors? We love getting new ideas. 


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Our 5 Favorite Bedtime Books

By on April 4, 2017

Bedtime is one of those times you want to make peaceful and sweet. You want your child to go off to dreamland feeling cozy and calm. One way to do that is creating a bedtime routine and finishing it off with a book or two (or three or four). My children look forward to that bedtime story every single night. Here are some of our all time favorites. 

1. Goodnight Moon. This is probably not a shocker for most parents but I have to put it out there for any new or expecting Moms. This is a book I began reading when Ace was a baby and my kids still love it to this day. The rhyming, repetitive nature is reassuring and calming for them. I always end it with a whisper “Goodnight noises everywhere.” to help keep the mood calm and peaceful. 
2. Little Blue Truck. This has got to be one of the cutest books with a great message. We are huge fans of all the Little Blue Truck books (my favorite is Little Blue Truck in the city). This is a story about a truck who helps a rude dump truck and sets an example everyone begins to follow. 
3. That’s Not My Bunny. Short, cute and colorful. These books are always fun to read because my kids can easily remember the words, they are textured so they love feeling the animals and they are short. If you have a night where you need to get through a book quickly this is a must. 
4. Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You. This is probably my all time favorite book for my children to listen to before bedtime. This is actually a book we got from Ashlyn’s biological mother and she recorded her voice reading it. It is a very sweet reminder that a Mother’s love is always there no matter what. If you are an adoptive Mom and have an open relationship with your child’s biological mother I highly recommend this book. It ends with I love and I think that is a great way to end a book. 
5. Pajama Time. Fun and silly! This book is another one I have been reading to my kids since Ace was a baby. It’s just such a fun read and it’s silly too. I love books that send my children to bed with a smile. 
What are your favorite bedtime stories for your little ones? 

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life | parenting

Moms of Newborns: Formula for Happiness #formulaforhappiness

By on July 28, 2015

Today’s post is sponsored by Gerber® Good Start® Gentle, who believe that comfort for baby means happiness for all. Here is my Formula for Happiness™.

Since Ace turned 4 I started looking back on photos of him as a little newborn. That time in our lives was actually really rough. 
Ace was a difficult newborn. He had colic, didn’t sleep at all through the night and cried all.the.time. I felt like I was failing him. Here is what helped me through the toughest times as a Mom to a newborn.
1. Ask for help. Having a newborn who doesn’t sleep can play games with your head. I actually went over to my parents house and told my Mom that my baby hated me, ha! She saw how tired I was and took Ace in her arms and let me lay down and get a little break. It felt good to sleep and know he was in good hands. There is no shame in having someone help you with a newborn and most people like cuddling that cute little bundle of joy.
Have questions on your?  Gerber® Good Start® Gentle is happy to introduce a Certified Sleep Consultant for your little one’s needs. Good sleep–for your baby and your family—is an essential component of your journey. That journey isn’t always perfect, but getting support every step of the way helps.
2. Take time for yourself. As time went on I realized I was allowed to take little breaks here and there for full time Mommy hood. It was good for my state of mind and it made me a better Mom. I wasn’t as stressed and that little time away made me appreciate my time with my son. 
I think the formula for happiness with any Mom, especially new Moms is allowing yourself to get a break. It might not be easy to go out for a date or with the girls but even a bath at the end of the day when your baby finally falls asleep can do wonders for your state of mind. This was my go to with Everly because she was also a hot mess. Ashlyn thankfully was my easy newborn but even with an easy newborn I needed a break here and there. 
3. Get out of the house! Something else I found that really helped me get through the newborn stage, especially with Everly was going for a walk in the morning. Even if I was exhausted from her being up all night I would stick her and Ashlyn in their stroller and go for a walk around our neighborhood. It would actually give me energy and start my day off right. 

4. Make time for your partner. Newborns take up a lot of our time and energy often leaving our partner out in the cold. It can make you both feel disconnected and any time you can steal away will help you reconnect as a couple. I know date nights or even nights where we can just relax and watch our favorite show together are so important to us. We can just hang out like we did when we were dating and remember what this crazy life is all about. Being a family and enjoying our time together! 
Gerber® Good Start® Gentle believes that the Formula for Happiness™ can be a lot of things, and moms have different ways of enjoying the journey through motherhood. 

