Where has the time gone? I think I blinked and April is halfway over! Before we know it our kids will be on summer break! But, lets not skip ahead…I’m so excited for Easter this year! We have some fun activities planned with our church and with family. I feel like this year my kiddos are really understanding the meaning of Easter! (of course they are looking forward to the bunny too!) Although Easter is coming quickly, there is still time to plan some easy Easter fun with your family!
One of our favorite things to do every year is the Easter Egg-Citement event at Eckert’s Farm! An Easter egg hunt, meet and greet with the Easter Bunny and other activities…my favorite is holding the bunnies, chicks, and ducks! You can buy tickets ahead of time on their website!
A new tradition that we are starting this year is the resurrection eggs! This is a pre-packaged set of Easter eggs each filled with a religious figurine that helps tell the story of Jesus. There are a few sets on amazon, but if you have a local christian book store you could probably pick up a set there!
I strongly believe that making memories doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive, simple activities like coloring together can be just as fun! I love creating these holiday themed coloring pages for my kids and you all to enjoy! Print as many as you like and share with friends, family, Sunday school classes, and anyone else that likes to color!
Since our wedding anniversary is in January and we do gifts for that, we usually go more simple for Valentine’s day. We used to go out for dinner, but ever since we had kids (and it was near impossible to go to a restaurant!) it has kind of become our tradition to get a heart shaped pizza for dinner (so I don’t have to cook!) and watch a redbox movie at home, and I love it!
I wanted a couple fun and simple things to do for Valentine’s day so I created a new coloring page! These would be a fun craft at class parties, or just to spend some time together after dinner.
Also an “i love you because…” page. I created these 4 to a page and they are the perfect size to stick in your kiddo’s (or anyone else’s) lunch box, or it would be totally cute to make a bunch and put them on their door when they wake up on Valentine’s day. I also wanted them to be big enough for kiddos to use for other family members, even the ones that can’t write yet have enough room to draw a picture!
So…this mom started online school! WHAT??? I never in a million years thought I would go back to school! After high school I went to community college for 1 semester (I didn’t even finish that semester!) and I quit because I decided I wanted to go to cosmetology school. I worked as a hair stylist full time until I had the kids and then part time for a while after. My plan was always to go back to work when the kids went to school, but when the time came that just wasn’t something I wanted to do anymore.
When the kiddos were about two I started a little side business. I love being creative and I needed that to keep my sanity. It started out with my embroidery machine making personalized onesies, and then when vinyl tees became more popular i sold my emboidery machine and switched to vinyl. Then, the business progressed to screen printing shirts. I also did some sewing adventures Here and there too!
I have loved being able to stay home, be crafty, and also bring in some money. As the kids are getting older I have been thinking more about what kind of career I would like to have when they are grown and out of the house.
Why Graphic Design?
My interest in graphic design started about a year ago when I started trying to create my own T-shirt designs. YouTube was my BFF trying to learn all of the adobe programs. Finally, Jesse mentioned getting a certification. (This guy! He has always been so supportive with all of my crazy ideas….even when I called him from a convention in Texas asking him if I could buy a bigger embroidery machine that was thousands of dollars!)
So, with a lot of research I found some online programs to get a graphic design certification and I started about a month ago! The school I decided on is the New York Institute of Art and Design (NYIAD). They have so many certifications from interior design, to floral design, to event planning. So far I’m loving it! The program is self paced which is perfect because I can just set a day aside a get a bunch done While the kids are at school. My goal is to finish before the kids start summer break.
What am I actually going to do with this certification when I’m finished??? I have absolutely no idea, well actually I have so many ideas that I can’t choose one! Obviously, it would help me create better T-shirt designs, or create other fun products, but I think I would also love to do some freelance work! So, I’ll see where this new adventure takes me!
Have you been thinking about going back to school or want to learn a new skill??
