}

Friday, June 15, 2018

Dining Room Makeover | Devine Color Removable Wallpaper

We have slowly been updating our house since we moved in two years ago and one of of our main rooms has finally gotten close to being completely "done". Although I don't think anything will ever be "done" to my standards, because I'm always rearranging and changing my mind on things, or redecorating. So things are always a work in progress over here, but I think our dining room is alllllmost to that sweet spot for me. 


Our dining room first looked like this...

We painted it a few months ago, when we updated our office (post still to be made about that space) the same color we've done almost our entire house: Sherwin Williams- Agreeable Gray. My handyman of a husband made me a shiplap chair rail along the back wall of the dining room, and it stayed in it's bare wood state for a few weeks. We had it done just in time for Weston's camping themed birthday party, so we kept it wood for that. 

I finally got around to painting it white, and while it looked great the way it was...I just felt like the wall still needed something! I was searching for chair cushions for our chairs so the girls sat a little bit higher at the table, and found the cutest buffalo check ones at Target. They ended up not working out due to them NOT being machine washable (as I thought they were), but really really loved the buffalo check print in that space. So I came across removable wallpaper online at Target, and was like OH MY GOSH, YES, YES YES YES YES!!!!!, but it was sold out. And it was sold out for a long time! So I waited. And I waited. And finally got that beautiful email from Target saying it was back in stock....and quickly ordered those babies up!

One morning while Weston was eating breakfast, I decided to tackle this project. I figured it would be easy and quick...and it was just that!!! Other than our two light fixtures on the wall that I had to work around it was so darn easy to apply to the wall! I used the Devine Color Buffalo Check removable wallpaper in black. 

I ordered an extra roll than what I thought I needed, just in case I ran out...but it took me 3 entire rolls to cover this wall. Other than lining the seems up on each panel, it was so easy and took less than an hour to complete...and that was with a baby hanging around and slowing me down. I can't even get over how much of a difference it made and it was the perfect accent to complete the wall. 










Friday, June 8, 2018

Momma Lessons | Kindergarten

Via Pinterest

I remember when Kinsley was born, and as new mom you think of certain milestones you'll one day face with your child: first time walking, saying "momma", going to school for the first time, graduating high school, their wedding day, etc.. I remember these milestones feeling like millions of years away, but somehow I blinked and my little baby, Kinsley, has already finished her first year of school. Kindergarten! I was worried sick about her starting kindergarten. She was still 4 years old at the start of the school year, thanks to a birthday in late August and only a few days short of the age deadline. So she was a baby in her class, and will always be the baby in her class. I worried about her not being "ready" or not knowing how to write well enough, or not fitting in because she was so much smaller than everyone. Literally, I was worried sick for weeks leading up to the start of the school year! But when the first day of school came, and I saw how excited Kinsley was to go to school, I took my first big step as a mom and let her spread her wings and fly.  

She soared higher than I could have ever imagined. She went from barely able to write her name correctly to writing her first and last name like a pro. She went from knowing NONE of her sight words and being able to read books on her own, to leaving Kindergarten reading on a level 16 and reading chapter books like it's nothing! She loved school, loved all her friends, always came home happy and eager to show us her work and tell us all about her day. Her teacher was the absolute BEST! Like, I don't think anyone else could have had a better teacher than she did. If I could somehow keep Kinsley in her class for the rest of her life, I would! I mean, she had a special Mother's Day Luau for all the moms and even made a 30 minute slideshow video! (Which of course, makes me cry every time I see it). She was the BEST! Kinsley made a best friend. She had a few "boyfriends", but it changed a few times throughout the year. She colored better than I did and is quite possibly smarter than I am!

When I was little, and I still struggle with this to this day, I hated change. I hated being away from what was familiar to me, so I dreaded school. I developed anxiety and would literally have a nervous breakdown every single Sunday night before school. I would worry about the most ridiculous things like who would I talk to, or what if nobody liked me, or what if a teacher called on me and I didn't know the answer to the question. It was bad, and my mom can vouch for me that Sunday nights were the worst for me. I knew when my kids grew up and started school and having activities and having to navigate through change, I didn't want them to ever feel as anxious as I did about things. So in a way, this year helped me grow some, too. I learned how to set aside my own personal feelings and struggles, and not pass it onto my child. I taught her to be brave, to try her hardest, to be kind to people, to share, to be a good friend, to listen to her teacher, to never be sad about going to school, to make school fun to her, and it all paid off. I could not be prouder of her and all the things she accomplished this year. How much she has learned, how much she has grown, how smart she has become, and how much she loves to learn and loves going to school.