Now it’s your turn to tell me what your formula for happiness is for new Moms. Use hashtag #formulaforhappiness so I can check out all your awesome tips on Instagram and Twitter

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life | parenting

How do you do it?

By on March 8, 2015

I often get this question a lot. “How do you do it?” 

I think people see three young children and assume it’s the hardest, most stressful life there ever was! I mean yes, having 3 under the age of 4 (and at one point 3 under 3) can be rough, especially when two of them are only 5 months apart. 
I often get comments like “Bless you!” or “You really have your hands full!” and of course the infamous “How do you do it?!”  I get it, we can look like a spectacle at times. 
So how do I do it? Well, it’s like anything in life, you just do because you have no choice. 
Every day we get up, try to follow a general routine and get through the day with as many laughs as we can. My house is rarely ever not cluttered with baby stuff and if I could fully finish laundry it would be a miracle. Half the time my kids are running around in only diapers and underwear because pulling pants up and down every time someone needs a diaper change gets old. Also if you have met Everly you will know this is no easy feat. The girl loves to scream and spin whenever she is changed. 
I also have a husband who wins in the Daddy category. Whenever someone asks how I do it he is my answer. Branden picks up so much of my slack. He is a cleaning machine, plays with the kids and keeps our house from falling apart all while working. He is a savior and I am lucky to call him mine. I think people assume the Moms do it all or maybe the Dads are only there for the fun parts but not in our family. Branden takes on so much and I am very grateful. I don’t think I tell him enough. 
So my house is a slight disaster and my kids are half dressed but at least they are happy the majority of the time. I may be going slightly nuts through out the day but they are pretty oblivious to it. We go through harder times and super easy times but overall we make it because we just do. We learn what works and what doesn’t and go with what does. 
People have asked for a Day in the Life post so I will try to get that done for you all! 
How do you make it work with your family? 

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advice | new mom | parenting | Pregnancy

5 Ways to Encourage a New Mom

By on September 22, 2014

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Being a first time Mom is filled with so many emotions. It’s joyous, incredible, tiring, terrifying and at times frustrating.  It can feel overwhelming in those first few weeks and months. When you don’t have children yourself it can often be confusing on what you should do. Should you leave Mom to have alone time with her new baby? Should you put it out there that you are there for her but leave it on her terms? Here are some of the things I know I appreciated from people and what I have noticed others have appreciated from me as I was able to be there for my friends when they became Moms for the first time. 
1. Don’t just ask if she needs help, be specific on what you will help her with. Most people will never ask for help because they don’t want to inconvenience anyone. Instead of “Call me if you need anything.” Say “I am bringing you guys dinner, what night is good for you?” or “You sleep and I will clean the kitchen, bathroom, floors, ect…” This is better than any baby present you could bring over. Trust me. 
2. Tell her she looks great for just having a baby. Having a baby changes your body and when you are sleep deprived and emotional with a squishy belly the last thing you might feel is stellar so hearing how good you are looking can be super nice to hear. And nothing is more beautiful than a new Mom holding her brand new baby.  
3. Give her a week or two than come by or bring her lunch. People are usually lining up to meet a newborn in the first week or two but after that people slowly stop coming by or checking up on you and it can feel lonely. Most  women are used to being around others while working or just being out in the world. When that newborn is here getting out of the house is can feel like you are packing for a weekend away. Offer to bring her lunch or some wine and a movie for a girls night in after a few weeks have passed. She may feel less tired, more bored and in need of real adult conversation.
4. Ask her how she’s really feeling. When you have a new baby it can feel overwhelming and not what you expect. Yes, you love this little ball of cuteness but you are also changing from being free to do whatever you want, whenever you want to being dependent on a little person who tells you when they need to eat and when you need to change them. They are demanding and new Moms can feel guilty talking about how they really feel. We all know they love their baby but sometimes you just want to say how much it sucks that you aren’t getting any sleep and your baby wants to be attached to your boobs 24/7. 
5. Be selfless. When you become a new Mom you all of a sudden have to become incredibly selfless and it takes a lot out of you. Your baby depends on you for everything and it can feel tiring always giving of yourself. Sometimes all a new Mom needs is someone to be that for them. Having a friend who is willing to give a little more of themselves at that time is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give. Trust me when you have a baby she will return the favor.