Over the weekend my husband and I celebrate 12 years of marriage! (Well, we didn’t really get to celebrate because he was out of town for guard, but we will eventually!) In some ways it seems like yesterday and others it’s like I can’t remember what it was like not to be married! We met in jr. high (our lockers were next to each other) and started dating in high school. When we got married I was 19 and he was 20.
We were young, but it was the best decision I ever made… (and together we did make some not so great decisions…like most people in their 20’s)
So much has happened in 12 years! We had a lot of time apart in the beginning. He went to basic training and then was deployed for a year. We have gone through college (for him) cosmetology school (for me) job changes, “almost moving to florida”,apartments, dogs, cats, two houses, more home improvement projects than I can count, vacations, having twins, and all of the good times, and bad in between!
Very early in our marriage we joined a “young married couples” bible study. We were in that group for years! We made geat friends and had the best leaders to look up to and model our relationship after. Now, I’m not an expert on marriage, but from that group I have two favorite resources that I feel have had a huge impact on our relationship. I recommend these to couples all of the time!
The 5 love languages
This is a very popular book. (The kids version is awesome too!) it is so important to know how your spouse feeels love, it makes things so much easier. In case you have never heard of them before, here they are!
2.words of affirmation
3.acts of service
Love and Respect
This book has a study guide to go with it and I feel like I can still go back and review the things in this book over and over again! I think Jesse would agree that this was the BEST marriage study we have ever done. Understanding the “crazy cycle” is seriously life changing!
So, that’s all I have for this short post! Just wanted to share some books that I love with you! I had planned on posting this on Friday to do a “Friday favorites” but, now it’s a Tuesday favorites!
Hey there! Christmas is just 2 weeks away! I cant believe it, the year is almost over! I am finished with my Christmas shopping and almost finished wrapping! (Go me! ) Usually I’m wrapping on Christmas Eve!
I just wanted to give you a few free printables for Christmas!
I Love Christmas! I love buying gifts for people and especially my kids! Like many parents the amount of toys in our home is often out of control ( the kiddos are well loved by many people!) Especially since Alice and Cash’s birthday is at the beginning of December…by Christmas their rooms are exploding. So, If you feel the same, here are 10 non-toy gift ideas for your kiddos!
There are so many fun subscription boxes for kids! My daughter would LOVE the JOJO Siwa subscription box, it is so cute and comes with bows and apparel, and other accessories.
There are a lot of educational options too! The Kiwi Co subscription boxes have monthly activities and what is great about this one is you select the age you want so the activities are specific to that age group!
In St. Louis there are so many options for memberships! We are super lucky that we have so many free things to do here, but a lot of those places have membership options with free parking and activities included. My Mother-in-law purchased a zoo membership for us for years ( it had a number of free parking passes, train rides, children’s zoo, and carousel tickets), and this past year she did the science center membership! We Love memberships!
One time activity
Groupon is an awesome place to get good deals. The one time activities are great because it gives you already planned days out and you can try new things! You could do bowling, mini golf, laser tag, etc.
Books and puzzles
This one seems pretty obvious, but both are great gifts for any age! Costco has a great selection of books and some kids puzzles(for great prices!). They have some great book sets (like the complete Harry Potter set for older kids) and for the early readers too. (Disney book sets, Flat Stanley, and Judy Moody!)
There are so many fun ones! Cooking classes, painting classes, karate, and little gym are some fun options!
This one is obviously more expensive, and takes some planning, but I’m sure it would be a very memorable one! A couple of years ago we did a Disney Trip instead of presents! (Obviously that trip was WAY more than we spend on presents, but we were already planning a vacation so might as well combine it with Christmas!)
You can find so many craft kits at Michaels, costco, Walmart, and of course Amazon. Pretty much anything you can imagine…slime kits, bath bomb kits, bow making kits, bracelet making kits, and the list goes on! I love that everything you need is included and it is all in small portions so its easier for the kiddos to do by themselves. We have a slime kit and the bath bomb kit that we purchased at Costco, the kids love them.