And now we are getting into a grove of being together again for the summer. I'm afraid I'll have to go through all my emotional fears of change when summer is over and 1st grade is knocking on our door, but I know I'll spend all summer long getting her excited for 1st grade and how much fun she is going to have. Even if on the inside it's killing me a little. Knowing that she's growing up, and every summer from here on out will always fill my heart with this emotional fear I just can't ever get rid of: that it's one summer closer to her leaving our nest for good. So while my mommy heart aches knowing these days and summers with her are numbered, I am soaking in every single minute of it that I can!

First Day of School




Last Day of School






Monday, May 28, 2018

Favorites | Cleaning Products & Cleaning Routine

I am back with a favorites post of all my favorite cleaning products & cleaning items that help keep my house as tidy as can be...with three kids....and an endless supply of what feels like a million toys. One of my favorite/not-so-favorite things to do is clean my house. I love the satisfaction of having a clean house, knowing every inch of it is cleaned and smells good, but let's be honest...who actually loves to clean! Not me! I'd much rather spend my time doing things with my kids, or watching a show on Netflix, or going outside to play...but I also have a house to tend to. 

I found myself obsessing over my house being clean. Like, the amount of stress and anxiety I found myself having on a daily basis was out of control, and I realized a lot of it was fueled by the fact my house was not perfectly clean. I would spend 30 minutes here, and 30 minutes there cleaning bathrooms or dusting or cleaning all the windows, to turn around and find fingerprints all over our sliding glass doors, or soap smeared all over the bathroom counter, or food stained all over my freshly washed white couch slipcovers. My expectations were way too high, and I let it affect me more than I'd care to admit. I'd see all these perfectly clean houses on Instagram or Pinterest, or read blog posts about having a perfectly organized playroom, and while I attempted to achieve this type of "perfection" in social medias eyes, I would always find myself coming up short. And then I would feel this rush of anxiety come over me because why didn't I have this type of perfectly kept up house. It's a vicious cycle, right? But one day, I had this epiphany that kind of changed my whole outlook on my house, and the cleanliness of it. If my kids are happy, and they feel happy in our house and that this is their home to make their own as well, then the fingerprints and dirty couches add to the experience. It is a representation of this season of life for us with three young kids. The days I will one day look back and miss. "Oh, I miss having all those finger prints all over my windows", and "I miss watching them curl up on the couch and eat chocolate chip cookies while watching a movie". So while yes, I do still stress from time to time about not having a perfectly clean Instagram worthy house, I've learned to let it go. And have since developed a routine that works for me, and doesn't leave me feeling overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning I need to do in a day. I've started breaking it up day by day into smaller, manageable tasks, that only require 10-15 minutes a day to do. I used to dread having to tackle my entire house in one day, but if you break it up day by day...it isn't so overwhelming and you kind of learn a routine and it becomes 2nd nature. 

So, if you're still reading this, thanks! I swear I'm done with my rant and will get on with my cleaning talk :) My cleaning routine is pretty simple, and covers the basics of housework for a week.  Also, as far as my favorite products are concerned, I like to try new things, new scents, and was a sucker for anything new being prominently displayed at Target. It drew me in, and I fell for it every time. In the last year, I've done a lot of research on cleaning products, and how a lot of them are filled with a lot of harmful products. I won't go into too much detail because ya know, whatever floats your boat, but for me I prefer the most natural and safe products. Especially because my son will put anything and everything in his mouth, and may or may not lick the floors. If you are interested in checking your cleaning products you have to see if they are harmful or not, I recommend downloading the 'Think Dirty' app on your phone, and you'll be amazed at what you find out!

Daily
Every day I usually will do these tasks. I am human though, and don't always get around to them daily, but more than likely I do them everyday. 
Unload Dishwasher
Make Up Beds
- Our bed
-The girls beds
Load of Laundry
- From start to finish; wash, dry, fold, put away
- As a family of 5, it builds up quickly between clothes, towels, bedding, etc..
Here are some of my favorite laundry products. I've ditched fabric softener all together and use wool dryers balls in its place. Oxi-clean is my go-to for getting stains out and whitening up towels or our white couch covers.

Clean Up Kitchen/Dining Room At Night
- wipe down kitchen counters
- wipe down dining table
- sweep/vacuum/spot clean floors
- load & run dishwasher
Vacuum Family Room
- rugs & tile
(Our son is notorious for spilling food EVERYWHERE so daily vacuuming is needed around here)

Weekly
Again, I am human and sometimes I don't always do these every single week. I get lazy, and would rather sit and watch a tv show than get up and clean my bathroom. And I've learned that THAT IS OK! Cleaning can always wait...

Monday
BATHROOMS


I give myself 10-15 minutes to clean both of our bathrooms. I wipe down the mirrors, clean the counters and sink, clean the toilets, scrub the toilet bowl, and wipe down the showers/baths. Once you get into a routine of it, it really doesn't take much time at all. I use the Seventh Generation Disinfecting Spray to clean our counters and toilets. I like to use microfiber cloths to wipe everything down as I think they do a great job collecting dust, dirt and hair without spreading it all over the counters. I use the Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner as it is really natural and doesn't have a lot of harsh chemicals or fragrance to it. For my mirrors, I've been using my own solution of vinegar and water, with some essential oils mixed in for a scent. I use these spray bottles to make the solution in you can get from the Dollar Tree.


Tuesday
DUSTING


I set my timer for 15 minutes, play some music and work as fast as I can. I don't use any dusting sprays and only use a microfiber dusting wand with essential oils. I put a few drops of essential oil onto the wand itself (I like to use tangerine or orange), and then wipe everything down. I work from the top of each room and work my way down. So for instance, I'd start at the highest part of a piece of furniture, and work my way towards the floor to keep all the dirt and dust away from the parts I've already cleaned. 
one | two

Wednesday & Thursday


VACUUMING
I vacuum the entire house, even the areas I already do on a daily basis. Sometimes I'll use my vacuum attachments and vacuum the baseboards while I'm already at it if they are especially dirty. I can't say enough about my vacuum and it is worth every single penny the thing costs! Going cordless changed my life and has helped make our every day lives a little easier!

MOPPING
I alternate between my steam mop and my spin mop, but any type of mopping/floor cleaning system you particularly like will do. I mop our entire house, and it usually takes me less than 30 minutes. This was probably the hardest weekly task I had to learn because it's my least favorite thing to do. But with three kids, our floors get dirty very easily and very quickly, so at this season of life for us it's needed weekly. 

Friday
GROCERY LIST/CATCH-UP DAY
If I didn't do one of my other tasks yet, I'll do them on Friday, or enjoy a day to just catch-up on things. Once I finish working for the day, I'll work on a grocery list and place a pick-up order for one day over the weekend. I'll go through mail, put away school papers and just deal with the odd and ends that have accumulated in our house throughout the week that I just didn't get around to taking care of yet. 

It may seem like a lot at first, but I swear once you get into a routine of doing these things it becomes 2nd nature and goes pretty quickly. And you have an entire weekend to just spend with your family, not wasting precious family time with cleaning and worrying about having a dirty house. For me, it gives me the freedom to just breathe and relax for two days with my kids. It has changed my entire way of thinking when it comes to cleaning....breaking it up into small daily tasks that don't take too long throughout the week, and you are left with much more time and less stress worrying about having to do it all in one day. I used to be a "do it all in one day" type of cleaner, and I would spend hours cleaning and wearing myself out, to then get mad at my kids for making a mess after having just spent ALL that time cleaning! Once I changed my way of cleaning and thinking, it was a game changer! I hope you all enjoyed this post and got some ideas to try around your house!






Thursday, April 26, 2018

32

Yesterday I turned 32! I still feel like I'm 15 years old (and yes, I do still look like a 15 year old), so it's hard to think that I'm 32...married, with three kids, and own my own house. Crazy how time flies by and before you know it, you're grown up with all these things you dreamed of having as a 15 year old. I'm not a big birthday celebrator (for myself), so I don't really do much or want much on my birthday. But I did have one request- I wanted to go to the beach. 

After we picked Kinsley up from school, we grabbed some Firehouse subs, drove out to Playalinda Beach in Titusville, FL, and had dinner on the beach. It was actually Weston's first trip to the beach, and he LOVED all the sand. The girls were in heaven and Kinsley kept saying "this is the BEST birthday ever, mommy!". I will say that watching all my kids smiling and laughing and playing was the best present I could have ever gotten.










Kyle got me a makeshift present: a toy minivan with Wonder Woman on it. Because 1. I'm getting a new car soon (and yes...I'm caving into the mini van life) and 2. he thinks I'm Wonder Woman, for running the three ring circus solo 90% of the time while he's off doing basketball things. I thought it was so sweet and very thoughtful, and the girls love playing with that little car. 

I also wanted 1 more thing for my birthday and that was to make a video of my afternoon and night, to always remember how special this day was for me. So if you'd like to see the video head on over to my YouTube channel! There's lots of more videos to watch as well :)



Sunday, April 8, 2018

Welcome To Camp Weston | First Birthday Party

Whew! What a day! We celebrated Weston's first birthday with the most adorable camp theme party. From the day I found out I was having a boy, I had his birthday party already planned out in my head. Yes, I'm weird and think that far ahead to birthday parties for my kids. I absolutely love doing parties, and just can't do anything simple. Fortunately, Weston's room has a lot of camping/woodsy themed items so I just pulled out everything from his room and threw together his party. And that's how Camp Weston was formed!

Decorations
 Our dining room was the main focal point of the party. Kyle started our shiplap chair rail in this room, and decided to leave it the natural wood for the party, to tie in with the party (funny how that all worked out ;)). I am painting it white soon, but it really did make a good feature wall for the decorations. My Aunt let us borrow some vintage thermoses and coolers for the party, which I secretly want to keep because they are so awesome and were perfect decorations! I used a bear head, a pallet "W" from Weston's room and my letter board to complete the mantel of our fireplace, and added some pinecones, garlands and greenery to complete the look. The fabric garland I made using different fabrics I purchased at Hobby Lobby, and just tied it in knots around a piece of yarn. Weston's high chair banner I made, too, using the same fabric and adding burlap to make the "one" pendants. The white star balloons Kyle found at the Dollar Tree. The teepee and pretend camp fire were things we already had, and I just brought out to use for the party. I swear, I looked at this room a million times and just thought  man this is so cool! Our bar cart in the dining room was used for some of our "campfire treats". Weston's smash cake was the main focal point, and then I used berry cups to hold the ingredients to make a s'more, and kraft paper cups to put our wild berries in. Our centerpiece on the table was the big cake my mom made, which was the cutest thing EVER, and a jar of trail mix.  I printed out all his monthly pictures I took, and used an old window to tape them and display them. It made me think of a camp bulletin board, but showing off my pretty baby boy :)









Food
We went with BBQ themed menu: Campfire hot dogs with different fixings (ketchup, mustard, chili, onions, relish, cheese), backwoods beans, corn on the cob, macaroni salad and chips. Then we had our desserts: cake, s'mores, fruit and trail mix.  Nothing too crazy, but was oh so yummy.  We had our food set-up in our kitchen and I painted (a not very good picture) the invitation picture on a piece of poster board as decoration. I made another fabric garland to hang on the table, and to cover all my kitchen items on the bottom shelf, used Christmas trees I kept out from our Christmas decorations and used pine cones as food label holders. I found so many cute galvanized buckets at Hobby Lobby that were perfect for different food items to use, I just lined them with parchment paper to protect the buckets. 

Also, I have to mention that my mom makes all of my kids cakes. Not only do they taste delicious, but they always turn out absolutely adorable. She hand made every single piece and time on them, and my other Aunt sent her acorns and nuts from Maryland to adorn the bottom of each cake. The fire in each campfire, she made. All the rocks and logs, she made from either fondant or fondant covered pretzels. The little marshmallows that are roasting in the campfires...yea, she made those, too! I swear, she is amazing and I don't know what I'm going to do if she ever retires from making my cakes. 



The Birthday Boy
So who knew getting a 1 year old to stay still long enough to get a picture of his shirt was so hard? I made us all Camp Weston t-shirts and Weston's had "One Happy Camper" on his. I used shirts from Hobby Lobby and just printed the image onto iron-on paper. A cute, cheap way to have customized shirts for a special day. Weston was living his best life at his party. From the beans and corn (baked beans might be his favorite food of all time), to all the fruit, and then the birthday cake....he was the happiest kid around! He wasn't too interested in his presents, which he got so many cute new things, but enjoyed watching his sisters open everything for him. But he was rocking his new J's that Kyle got him, and I think it made Kyle happier than a kid in a candy store! 







The Birthday Cake
Weston loved having everyone sing him Happy Birthday, and he clapped and smiled and waved his chocolatey hands all over the place while eating his cake. He was a MESS! None of the girls ever got that messy, but I had a feeling our monster child would tear into his cake like no tomorrow. And he didn't disappoint. He immediately went into the sink for a bath, and was cracking everyone up standing up and peaking over the bar into the family room saying "dada dada dada dada!" and "papa papa papa papa". 



He had the best birthday party and not the bash on ANY of my girls parties, but I kinda loved doing something for a boy for once! It was perfect and better than I had ever dreamed it would be. 

To recap his actual birthday real quick, we decided to give him his big present on his actual birthday and not wait till the party. We got him a new truck to ride in let him test it out first thing that morning. After I got done working, and he woke up from his nap, we took him to the park in his big boy truck, out to dinner for pizza and made one last stop for frozen yogurt at our favorite spot in town. It was the perfect way to spend the day with our little man that we love so darn much.