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Ace | Ashlyn | everly | life | parenting

10 Annoying Things my Kids do

By on September 17, 2014

Disclaimer: If you are a Mom than you know the struggle is real. Our kids will at some point do something to annoy us or just drive us nuts. I think it’s natures way of proving we have patience. And if you can’t read these with a hint of sarcasm move along. We don’t need any serious people here. 
1. Pull your hair, scratch, bite and pinch you.  Ashlyn is the queen of this. It’s not that she intentionally is trying to hurt me but when she pulls up on me she loves to pinch me or when she is trying to prevent herself from falling her nails find my skin and remove a little. She also uses my shoulder as a teething toy at times. And the hair pulling, I can’t!
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2. Not smiling in pictures. Or not looking at the camera or moving from where I sat you. Seriously, I just want one picture where you are looking at the camera and smiling. Just one, if you have multiple children in the picture this is even more of a nightmare and you will get blurred faces of at least 2 of them. They will also find a way to push the other one over, make someone cry (probably me) or hurt each other. 
3.Not sleeping through the night. Ok, I know not all babies sleep through the night or it takes them a really, really long time to get to that point but when you go from sleeping through the night to waking up every couple of hours to, ya know, just hang out with me, it’s not cool. Not cool at all, Everly!
4. Being cute when I want to sleep.  These are one of those moments where you are dead tired because of the prior and decides smiling and “talking” to you is way more fun at 5 a.m. I mean seriously, stop being so cute and GTFTS
5. Scream at me when I walk away from you. Look sometimes I have to go to the bathroom, change your sister’s diaper or make you a bottle. Crying and whining when I move 2 feet from you is not going to change that. I promise I will be right back as you have seen the other 9873 times you did this.
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6. When you have 3 kids this happens at the most obnoxious times. Mommy is cooking dinner, lets all cry and see who can be the loudest. We are waiting to check out at the store, perfect time to show how we are all in sync and whine because we are over being here. Can Mommy join in? 
7. Learning a new skill and keeping yourself awake. This is oh so fun. You learned to sit up or crawl? 1 a.m. is the perfect time to practice. How about pulling up to a standing position? 4 a.m. is perfect timing for that. And make sure to scream when you can’t figure out how to get down, Moms love that shit!
8. Not nap. Seriously, you are supposed to rock at napping. It’s like part of your skill set from birth when you sleep all day and party all night. Now you want to switch things up? Well, not you Everly but Ashlyn you rock sleeping at night but naps you refuse? Come on girl, get it together! 
9. Spit food. I get it, blowing raspberries is the cool new thing and awesome until you spit food in my face. Ok, I see you don’t think it’s a problem by that smile on your face (which would really come in handy when I try to take a picture) but now I’m gross and you’re still cute and this is why I look like I’ve been run over by the end of the day. 
10. Eat stuff you aren’t supposed to.  This is what I imagine runs through your head…See that board book over there? It definitely needs a bite taken out of it. Oh, my brother got a new toy? Definitely finding a way to eat that. Mommy’s phone tastes amazing! Her all time favorite? Wipes (new ones of course)! 
No, just no!
Ok, I am done, cue Mommy guilt. I’m pretty sure I am going to have to follow this up by 100 awesome things my kids do to redeem myself. 

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advice | life | parenting

10 Things I Want My Children to Know

By on September 10, 2014

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As a parent to three little children I always think of things I want to teach them.
I envision their future of having amazing friends, a great love and beautiful children. I know there will be heartache, broken hearts, pain and disappointment but I hope that with all those things they learn that there is so much we can learn from life.
My parents were really good about teaching me that there is disappointment in life or your friends will hurt you and make mistakes but there is also an even bigger part of life that is rewarding and amazing.
So here are my top 10 things I want my children to know.

1. You are beautiful inside and out. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are less than them.

2. If someone puts you down and tries to belittle you that is emotional abuse, it’s not okay. 

3. If you get a bad feeling about someone it’s ok to walk away or run as fast as you can. You don’t always have to be polite if you are uncomfortable (thank you Christel for teaching me this).

4. You don’t owe anyone anything. Never let someone manipulate you into doing something for them. 

5. Be happy with yourself first, no one will ever be able to make you happy unless you are happy with yourself first.

6. Be ok being alone. Learn to be comfortable with having time to yourself, cherish it.

7. Don’t ever give up. You might fall at times but if you keep going you will get accomplish that goal!

8. I will love you forever. No matter what you do in life I will always love you. You will never truly know this love until you have your own children and I know you will think at times I am too hard on you but it will always be out of love. 

