Aria turns THREE [featuring Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake]

This past week my youngest little love, Aria, turned three. It’s incredible how fast the passed few years have flown by. I blogged my entire pregnancy so I know I have a lot of readers that are with me thinking, “how is she three?!” I know guys, I know.

Her actual birthday was Friday June 9th. My parents flew into town from Detroit to come and celebrate with her. We decided to have a smaller more intimate party on her actual birthday before the big party the following day. Just a few of her favorite things; pizza, gifts, and of course ice cream cake.

Aria Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake

Nothing beats the smile on her face when she saw the cake and we were singing too her.

So for the cake we went with a Blue Bunny vanilla bean blondie cake that I was able to just pick up while grocery shopping at Walmart. I already had so much to do with getting my house ready for a big party, I didn’t need yet another stop to grab a cake from a speciality store. It was absolutely delicious and perfect for this smaller occasion.

Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cake

After we chowed down on some pizza and ice cream cake, it was time for a couple of presents. We let her open the gifts from my parents, my husbands parents, and us. You could tell how special she felt having the evening be just about her. I really don’t think that birthdays need to be extravagant for the child to have an amazing time. This simple evening was perfect. She was beyond excited and it was minimal stress on everyone else!

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I have included a $3.00 off coupon that is redeemable at Walmart only for a Blue Bunny ice cream cake of your own! Along with the coupon below, be sure to check the Valpak envelope that comes in the mail for an additional $3.00 off!

She had such a great birthday, was beyond spoiled, and I feel very lucky to have such great family and friends that are apart of our lives. Her big party on Saturday was amazing but Friday was fantastic as well. Of course, in typical me fashion, I completely was engrossed in the party on Saturday and didn’t take one single picture. Luckily for me, a few friends took pictures. Hey, at least I got these few!

People Love Free, Even When It’s Junk

I love using the Facebook “Marketplace” to sell things that I no longer need around the house. I like to think of myself as one of those minimalist type people. I can’t stand clutter.  If it doesn’t get used, it gets sold, donated, or tossed. Simple as that.

We’re prepping the house for a birthday party this weekend. The garage is one of those places in the house that doesn’t often get a lot of attention when it comes to cleaning and organizing. It’s been driving me nuts for a while now so I finally convinced the husband to help me go though it. There was so much crap. Seriously, unbelievable amount of garbage. We’ve been in this house for over 2 years and most of it we haven’t touched since we put it in there the day we moved in.

I tossed most of it or in the case of the 3 cases of empty and clean beer bottles, recycled. Don’t worry, we brewed beer. We weren’t just hoarding bottles.

I had an old futon in the garage that was upstairs holding blankets for a while. It was big, uncomfortable, and completely unnecessary. I tossed it into the garage to bring out for garbage night. The garbage company wouldn’t take it because it’s an “oversized” item and I had to pay for special pickup. Nope, I’ll toss it on Facebook for free. It was gone in just over 3 hours. I had at least 45 messages in the first hour asking for it.

I also had about 25 cans of paint that literally came with the house. Some of the cans were from when the house was painted originally 10+ years ago. Those cans were also claimed within 2 minutes.

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I didn’t clean up the stuff, stage it for any photos, or do anything creative to get it gone. Just writing the word “free” was enough to have my inbox blown up the entire evening. I guess people love free even when it’s complete garbage.

Oh, and I did warn the people. I told them how dirty and uncomfortable that futon is. It’s seriously awful. The paint might be completely dried up in these cans. I didn’t open them to care to find out; no cares from the interested parties.

Do Bloggers Even “Blog” Anymore?

Blogging is a hobby of mine that I really enjoy doing in my spare time. It’s a fun way of expressing myself, getting thoughts and feelings out there, telling stories, documenting life, and even networking and making new friends. It’s my portion of the internet that I have 100% control over the content and I enjoy that. I take breaks when I feel like it and move full steam ahead when I have a lot to say.  Seriously, writers block is real ya’ll.

