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??
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!
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?
In our house, we love playing board games! We have a closet packed with them. We really play them a lot in the winter when it is too cold to play outside. Since Christmas is right around the corner I thought I would share some of our favorites with you! (With the links to buy them on Amazon! Just click on the name of the game and it will take you there!)
I love getting the kids games for Christmas since I know it is something that will actually be played with for more than 5.2 seconds on Christmas Day!
So, here is our list of our top 10 games! Some are new games, and some are more old school from my childhood!
*also, I know that some of these aren’t “board” games, but I included them anyway!
This has quickly become one of our favorites! The object of the game is to have all of your houses on the board. To build houses you need to collect resources to buy ships and then eventually houses. This one took a few times of playing for the kids to really understand it, but now they are pros!
I mean who doesn’t love Jenga? Of course my children love anything that comes crashing down and they don’t get in trouble for! There is also a giant size Jenga, but we haven’t been brave enough for that one yet!
Alice got this for Christmas two years ago and we still love it. Everyone gets a princess inspired cupcake recipe that they have to make one piece at a time. Different icing, cake, topper, and wrapper for each one. This one is super fun and easy! (This one is my favorite!)
Cootie! Before we started buying games for our kids I didn’t even realize this game still existed! But it does! This game brings back childhood memories and I love that I can share it with my kids too! If you have never played before the object of the game is to build your “cootie”….head, legs, body, eyes, etc. Sometimes this game goes quickly and sometimes it takes a while! Although we do occasionally have arguments over the kind of legs or eyes someone takes, its still fun!
When my kids said they wanted this game, I thought it was ridiculous, but it’s actually fun and hilarious! You put the little squishy “doo” in and then your squeeze the dog leash according to the spinner and the air pushes the doo out….if it comes all of the way out on your turn you are the “winner” (if you can really call yourself that!) of that round. You have to try it! This is another easy and super quick game!
I love this card game! There are a bunch of different people with different hair, the object is to get rid of all the cards in your hand. Once you have a pair you lay it down and then anyone else with a matching card can lay it down. The first person to get rid of all of their cards wins!
You guys,mouse trap…what can I say about this game….the kids LOVE it! Even though it takes me about a million years to get it set up right! They do play it for a long time, so I guess it’s ok! Mouse Trap is all about collecting your cheese and trapping others in the Trap!
This is another game the kids got for Christmas. I find this game funny, you feed the pig his colored burgers and push on his head the number of times it says on the burger until his belly gets full and “pops”. This is another one that’s super easy and quick!
this last one can get pretty intense in our house! There are a bunch of random things in Ned’s head….a spider, skeleton, worm, etc….and you can also add your own things too. You draw a card and there is a picture of an item, everyone sticks in their hand to try and feel the item. The first person to pull out the right item wins that round. Lets just say we get pretty competitive if more than one person has a hold of the item that we think is correct! I know you are thinking that this sounds easy, but it’s suprisingly hard to feel the correct item!
So, that’s our list of favorites so far! This Christmas I’m hoping to get the kids version of Ticket to Ride and the Disney Princess Candy Land!
If you have a favorite board game leave it in the comments! We are always looking for new games!
There are so many great places to visit in STL that your whole family will enjoy! Bonus is that most of those places are FREE! From the Zoo, to the Science Center, to the City Garden. We usually try and do free or cheap things on the as often as we can! Over the weekend we went to one of my favorite places! ECKERT’S! (Although it is in Belleville, IL, I still consider it a St. Louis-ish place to go since it is so close). I feel like this fits in to the cheap category since you don’t HAVE to spend money there to have fun, and if you do spend money its on fruit and you would probably buy it at the grocery store anyway!
If you are from St. Louis or the surrounding areas and have never been there, you are missing out! We go at least a few times a year!
Things to do
Eckerts has so many things to do for the family! Our favorite of course is “pick your own” fruit! You take a fun tractor ride out to the fields to pick your fruit! The fruit you leave with is paid for by weight just like at the grocery store. Depending on the time of year they have strawberries, blackberries, peaches, apples, pumpkins, and Christmas trees!! It used to be free to take the tractor ride out to the fields, but now they charge a $1 or $2 fee per person depending on the day.
Besides pick your own, there is a country store to buy fruit and produce, cooking classes (for adults and children) a restaurant, ice cream, and special activities for holidays. We go to the Easter egg hunt there every year!
We had a lot of rain last week so Cash’s soccer game was cancelled Saturday morning at the very last minute…like putting on his shoes in the parking lot last minute. So, since grandma and aunt Amanda were already with us we decided to pile in the van and head to Eckerts! This trip was specifically for peaches, those are Jesse’s favorites. But, I’m pretty sure we picked the best possible weekend to go EVER! Not only did we get to pick peaches, we also picked apples, veggies, AND fresh flowers! I definitely think this little fairy’s favorite part was the flowers!
I mean, these flowers were beautiful!
It’s so fun to watch the kids search through the trees for the best ones!
And the best part….you get to eat as much as you want when you are picking! Do we take full advantage of that??? Absolutely! Apples and peaches were our lunch that day!
We did end up with quite the haul of apples and peaches! We also came home with some corn and tomatoes! Somehow they are so much better when we pick them our selves!
Have you ever been to Eckert’s before? Or do you have another farm you visit? We are always looking for new places to try!
