Friday, January 30, 2015

Love Your Home 14 Day Challenge

If you've been reading my blog for a while you know that I am slightly OCD and very Type A when it comes to keeping my home clean and organized. I wrote about that here. Well, I have to admit that even a cleanoholic falls off the wagon every now and then. I am in desperate need of a little reboot to get things back to their neat and orderly appearances that I crave in order to function!

Need some help falling back in love with your home? Join me, starting January 31st (so we're done by Valentine's Day) on a two week de-clutter challenge that will have you head over heels in love with your house by Valentine's Day! I created a free printable checklist to get you motivated:

Print your own copy here and put it on your fridge or in your planner so you can follow along for the next two weeks. If it seems overwhelming or you think you have too much house to tackle in just two weeks, no sweat! I'll post daily reminders and specific to-do lists on my Instagram account. This is a quick de-clutter to get you back on track and loving your home. Nothing you can't handle, I promise! Track your progress and share your pictures too using the hashtag "loveyourhome14" and you might just win a neat prize!

Gather up your cleaning supplies and get ready to work! The best part is that your whole house/apartment/dorm/living quarters will be comfy, cozy and clutter free in time for you to go on a hot date on the 14th! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Donut Miss The Party |part 2|

Thanks a "latte" for stopping by today! I have a "hole" bunch more pictures for you from Mason's donut party a few weekends ago. If you missed out on Part I you can see it here. Party throwing is kinda my thing. It's my creative outlet. I love a good theme but I also love doing it on a budget...which means that most of my parties require a lot of DIYing! Right up my alley!

Addie and I used felt, embroidery thread and stuffing to make a dozen play donuts for the donut shoppe. The kids had a great time serving up their customers' orders. Zero calories, tons of fun, and they can be used over and over again during playtime. 

Winter birthdays are tough in New England! Unless you rent out a facility you're pretty much stuck hosting your guests indoors. To keep the little ones entertained I turned this cardboard market stand from Ikea into a donut shoppe with a little paint and poster board to coordinate with the blue and orange color scheme.

And of course we served up donuts. . . l o t s  o f  d o n u t s. Little man took a bite or two out of just about every kind we had. He pretty much ended up in a sugar induced coma by that afternoon!

It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that my sweet little boy is now a two year old! I "donut" know where the time went. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Donut Miss The Party |part 1|

We celebrated Mason's second birthday with a donut themed celebration last weekend.  Last week I shared the super easy to make naked cake I made for the party. I'm excited to share the rest of the details with you this week! 

 sources: |Paper Dishes HomeGoods| |Donuts S&S|

 sources: |No. 2 DIY| |Straws Target| | |Donut Garland Oh Happy Day|

sources: |Bags Michaels| |Stickers DIY| 

sources: |Baking Cups HomeGoods| |Flags DIY| 

source: |Coffee Cup Favors DIY|

source: |Donut Shoppe Sign Confetti Sunshine|

Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate our little man's big day!

Update: See Part II here!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shoe La La

I love fashion, accessories and footwear as much as the next gal, but with an adventurous little two year old boy by my side I have to be practical when shopping for new shoes. I can rock the high heels at work or for date night, but when it's an afternoon or weekend spent with the kids I need to be able to run, skip, hop and keep up with the little man!

A comfy, but cute, pair of sneaks are perfect year round and look cute with jeans, shorts or skirts. Black and gold flats in case I need to dress up for an event that the kids are tagging along with me for. Classy with a pair of black slacks, but don't hinder my ability to chase down a kid or two.

Boy-mom approved kicks

Rain boots and warm fuzzy boots are must for fall and winter. They keep my toesies warm and puddle jumping is a must on rainy days! Finally, my favorite season calls for flip flops. I can carry beach bags, sand toys, towels and snacks without losing my balance and then kick them off in the sand. Aaaahh! Is it summer yet? What are your favorite pairs of shoes to wear? For sources, click below!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Baking in the Nude

I bet that caught your attention! Relax, this post is Rated G! 
I prefer to keep my clothes on while baking (though that's not always the case for my children). We're talking about naked cakes. It's the latest trend for weddings and showers and I'm loving it!