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So why am I explaining my hobby to you? Stay with me.

When I first started blogging when Everett was a baby I joined a website called bloglovin’ which is basically a Facebook style newsfeed of all different bloggers. I could spend hours if I chose too just reading and learning about all kinds of different things that people were going through or doing. It was a lot of fun, extremely entertaining, and often informational.

That all has changed more recently.

My “newsfeed” on bloglovin’ is now nothing but sponsored content. If I find one post not trying to sell me something, advertising something, or just original content I’m excited. Side note, for those of you who don’t know, sponsored content is when someone pays a blogger to speak about their product or service.

I write sponsored posts. There’s nothing wrong with sponsored posts. It’s a great day when I can make a hobby into some extra cash. I just refuse to turn my blog into a giant advertisement for companies! It’s discouraging to try to network with people and remain follows of blogs that every post on the site is just marked with #ad and #spon.

Keep on blogging bloggers. Like really blogging. Separate your sponsored posts with some lively content to keep people, like me, coming back!

Finding a Balance [the struggle]

A lot of people seem to look at me like I have it all together; I’ve been asked multiple times “how do you have time to do that” or “you always have so much going on but you seem to get it all done!” I’ll admit, I try to be pretty organized, but the reality of the situation is I’m still quite a hot mess.

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First of all, I live in a home with two toddlers, two dogs, two cats, and a flying squirrel. That should say enough about the fact that my housework is never done. It’s literally impossible to keep up with the laundry, keep the pet hair under control, and pick up after kids who doesn’t understand that toys have a place. This doesn’t stop me from trying though. In between all the stuff I’m doing during the day, I’m cleaning. I’d consider myself to have a touch of OCD [literally, just undiagnosed] and have trouble concentrating on anything when I’m surrounded by a mess. I have to clean up before I can sit down and relax. This is a very real and often unseen struggle of mine.

Some days it’s impossible to get anything done because my kids have so much going on. They’re young now and I know it’s just going to get worse as they get older. Between extracurricular activities, playdates, preschool drop offs, and different appointments there isn’t much time to do anything else for me [for fun] or things that I need to get done.

There are other times that my kids just won’t let me do anything. They want to play, they need 800 snacks, or they need their butt wiped. I try to be as understanding as possible that they won’t be this young for long. They won’t always want their mommy to watch them play and I am forever working on just relaxing and enjoying this time. It’s still a struggle sometimes when I feel like I haven’t had a break and just want two seconds to eat my lunch or take a shower.

These days are especially hard when I have to work in the evenings. I work part time as a veterinary technician because I simply love what I do. It’s for me; but it’s still work. When I spend the entire morning and afternoon on those “needy kid” days I sometimes just want a second to sit down and relax. I just simply don’t get that time when I jet off to work as soon as my husband gets home.

This brings me to my next point, my husband and I work opposite shifts a few nights out of the week and other nights he has to go to bed so early that we don’t get a lot of alone time. It’s hard to schedule time for date nights because, as I’m explaining, we just don’t have time! We definitely make it work but it’s still a struggle.

So while it may seem like I have it together and make good use of “free time”, I don’t. I struggle with finding a balance on almost a daily basis. I’m slowly working on accepting the hot mess [currently writing this with a sink full of dishes] and learning to prioritize better!

For all of you who can relate to these struggles, it’s okay. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed as life with kids is hectic! Just remember to pause and enjoy these times.

Mom Code

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There is an unspoken code that all mothers should follow. Some things on my list should be no brainers and others are a little harder to accomplish. Regardless, this is a list of things we shouldn’t say to each other and things we should / shouldn’t be doing to ourselves.  Sit back, have some coffee [or wine]  and lets talk mom code!