So, I know Rachel Hollis isn’t an animal, but I feel like saying she is my spirit animal is the most accurate way to describe how i feel about her. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you have heard the name Rachel Hollis. Seriously, this woman is inspiring to say the least! She has her own company that she has built from the ground up. She speaks all over the country, created her own conference, has not one, but two podcasts (one by herself, and one she does with her husband focused on marriage). Oh, did I mention she is a New York Times best selling author?! This woman lives to empower other women and make them see their own potential. Not to mention she is hilarious while doing it! We definitely need more Rachels in the world!
Girl,Wash your face
So many friends, and people on social media were recommending this book, so i had to join! I will say this book definitely lived up to the hype! I highly recommend it! If you are a stay at home mom, CEO, small business owner, or anything in between you should read this book! I laughed, and I cried and every night when i finished a few chapters all i could say was “this is SO good!” Each chapter starts out with a lie Rachel used to believe (and what many women believe) about herself, and then in the chapter she unpacks why that lie isn’t true.
Rachel just released a 45 page FREE “study guide” to go along with her book. To get access to the study guide you just need to go to her website The chic site and sign up for her weekly newsletter. I’m excited to read it again with the added study guide.
I can not even tell you how badly i want to attend her RISE WEEKEND conference. I will go someday! My friend and I went to see the “Made for more” documentary in the movie theater a couple of weeks ago. The whole movie was showing what it is like to attend this two day conference. IT WAS SO GOOD! I mean, so good. In the dark movie theater i kept thinking, i need to be taking notes! My favorite line was when she said “you did not come this far, to ONLY come this far”. I feel like that line can be applied to any aspect of your life!
If you need some inspiration in your life, pick up her book, listen to her podcast, or even follow her on instagram! She is hilarious! Pretty much I want to be Rachel when I grow up!
This summer was so much fun! We packed as much as we possibly could into these few months! We had so many pool days, six flags trips, play dates, and too many snow cones to count! Now we have to admit, summer is ending. While I’m super sad summer break is over, i am looking forward to having a schedule again… and also having some quiet time around the house! I love them dearly, but kids are LOUD!
Today was the first day of school. Alice and Cash are officially 1st graders! I’m still in denial that they are old enough to be in first grade! heck, I’m still in denial that I’M old enough to have 2 kids in first grade!
I always want them to be excited to go to school, so I’m trying to make the first day of school extra fun! Of course we have our first day of school boards (which are really just for me, I don’t think they really care about them) but they are still young enough that they don’t fight me on doing them!
AND… it was raining this morning so we couldn’t even take pictures outside!
They are just so dang cute! I just love their answers!
This year I ordered personalized cookies to put as a little suprise in their lunch boxes!
Cutest cookies ever, RIGHT?!….and did I mention they are YUMMY!? I ordered them from a local crafter in STL. Her business is Cookies for Christ by Miriam and she started only a few months ago raising money to go on a mission trip! How awesome is that?! The kiddos were so surprised to find them in their lunch boxes today! This will definitely not be my last order from her!
Then, after school they come running off the school bus talking a mile a minute about every part of their day! I really hope that never changes! I always want them to be excited to tell me everything! ….and then we get ice cream!
And there just so happened to be someone making the most awesome balloon animals there! A unicorn for Alice and an alien for Cash!
It was a great day for everyone! We love our school, and they love their new teachers! It’s going to be a great year!
do you have any 1st day of school traditions? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
I really hate to admit it, but summer is coming to an end. I can not believe how fast it has flown by! I don’t want to even think about how fast these years are flying by! My Kids will be 1st graders in a week and a half! (I know they are technically considered 1st graders after the last day of kindergarten, but I’m holding on to them being kindergarteners until the first day of school!!)
I consider this to be my first “summer break” with my kiddos, since last year they were in kindergarten. Before that they were just in preschool a few half days a week. So, really, we could still do whatever we wanted any day of the week…Nice day in the middle of winter? Heck yes we will skip preschool to go to the ZOO!
We have gone clothes shopping, and have gotten our school supplies ready to go! But, I wanted to share with you all my favorite first day of school tradition we started last year (well, i think my favorite might be getting ice cream after they get home to hear all about their day!)
I’m not sure if these have been around a while, or if they just recently became popular. I have just noticed them the past couple of years, but I LOVE them!!
BACK TO SCHOOL BOARDS
actually, I don’t even know if that is what they are called, but that’s what I call them! I love seeing everyone post their kids first day of school pictures and seeing how they answered the questions! You can easily do this with a piece of paper, or i think there are some printable templates you can get too (everything is on Pinterest) But, I personally love the board that I can reuse every year! I purchased mine from Paper Flower studio!She is a local crafter in STL and i absolutely love her! Definitely go and check her out! She makes these school boards for $25 each! On her page you will find lots of awesome stuff like chore lists, and the coolest invitations!
She has two different options for the layout, one that just says the first day of school, then one that has first and last. Also she has a white board or a chalkboard option. I was sure I was only going to do the first day of school, but then on the last day of school I decided I wanted to see how their answers had changed. (Oops!) So, I crossed out the first and wrote last over it!
I mean, how cute is it seeing their different answers?…and then also crying at how much they can change in one school year!
Well, I’m going to go make the most of our last week and a half of summer break. Lots of things to cross off our summer bucket list!