I used to spend a lot of time and effort baking and decorating elaborate cakes for Addison's birthday parties. Then I had a second child. And this working mama of two "ain't got time for that!" So when trying to decide on whether to buy a cake or bake a cake at home for Mason's party this past weekend I went with what I thought would be the most cost effective and time efficient choice: the naked tower cake. 

I went the boxed cake and canned frosting route (no shame, mamas, there is no shame!) to cut down on cost. I skipped fancy decorating and literally just plopped a few layers of cake together in little time. It was so easy, my 4 year old could do it. Boom. 


+ + + What you need  + + + 

2 boxed cake mixes (I went the funfetti route)
1 can of frosting
6 inch round baking pans

+ + + What you do + + +

Follow the directions on the box to bake your cake** 
After the cakes have cooled completely wrap and put in fridge overnight
On morning of your party or big event use a large knife to cut the crowns off
Plop a dollop of frosting on a cake plate and spread (this is to hold the cake in place)
Stack cakes, adding a layer of frosting in between each one
If you're feeling fancy top it off with a flower, candle or other cake topper
Eat. Enjoy. 

**I used about a batch and a half to make the 5 tier cake. Any leftover batter I didn't eat I used in my cake pop maker. 

I'll be sharing more pics from Mason's party on a featured post later on next week but if you want some sneak peeks check out #donutmisstheparty on Instagram

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Birthday Note to My Sweet Little Boy

Last night you went to bed a one year old, still my baby boy. Today you woke up two years old, all cute and handsome with your new big boy haircut! There is something about turning two that has your mama all sappy and teary-eyed. Turning one was easy. Turning two is different.

This past year you've really taught me what it means to be a boy-mom. Because of you I have a new found love for trucks and dirt bikes and race cars and tractors. Because of you I don't mind getting a little dirty, wrestling in the grass, or driving your cars endlessly around the house making "vroooooom" noises. I love building towers and playing in your tent, going on bear hunts and playing with your tools. I love our morning snuggles and weekend walks. I love your hugs and your smooches; Oh how I love those smooches!

I see so much of your daddy in you. Not just in the way you look, but in the way you act. Always a gentleman, a lover of all things with an engine, and always so caring and aware of others around you...especially when it comes to me and your sister (your girls!). Your sense of adventure and curiosity will carry you far in life. Your kind heart and gentle touch will one day melt hearts other than mine. 

My sweet boy, I love that I was chosen to be your mama. I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be than right here in this life with you, your sister and your daddy. I love you Mason. Always + forever, Mommy.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Books to Read in 2015

Before kids I could power through 1 to 2 books a week! Nowadays, though, the majority of the books I am reading involve cutesy characters, fairy tale endings or require truck and car noises as I read them. Last year I made a greater effort to carve time out of each week for me to read. Lately, I've really been drawn to books that relate to where I am in my life right now: a working mama raising two kiddos with my partner in crime by my side. I still try and sneak in a good novel every now and then but I would highly recommend these books to you to read in 2015:

1. Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover: Total game changer. Sean and I both read this last summer and after just a few short months we completely changed the way we budgeted our money and were able to pay of thousands of dollars in debt. More about our journey on becoming financially fit to come here on the blog this year!

2. I first read Jessica Alba's The Honest Life a few years ago while I was pregnant with Mase. I mostly like it because she writes about how you can make your home chemical free without making you feel like a jerk or asking you to blow your budget.

3. This is next on my list of books to read, Strong Mothers, Strong Sons from Dr. Meg Meeker! I joke with my husband that I get to mold and shape Mason from day one...whereas with Sean I had 22 years of damage to undo and reteach!

4. Released less than a week ago, Lara Casey's Make it Happen feels like it was written j u s t  f o r  m e. If you're a busy mama with too much to do and not enough time to do it in, this book is for you. It is all about giving up on this idea of "perfection" and enjoying what is right in front of us instead. Right up my alley!

5. Recommended by my hubby I cannot wait to read this book by Dr. Meg Meeker.

6.  Another one by the same author above, is written specifically for you daddy's out there! If you have a daughter it is a must read! I recently purchased it to give to Sean as part of his birthday gift!

7. Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze team up for Smart Money Smart Kids. Sean and I both read this in about one sitting. Another financial game changer in that it helped us develop ways to teach Addison about money. More about this experience and what we've learned coming to the blog as well! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Kid Friendly Campfire

Mason got the coolest little teepee from my parents as a combo Christmas and birthday present. It is from Land of Nod and has quickly become a favorite play spot for both of my little loves. My mom was lucky enough to order it during one of their holiday sales so she scored it for a lot less than the listed price + free shipping. It is made of a really strong canvas material and heavy duty wooden poles, nothing chintzy about it at all and definitely worth what you pay for! I already know this is going to last forever!

Of course, it is only fitting to have a campfire to accompany your tent! Land of Nod has a coordinating campfire but I wasn't willing to spend $69 + shipping in the aftermath of the holidays. So I made one instead, for a whopping total of $1.06! Yes, one dollar and six cents!

Here's what I used:

red, orange + yellow tissue paper left over from the holidays
toilet paper, paper towel and wrapping paper rolls
battery operated candle (this could bring your total cost up a few bucks if you don't have one)
1 roll faux wood contact paper ($1.06 at the dollar store!)
hair tie 

Using the contact paper I created assorted sizes of "logs" by wrapping it around toilet paper, paper towel and gift wrap rolls. I had some leftover so I also covered a few smoothie straws I had in the pantry to make roasting sticks and used cotton balls as marshmallows! I alternated the tissue paper and wrapped it around the battery operated candle, using a hair tie to secure it around the base (a rubber band would work too...I was just too lazy to get up and find one!). Turn on the candle and voila, you have a glowing campfire!

I'm all for saving money and making things on our own when we can. What are your tips and tricks for saving money when it comes to making playtime fun? 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ready for 2015!

Last year my new year resolutions were to slow down, simplify, dream big and enjoy. The past few years had been chaotic and stressful. Most of the time I felt cranky (my husband probably used another word to describe me!) and unmotivated. Part of this was symptomatic of baby raising sleep deprivation. . .but most of it was just me being in a funk. I had lost my mojo. So I needed to slow life down a bit and really enjoy the day to day craziness that is my life with two little loves and a super goofy husband. 

After a long heart to heart with each other at the end of last year, Sean and I also agreed that we were going to make 2014 our best year yet. And boy did we ever! We cleared our house of clutter, buckled down on our finances, made our health a priority, went back to church, focused on our children and most importantly, on each other. 

In 2014 we learned a lot about ourselves and our relationship, paid off thousands of dollars in debt, made some changes to our schedule (Sean stays home with the kiddos on Fridays now!), connected through faith, worked out more and ate healthier foods, and simplified our house and home so that we could focus more on what matters: our family. Don't get me wrong, we had our fair share of ups and downs. We still argued and rolled our eyes, I've yelled at my kids, I've stuffed my face with Doritos and ice cream (not at the same time...though I woudn't judge anyone who did!), skipped workouts and let the clutter pile back up. That's life. That's normal. 

The difference is that I didn't let those little setbacks pull me down completely. I didn't let a messy house, a humongous pile of laundry, cranky kids, a husband working overtime, an unexpected late night at work, a missed workout, or a really bad indulgence in not so healthy food change my attitude. By letting go of this idea that I had to be the perfect working mom and wife I became a better working mom and wife. In 2014 I truly did keep calm and mommy on!

So, this year our resolution is to maintain everything we've worked so hard for this past year. This is the year we stay fit and clean in 2015! And not just physically fit. I want to be emotionally fit, mentally fit, financially fit and faithfully fit. Staying clean means keeping the clutter out of our home. Physical clutter sure, like useless things we don't use or need. But more importantly, the emotional clutter (i.e. drama) that drowns us as a family is so not welcome in 2015.  

Who knows, 2015 might just become our best year yet! 

Wishing you and your family all the best for a healthy and blessed new year. Happy New  Year!