  • A woman holding a baby may still look like she’s carrying a child. She may still have a “belly” forever after having a baby. Pregnancy does crazy things to our bodies! Never ask anyone when their due date is unless you’re 100000% you’re seeing a belly with a baby inside
  • Don’t lecture other moms on breastfeeding. Everyone has their reasons why they are doing it or why they aren’t. I don’t care why you chose what you chose, just feed your kid.
  • Sometimes after you have a baby you grow hair back a lot differently than before. I had some pretty noticeable sideburns after having both of my kids. They’re gorgeous. Don’t question a new mom on decision to now have bangs.
  • Don’t touch other people’s kids! You may see a cute baby and have the urge to snuggle and kiss it. STOP IT. You’re a stranger.  Hands off.
  • Speaking of touching, don’t ever touch a pregnant woman’s stomach. Believe it’s still party of her body and it’s not socially acceptable to just walk around groping people.
  • If you see a mother and her child has a dirty face, they’re both in pajamas, and she looks like she hasn’t slept in a month; don’t you dare judge her. Every mom has those days, weeks, and sometimes even years.
  • I know this is tough, but don’t compare yourself to other moms. Motherhood isn’t a game of who’s doing it the best; it’s a game of being the best mother that you can be. & Sometimes even harder, don’t compare your kids to other kids. You’ve heard it a million times, they’re all different. Every kid is different.
  • If possible, rely on your significant other and other people around for help as much as you can. It’s okay to need a break; ask for one!
  • Remember: It’s not good to wash your hair everyday and messy buns are totally in style.
  • Don’t automatically run and call child protective services if you see a kid with a few bruises and/or a black eye. My kids are extremely clumsy and are covered in bruises. Toddlers are destructive to everything in their paths including themselves.
  • Although you may want to feed your family (kids included) gorgeous and healthy home cooked meals, don’t be surprised if something like “eat your cheese it’s and then you can have a cookie” come out of your mouth *true story*

What kind of things are on your list of “mom codes?” 

Sewing as a Hobby; Sew Many Benefits

Some people may think the art of sewing is becoming a thing of the past. However, the benefits of sewing as a hobby are too great to be ignored. There are many ways that sewing can help to improve your life, even if you only make time to sit down at your sewing machine for two hours per week. Below, we will discuss the advantages of taking up sewing as a leisurely pursuit in your life!

Sewing Machine

Saves Money

Perhaps the most obvious benefit to learning to use a sewing machine is the money you can save. Rather than throwing out damaged clothing, you can use your sewing skills to repair tears or add patches to the garments. It is imperative that moms learn to sew, so they can mend their children’s clothing rather than always buying something new. Along with clothing repair, moms can also use the sewing machine to create new outfits for their kids, further saving on apparel purchases.

Improves Hand-Eye Coordination

Whether you are using a needle and thread or a sewing machine, this hobby will help you to promote hand-eye coordination. This skill is important in many areas of your life. Fostering this connection between your eyes and hands will assist you in a number of other tasks, including driving, sports, tying your shoes, typing, and cooking.

Supports Focus

Having to sit down and keep your attention on your sewing project, even if just an hour or two at a time, will help to improve your focus. This is very helpful in young adults that are struggling to concentrate on a task, such as studying, for a long period of time. The focus gained from sewing can also assist you in your work life, and makes it easier to read more efficiently to save you time.

Promotes Self-Confidence

Feeling good about yourself and having a positive outlook on life will allow you to thrive. The confidence you can gain from learning to sew and creating your own masterpieces with your machine may benefit you in ways other hobbies cannot. Sewing is also good for boosting your social confidence, especially if you meet with other sewing friends regularly. Additionally, if you decide to sew for others or sell your creations, you will be uplifted and feel pride each time you produce and sell a new piece.

Quilt

Expresses Creativity

In our fast-paced world, creativity can sometimes be left on the back burner. We have so much to do, who has time to sit down and enjoy a hobby?! Someone with an abundance of creative talent may never unleash this trait due to other commitments like work or family life. However, if you take up the hobby of sewing, you can transform your life and release that pent-up inspiration in the designs you create. By allowing yourself to be more creative, you can reap the benefits of a more relaxed mindset, decreased stress and anxiety levels, and reduced negative emotions in other areas of your life.