9. Know what you want. People respect those who know what they want out of life. 

10. Say what you mean and mean what you say. This is so important. If you want people to respect you than do this. People will appreciate you being consistent and dependable and if you always do as you say than people will know they can count on you.
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life | parenting

Surviving a Restaurant with 3 under 3!

By on July 14, 2014

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more frequent updates and pictures! 
When you having three children going out to eat can be a somewhat terrifying mission.  We are officially out numbered and two of those children are babies making their need for us all consuming at times. 

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Ashlyn’s outfit: Southern Tots, Headband: Similar
Ace’s Shirt: The Printed Palette, Shorts: U.S. Polo

Branden and I have only taken the kids out to eat with family, never just us and them. We attempted it on Father’s day but with the wait we said screw it and went to lunch later with my family. We all took turns holding a baby or entertaining Ace. It worked out but the thought of doing that alone made me feel more than overwhelmed. 
This morning, though, I said “let’s go to Crackle Barrel!”
Bran has been wanting to go ever since Father’s day so I figured since it wasn’t Sunday it wouldn’t be too busy. We got there and it was only a 15 minute wait. Score!

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Everly’s Romper: Southern Tots
Headband: Similar

We got in, Everly had her bottle and passed out and we were set. Ashlyn loves feeding herself so we got biscuits to start and she chomped on those. Ace was overall really well behaved with only some minor reprimands. 
I seriously felt like we were finally coming out of that crazy fog of constant crying and whining for attention. Sure, it’s not always constant but when you go out and they all need your attention that is exactly how it feels. 
I will say I knew it would be hard having 3 children under the age of 3 but I think you can never quite get it till you are there. I knew the first 3 months after Everly came it was going to be somewhat of a nightmare and if we could just get through that we would be ok and I definitely see that happening. Everly though had a lot more issues than Ace and Ashlyn as a newborn so that made it even more difficult but now she is a happy little baby and Ashlyn is such a sweet girl that they just make life so much more incredible. Ace is the cutest big brother to them too.
I think we are finally getting this parenting of three down! 

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infographic | parenting

Single Mom? You Mean Super Mom!

By on July 6, 2013
As a Mom I know it can be very difficult to get everything done in one day. I fortunately have my husband to help me with our son and things around the house to make my job a little easier.
I have so much respect for single Mothers out there because their jobs as Mothers isn’t always an easy one. They do the “job” of two parents and that takes strength and grace.
Here is an awesome info graphic giving us a real look into how much goes into the daily life of a single Mom.
Marathon Mom

Source: Careteen

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guest posting | parenting

Guest Post: Parents Say the Darndest Things!

By on December 17, 2012

There’s some things you expect to tell your kids:  Be nice, don’t hit, use your inside voice.  But there are other things that you find yourself saying as a parent that you never dreamed would come out of your mouth.

The list below are 30 things my friends and I never expected to say to our kids…but we did.

Don’t lick your brother.
Don’t pet the spiders.  They bite.
Don’t hang off the bunk bed by your feet!
Don’t hide apple cores under your mattress!
Don’t pee in the lego box…EVER!
We don’t kiss the computer screen–even if there are cute puppies on it.
We don’t lick spilled milk off the floor!
We don’t eat electricity.
We don’t chew on sandpaper.
No, we can’t have cake for dinner.
No, you can’t ride the dogs.
No, you may not go on the roof!
No, you can’t slide down the fire tower railing!
No, we can’t swing from the balcony
No, you can’t hang a rope off the ceiling fan and swing from it.
Get off the refrigerator!
No feet on the toilet!
Food in the trash stays in the trash! 
Yes, that does make a circle…but don’t bite me again.
Take my bra off your head…that’s not a toy.
The toilet plunger is not a gun.  Put it back.
The kitchen knives are not pirate swords!
Lollypops are not for sharing.
My shirt is not a kleenex!
Toy planes can’t really fly.  If you throw them off the balcony, they break.
I’m sorry, I can’t kiss the boo-boo on your tongue.  Maybe a hug will do?
If you climb up the walls, you get to clean the footprints off.
You have to stop digging there–you’re exposing the foundation of our house.
Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato need to go back in the fridge now.
What do you mean you have gone to school all week without underwear!?

So, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to say to your children?

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