*These are so great for unplanned snow days! Nothing is worse than the kids wanting to do some activity and gathering the supplies to realize you don’t have everything you need!*
My husband is a software Engineer so my kids are really interested in coding. There are a few different kits by KANO, we have the light kit and it super fun! They like learning how to make the lights change and make patterns with their code!
Movie gift cards
I don’t know a child that doesn’t love going to the movies! Super comfy reclining chairs (if you are lucky enough to have the remodeled theaters) and lots of popcorn and soda….does it get any better?!
The kids have gotten movie gift cards the past couple of years for their birthday and they were so excited each time!
I always get craft supplies at the beginning of the school year, and by Christmas we start running low. (we obviously do a lot of craft projects!) Make up a box of crayons, markers, construction paper, paint, slime supplies, and coloring books!
I hope you get some fun ideas from my list, and you have a great Christmas with your family!
Thanksgiving is over, so now everyone is ready to get their house decorated for Christmas! (although, we have had our tree up for weeks!) I’m trying to add to our decorations a little bit every year. My kids like to remind me that my Christmas decorations are nothing compared to Grandma’s house! Lol.
This year I’m adding some home made decorations (and probably a few that I find the day after Christmas). So I thought I would give you guys a little DIY christas decorations tutorial!
This project is super easy but just takes a little bit of time. All you need is a yard of plaid fabric you like, and a wire wreath. (I picked mine up at Hobby Lobby) there are a lot of different sizes. I chose a 12” one. If you make a larger one you will need more fabric!
1. Cut your fabric into strips. I did about 2 and a half inches by 6 inches
2. Then just tie knots! I did a pattern… the two outside wires on each side.
then the two inside wires.
Then when you push them together it looks really full.
Continue that pattern until you get all the way around the wreath, then you can trim the ends so that they are all the same length.
This one I think is super fun because you can mix different textures together.
I used 3 different sizes of foam comes (purchased at Hobby Lobby). Leftover plaid fabric, furry fabric, and glitter!
I love this fur fabric….I purchased this at Joann’s a while ago….I have no idea why i bought it, but I thought it would be fun for this project.
Also at hobby lobby i found this fur on a ribbon roll that would probably work a lot easier than my huge piece of fabric.
I cut a square of the fabric and hot glued one side.
Then rolled the cone to the end, cut the excess fabric off, and got glued the edge!
The fur is super easy to work with and doesn’t need to be perfect since it’s so fluffy.
The top i just pinched together and hot glued to a point.
I did the same process for the flannel fabric. You need to be a little more precise, but no matter what you will still have a seam where it is glued. I just put that in the back when I put it on the fireplace.
Then for the top i just folded the fabric in and hot glued down.
Last, but not least, the messy/fun part….glitter! (Is it even a craft project with out glitter?)
for this one i just did a layer of modpodge and then sprinkled with glitter. Do small sections all the way around the cone.
After it dries completely i did another layer of modpodge on top so it seals it and the glitter won’t fall all over!
I think this is my favorite! I used these foam balls to make a super simple centerpice! I used all of the same supplies… glitter, flannel, and fur fabric!
the glitter i did the same as the tree, just cover with modpodge, then glitter.
Fur is easy since they are super fluffy. Cut a section of the fabric, hot glue and fold around until it is all covered and cut off the excess fabric.
Next is the plaid. For these I cut a pretty large square. Glue the ball down in the center.
glue up all 4 sides so that you have the points sticking out.
take two opposite points and tie in the middle. Then take the other two and tie. I added some hot glue on each side to hold the fabric in place!
Then I just arranged them in my glass dish with some of the red glitter balls as filler!
All together these took me about an hour and a half to finish! You don’t have to use the materials I did, there are tons of options to make them more your style. You could use garland and wrap it around the foam, different color glitter, other patterned fabric, Pom Pom’s, and so many other things! Just wander around hobby lobby and get creative!
Happy almost Thanksgiving! I’m so excited for this holiday week to spend with family. Our holidays (like a lot of families) are usually more than one day to get together with everyone. We are having a taco dinner with Jesse’s side, and then traditional turkey and stuffing with my side.
I am excited to see family, but I’m also excited that I don’t have to cook any of the food! (I’m responsible for shredded lettuce and cheese for the tacos!)
I have hosted Thanksgiving for my family a few times and it was not fun! first of all i do not like to cook ( I do it because it is necessary to keep my people alive) and secondly….having to have every single dish ready at the exact same time is way too stressful for me! So I let other people do it, and I enjoy my day relaxing and eating food!
Besides spending time with family we also use this time to think about all of the things we are thankful for! There are so many big things to be thankful for… health, family, faith, a home, food to eat, a job, and the list goes on…. and obviously I am so thankful for all of those things but I thought it would be fun to share some of the silly things I’m thankful for.
What am I thankful for?
well, there is my list of silly things that I am thankful for!! What would be on your list?
Here is a fun printable for you to use on Thanksgiving (or any time)! I made it a blank page instead of a list so that little ones could draw a picture of what they are thankful for!
We had our first big snow of the year yesterday, which turned our backyard into a winter wonderland! I absolutely love this view from our back deck when it snows!(well, I love it all of the time)
While we were enjoying our snow day I decided it was a great time to create a winter bucket list to share! I included so many fun things on the bucket list that my family loves, and also left a few blank spaces for you to add your own activities!
Now, it is time to share some of my favorites!
My favorite winter activity by far is going to look at Christmas lights! I love the big displays! Our favorite is Our Lady of the Snows ! This one is in Illinois, but the drive isn’t too bad, and it is awesome… and FREE!
Last year for the first time we went to Candy Cane Lane. If you live in STL, I think it’s a must! We went on one of our random warm evenings and it was a great walk through the neighborhood.
Is there anything better than being in your pajamas, snuggled under a blanket, watching Christmas movies? Well, maybe, but it is pretty great!
There are some movies that I feel like I HAVE to watch every year before Christmas! Here are my top 3…
1. The Grinch ( I am sooooo excited to see the new one!)
2. Home alone (the first one is my favorite!)
3. The Santa Clause
OK guys, I feel very strongly that hot cocoa is a necessity in winter! Coffee is not my thing, so cocoa is my go to hot drink.
We decided last minute ( I mean at 11pm the night before) to make crockpot hot cocoa for the kids birthday party last weekend… since it was FREEZING outside! I looked at a few recipes on Pinterest and we ended up using parts of a few and then adding our own stuff! It was YUMMY!
This is the easiest recipe since you just throw everything in the crockpot and let it melt. This recipe does make a lot so it is perfect for holiday parties, but you could easily cut everything in half to make a smaller batch for an evening at home watching movies!
Here is our version of crockpot hot cocoa
7 cups milk
1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag of milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup caramel chips (not candy caramels…they are in the baking aisle and they look just like chocolate chips)
1 can of sweet and condensed milk (14 oz.)
Add all of the ingredients in the crockpot, mix together, and turn it on low. Stir every so often until all of the chocolate is melted. (for us it was about 2 hours) Next, we added mini marshmallows on top and let those melt for about 15 minutes…..now you are ready to enjoy the creamy chocolate-y goodness!
* the husband suggests adding some whipped cream on top!
I hope you all enjoy the hot cocoa and the bucket list! What are your favorite winter traditions?
Part 2 of our Disney Cruise experience is…Port adventures! The list of activities you can do at each port is long! There is really something for everyone whether you have kids with you or not. You can also choose to book an activity not through the cruise line, or not even get off the ship at a specific port.
For this Cruise we stopped at 4 ports. Mexico, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Castaway Cay (pronounced Castaway Key).
This was our first stop. We did not do a port adventure here. We just got off the ship and right next to the port there was a mall so we walked around and then ventured out a little so the kids could see some of Mexico. The mall was filled with the normal touristy shops with Mexico T-shirt’s and stuff, but there are also a bunch of hand made shops.
I have to say these shop owners are intense! They are on you and follow you trying to get you to buy their stuff! It made me very uncomfortable, so needless to say we didn’t stay off the ship for long.
Other people that actually did adventures in Mexico said it was great!
For our next stop we decided to do a beach day. We didn’t plan anything ahead of time, we just got off the ship and grabbed a taxi to the beach, rented some beach chairs, and relaxed. Cash built sand castles and enjoyed Alice enjoyed the super clear beautiful water!
This beach was fun for Alice and Cash since their only experience on a beach has been a couple of times in Florida with seaweed filled water and rough sand. They were amazed with the super soft sand and clear water!……until it started raining! We got a decent amount of time at the beach before the rain so we just packed up and headed back to the ship!
This is one of those places that I have always wanted to go! I really don’t know why, I just have. Falmouth Jamaica is the most beautiful place I have ever been! I would love to go back to explore more of the island!
This was our one big port adventure we planned ahead of time (well, Jesse did!). We took a shuttle to our first stop at Dolphin Cove. We spent the morning here, they have a little “zoo” with bunnies you can hold, a giant lizard, and birds you can feed! The kids LOVED it!
*total side note that I feel like you all need to know….I HATE BIRDS!!! lol! The kids wanted to go in to feed the birds so I was like “ok, I’ll go in and take pictures”. Guys, when I walked in one of the workers put bird food on my back!!!! All of these birds start landing all over me! I was freaking out! meanwhile, the kids are just feeding birds, not concerned with me!!
After that traumatic event we had to get ready for our dolphin encounter!
This was so fun! We got to kiss the dolphin, dance, and hold him…..and they wouldn’t let me take pictures! They have their own photographer and they want you to buy them….for $200, so needless to say, we have our memories of the dolphin encounter, and not pictures!
We had a little extra time to swim before our next stop.
Then we went back on the shuttle to head to Dunns River Falls! This was the coolest thing we have ever done with the kids! I highly recommend it. We had a guide that took us up the falls with a big group.
I will say that standing at the bottom of this massive waterfall my thoughts were that we made a mistake booking this…and there is no way Alice is going to do this! Those were pretty much her words when she looked at me too!
But, we were there and we were going to conquer it! We gave a little “you can do it!” pep talk….and little motivation in the form of a bribe!
We told them we could get a huge ice cream when we got back on the ship if they made it all the way up!
Once we started climbing everyone started to be more confident.. soon, cash said “I can do it myself! I don’t need your hand!” The waterfall wasn’t just a straight up climb. Well, some parts were, but there were places we stopped for pictures, to enjoy the water, and push each other in!
The entire climb took us about an hour, and we made it! I think Alice and Cash gained so much confidence from the experience and it was a whole lot of fun! I definitely want to do it again!
That was the end of our day in Jamaica so we headed back to the ship!
Once back on the ship, this was their promised reward! This was HUGE! it had 6 scoops of ice cream, 5 toppings, whipped cream, and a cherry! We all shared it, and it was plenty!
The last port for this cruise is Disney’s private island! I love this place! It is great for many reasons!
Since it is a private island it isn’t very busy. Your lunch is included at the restaurants on the island, and it’s so good! There is an adults only beach (we went there on our last cruise) and huge family beach ! They have so many activities… snorkeling, tube rentals, bike riding (those are an extra charge, but super reasonable) water slides, character meets, dance parties, and a kids club that you can check the kids into for activities.
We all had so much fun here! We played at the beach, ate yummy food, and we (Jesse and I) even got to ride the huge water slides while the kids were playing in the kids club!
Well, that’s all for our port adventures on this cruise! (hopefully we will go on many more adventures!) I think that is why a cruise is so awesome, you could go on the same cruise again and do different port adventures for a completely different vacation!
If you have any questions about our adventures or planning your own cruise, leave them in the comments!
And if you missed part 1 of our cruise you can find it here!