Produces Unique Items

Your family doesn’t have to “keep up with the Joneses” when you learn how to use a sewing machine. Getting to create one-of-a-kind designs is just half the fun! Seeing the smiles on your children’s faces when they have a costume or outfit you can’t purchase in stores is sure to have you returning to your hobby again and again. Additionally, if you want to make money with your hobby, creating unique designs is very essential – you want to stand out from the crowd and have everyone rushing to get sewn articles from you!

Fights Mental Issues

It is vital that we use every area of our brains regularly to keep them sharp and working properly. When you learn to sew, and do it often, you will be keeping your brain active. Doing the small tasks required to sew clothing or a quilt helps to ward off dementia and other mental conditions.

Getting all the Right Sewing Machine Supplies

By now, you probably see the many benefits of sewing as a hobby. It’s time to get yourself stocked with the right sewing machine and other supplies. Founded in Atlanta in 1983 as Southeast Sewing Products, SewingMachine.com now offers a virtual home for all the sewing machines, parts, and accessories you need to thoroughly enjoy this creative hobby.

Steve Tramell Sewing Machine

Offering a range of products, SewingMachine.com has been recognized as one of the South’s leading dealers and authorized servicers for Brother, Singer, Consew, Juki, and Pfaff products. The company, founded by Steve Tramell, has two locations: Atlanta and West Point, and you can also browse their selection of products at SewingMachine.com. They also offer classes at their locations for those wanting to learn more about sewing, embroidery, and other creative endeavors.

First Friday Favorites {April 2017}

It’s sure been a while since I’ve done one a First Friday Favorites. It’s not because I’ve been having a lack of finding awesome things but because I’ve had a lack of time to share them with you guys. I have a running list of things I’ve been meaning to talk about but they never could make it off that list, until now.

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1 // What Do You Meme // If you’re into memes [guilty] than you need this game. It’s quite possibly one of the funniest things I’ve played in a while and totally rivals Cards Against Humanity. While it’s pretty close to the same concept, the cards are possibly even funnier and more screwed up.

2 // Apple TV // We just cut the cord [look for post on our experience soon] and couldn’t be happier with the Apple TV.

3 // Wine Aerator // If you’re a wine drinker and you haven’t been using an aerator, seriously, get one now. We just recently got one and started using it and the difference is astounding. I thought it was all hype until I did a little taste test with and without aeration. Profound difference.

4 // Ever Lasting Treat Ball // I always have such an issue with dog toys because I have strong chewers. They destroy everything. Dog toys aren’t cheap and I was sick of spending a decent amount of money on something that would last them 30 minutes. This treat ball keeps them busy and they really can’t destroy it.

5 // Bio Silk Hair Serum // I recently went seriously blonde and with bleach usually comes some damage. A co-worker of mine recommended this product in which I totally forgot existed. I used it years and years ago but i’m so glad I re-discovered it. It totally tames my frizz and smells unbelievable.

 

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*note: this post contains affiliate links.

The Hardest Part of Being a Vet Tech

When I was in tech school, on one of the very first days, a professor said to us, “If you’re doing this because you love animals more than people and you think you’re not going to have to deal with people, get out now.”

Holding onto every leash is an owner.
Holding every carrier is an owner.

The owners are the hardest part of my job.

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I am totally a people person. I have no problems starting conversations and am the type of person who can walk up to basically anyone and make small talk. When I started in this field, I never thought I was going to be one of the people that had problems communicating. Then I quickly realized that my clients were going to be one of the hardest parts of my job.

Emotions run high for pet owners when they’re in the clinic. They’re often scared, angry, or confused as to whats going on with their animal. It’s very difficult to communicate with owners when they’re emotions are getting the best of them. I have had circumstances where the owner was so afraid, over what was basically nothing, but it’s impossible to tell them that. It’s very hard to get someone to calm down when they’ve worked themselves up so far.

Then there are the situations where the owners fears are valid. There is absolutely no easy way to go tell an owner that their pet has a serious illness/injury and there’s a good chance they make not make it through. Or worse, they haven’t made it. 

Adding the financial aspect of the situation makes it even worse. It’s often my job to let the owners know what treatment is going to cost. It can be heartbreaking to give an owner a number that is out of their reach and watch them have to make the decision of euthanizing because they can’t afford treatment. This is often where anger some into play. It’s so hard to convey to them that you’re sympathetic, you really do care about their pet, but you can’t do treatment for free.

Lastly, we have the education part of my job. I take pride in the fact that I’m making these animals lives better because I’m educating their owners on how to properly take care of them. It can be a lot of information and sometimes it’s hard to get it all across without confusing the owner or having them shut me out because I’ve lost their attention. There are the clients who will do everything we recommend and then there are the clients who want the bare minimum. I try to be grateful that those clients even cared enough to bring their pet in but it can be hard to watch them walk out the door knowing I could do more for them.

I could go on for days on reasons why it’s hard to deal with clients but to sum it up… 

  • Emotions run high and it’s hard to communicate with them.
  • Sometimes they care more than words can describe and I have to give them bad news.
  • Sometimes they don’t care enough and there’s nothing I can do to make them.
  • Financial restraints get in the way of treatment.
  • Letting them know that treatments aren’t working despite all the money in the world.
  • Helping them to understand what is wrong or what they need to do.
  • Trying to educate them on the best way to care for their pet but having them not listen or just not caring.
  • Trying to give them comfort in the wake of tragedy

So regardless of all the sadness I see, the euthanasia, the injuries, and the unexpected illnesses… Communicating with the clients is still the hardest part of my job.

Mommy & Me {a photo post]

A few weeks ago I noticed that a local photographer was doing some “mommy and me” mini sessions. I got to thinking about all the pictures that I really don’t have with my kids. I’m usually the one taking the pictures or things are just going by so fast that I don’t stop to photograph anything. Any of the pictures that I do have are really just made of snapchat selfies.

I decided it was time to change that.

These are the results. 

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My kids can be quite hams in front of the camera so a couple of solo shots were taken of them as well. I wasn’t about to complain because really, there are never enough pictures taken, they grow way too quick.

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I absolutely adore how they came out and feel like the candid shots really capture some of the fun times we have. They’re something that I’m going to be able to look back on and squeal “HOW’D THEY GET SO BIG?!”

I urge every mother out there to go out and do the same. Get some professional pictures done of you and your babies while their still your little babies.

Fresh Water Design Co. [+ giveaway]

Fresh Water Design Co. is a brand new business that I’ve had the pleasure of watching launch and hit the ground running with growth. I’m so excited to be able to share the talent the girls behind this company have with my readers. I’m even more excited to show you guys the gorgeous new art I have hanging in my house.

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First off the owners are two of the most genuine people that I have the pleasure of knowing. The drive and talent behind of the two of them is just astonishing and I truly admire their entrepreneurism. I work as a vet tech with Dani and after our long shifts, she goes home and creates these amazing pieces of art.

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“I Love You A Ton” Elephant

"Lost in the Right Direction"

“Lost in the Right Direction”

Since I’ve been watching the business grow, I’ve seen so many amazing pieces that Freshwater Design Co. has created. I knew that I had to have some of it in my home. I had so many different ideas floating around in my head and they completely made it come to life. Freshwater Design Co. has an option on their site to create your own piece. You have an idea, they’ll make it happen.

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This is my gorgeous piece. My husband is from outside of Chicago and I’m from a town near Detroit; These are the coordinates of our home towns. It makes an amazing addition to my living room. It’s personal with just the right touch of sweetness. I’m just beyond smitten with it. freshwatercocollageThe quality of the burn is perfect. There is truly not one single flaw. The stain is perfect. Freshwater Design Co. has several different stains to choose from so there will be one that fits your decor.

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Freshwater has decided to also do a giveaway for one lucky reader! Browse the site and pick out something special for your home; or create your own! Enter to win in the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway